Russia’s largest retailer approached IES recently to ask for help in designing significantly better performing buildings – the result a UK 4-day study tour led by our Business Development Consultant for CEE, Guy Eames.
“Britain is one of the leading countries when it comes to high performance or “green” buildings”, boasts Guy, “IES’ technology highlights what is possible, when building owners set their minds to reducing their carbon footprint”.
The executives saw first-hand how buildings are passively heated and cooled using locally grown materials pressed into blocks; how green roofs affect insulation and provide natural habitats and how rainwater harvesting reduces water use by 50%. “Implementing such build strategies would be impossible without first making careful calculations”, continues Guy. “Building simulation analysis offers the best way to do that, allowing “scenario analysis” or comparisons between various construction materials and technologies. IESVE offers the most integrated and speediest approach.”
We were pleased to welcome Environmental Sustainability Manager at Adnams, Ben Orchard on the tour to present to the executives and share the firms sustainability story. Part of this is its BREEAM Excellent distribution centre which incorporates many eco-friendly measures such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels and LED lights. “It was a pleasure to be able to highlight the features and demonstrate the success of our award winning, ‘eco’ designed, distribution centre; an iconic and crucial milestone in our sustainability story”, said Ben.
Globally renowned architect and pioneer for super-efficient buildings Bill Dunster, CEO of ZED Factory, also welcomed the group and praised the IESVE (Virtual Environment) platform. Zed Factory demonstrated the “Zero Bills Home” and how to use innovation to reduce energy demands whilst taking advantage of natural renewable energy – sun and wind.
Renewable energy was a reoccurring topic throughout the tour, as all of the buildings seen were powered naturally. “In the CIS there are very few wind turbines, although PV and hydroelectric are playing a growing role, so there’s nothing like standing under a wind turbine and comparing how whole communities can be powered on renewables.”, said Guy. It was a pleasure to meet with companies like RES which specialise in such schemes and demonstrate how IESVE can calculate loads on individual buildings”. RES showed off their thermal storage capabilities as well as combined solar heating and power installation. Visitors were impressed to see electric vehicles charging from wind and solar power.
The ZEDfactory Zero Bills Home showed how battery power could store excess energy or cheap off-peak power to cover energy peaks and even charge electric vehicles. The homes, although grid connected, are energy positive for 8 months of the year and only energy negative for 4 months, when they rely on the grid. This is possible thanks to their solar voltaic roofs (BIPV), low thermal loads by maximising energy efficiency and using all electric heat pumps producing hot and cold water, and the reduced costs of electrical storage. There is almost no case for centralised power plants with this combination. Affordable near off-grid buildings are now ready to replace investment in fossil or nuclear powered centralised grid infrastructure – however it requires clients and local government to stop investing in large scale solutions and concentrate on higher quality optimised local buildings and masterplans.
A green-building tour of the UK wouldn’t be complete without learning more about BREEAM. The group was lucky to visit 6 BREEAM certified buildings (many award winning) as well as being greeted by senior staff at the BRE (Building Research Establishment). BREEAM is increasingly being used abroad, either using the international BREEAM or National Schemes. IES works closely with the BRE, projects include IMPACT and modules for the VE to speed up the BREEAM certification process.
The tour was intense but deep – covering retail strategies (Mike Barry from Marks & Spencer found an hour for us), manufacturing and distribution buildings (Skanska, Adnams), and Residential and Office. To complete the day, the group were treated to a presentation of Terminal 5 at Heathrow – the UK’s largest free-standing buildings, where IES was selected as Energy and Sustainability Modelling Consultants.
Guy concluded, “The tour was a great success, full of inspiring projects, showcasing the best of British in taking forward the sustainability agenda. We look forward to these ideas being transferred across CEE countries and greeting more Eastern Europeans!”.