To us, the statistics speak volumes - as much as we all love designing and building new buildings, its not just new buildings that we need to focus on. We can offer advice and practical solutions on how to make your home or workplace more efficient, both in terms of energy and water but also economically. Making buildings more efficient with the right materials can make them more comfortable places to be in which in turn will make them healthier environments to be in as well as saving money on ever-increasing energy bills. Surely it's a no-brainer?!
We a passionate about raising awareness of the need to retrofit our existing building stock, as, at the end of the day, most of the buildings we will have in 50 years time have already been built. To this end, we are signatories in the Architects Declare movement and endeavour to advise clients of all of the available options when it comes to renovating existing buildings. Our Harpenden EnerPHit Plus is a great example of what can be done with existing buildings and our knowledge in this area has been broadened by Heather's completion of the AECB Carbonlite Retrofit training programme.
LETI have produced a fantastic guide into retrofitting which can be found here. The cover a range of issues such as what retrofitting entails, why do it and the unintended consequences of incorrect interventions, so if retrofitting is something you're interested in, we would recommend reading this guide to give you a good idea of what's involved.
We are keen to use natural and sustainable materials as much as possible and are more than happy to talk through different options for materials for all aspects of the build from cladding to insulation. Working with these materials for both construction and insulation can help buildings to 'breathe' and regulate moisture which can have very positive effects on health conditions such as asthma. These properties also work in tandem with conservation of old buildings in which moisture can also be a significant issue. If you want more information on 'green' building materials, GreenSpec is a great resource.
We are also interested in promoting renewable methods for energy generation and heating and are happy to talk through different options. For information about energy/water saving measures and alternative forms of energy generation and heating, the Information Service pages on the CAT website are very useful. Air source heat pumps are becoming increasingly common and work really well with underfloor heating.
If the retrofit approach doesn't work for you and you'd rather build a new super-efficient building with almost non-existent energy bills, maybe the German-engineered Passivhaus standard is more suitable, or the AECB Building Standard.