Features

Proposed changes to legislation will see more trees and planting in housing developments and city centres. Let’s re-use storm- and rainwater to keep them green, urges Michael White, Development Director at Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation.

There is a growing urgency for efficient infrastructure and sustainable strategy when it comes to lowering the impact of construction on the environment by shrinking its footprint. It has become less of a buzzword and more of a shared responsibility amongst contractors, as urban construction becomes a common, fixed part of our everyday scenery – our homes, offices, marketplaces and coffeehouses.

The building envelope makes a significant contribution to overall energy usage – therefore, tighter U-values in walls, floors and roofs is absolutely key. It’s why getting the design right from the outset is far less costly than retrofitting later. Here, Ben Cheetham, Specification Manager at Keystone Lintels, looks at the benefits of a one-piece thermally-efficient lintel including low thermal conductivity performance, buildability, improved SAP calculations and why they are up to five times more thermally efficient than standard lintels.

Over recent years, there has been a significant rise in societal interest in, and commitment to, finding sustainable ways to live. More recently, in these pandemic-addled times, there has been a growing awareness of the positive impact of simply being outside and connected with nature. Using natural, ecologically-sound building materials and creating connections with the natural world outdoors are the two cornerstones of biophilic architectural design. These principles can be applied to create learning spaces that enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of today’s occupants while preserving the environment for future generations.

James Brett, Director of London-based construction contractor, Edgeley Construction, discusses the importance of building pre-construction into the main contractor’s package.

The need for healthy homes has hardly ever been more apparent than during the current global condition. The current efforts to reduce the negative impacts of buildings are inadequate. Therefore, the built environment must be designed in a different way. To bring regenerative, collective habitation to all scales of development, Amsterdam architecture practice GG-loop, sharing the vision with Arup, is developing Mitosis: a modular building system created by a parametric design tool following biophilic and user-centric design principles.

Astral Tower is the highest building in Varna, Bulgaria, reaching up to 140m. The location of the building lot is chosen based on a thorough urban planning survey and solar analysis. Locked between two main boulevards of the city, Astral Tower is within walking distance of public and institutional buildings, as well as the historical centre.

The Government’s Green Homes Grant, introduced on 30th September 2020, was meant to encourage homeowners to make their properties more energy efficient. Instead, the scheme has been beset by criticism from consumers and installers alike. Here, Ian Rippin, CEO at MCS – the national standards organisation for renewables – discusses what he views as flaws in the scheme, and what can be done to ensure low-carbon technologies become a staple solution for new-build properties of the future.

With social distancing still vitally important in the fight against COVID-19, open-plan offices have never been a scarier place to work but return we must – for our mental health as much as our livelihoods, but could this be actually adding to our stress? Soundtect investigates.

Following the recent publication of its white paper on unitised facade builds, Sapphire Balconies examines this growing trend and the technical considerations to bear in mind when designing this type of external building envelope with balconies.

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