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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorMatt
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2008 edited
    I went to a presentation by Mott MacDonald in Sheffield's new Vulcan House - the new Home Office HQ. I went a long expecting little - so many of these 'sustainable' buildings seem like a tick list of eco-bling.

    I was however pleasantly surprised. They have delivered a low energy (by office standards) building with a lot of thought in materials specification. It is a fully AC office, that delivers lower energy use than many natural ventilated offices (better than 'good standard' new Nat Vent @ 180kwh/m2). The AC is much smaller than usual (due to all the avoidance of solar gain) .A lot of thought was put into orientation and layout, with lots of glazing variations depending on aspect, shading and southerly buffer zones (eg sever and storage rooms), combined with a light well and garden in the center of the building. Lights are organised in switched gangs parallel to windows, and are all on daylight and occupancy sensors. Zero VOC paints, recycled carpet and furniture etc used inside. Green roofs and terraces are accessible from the ofiices direct. All areas have recycling boxes. Low flow taps n toilets, with some rainwater used to flush urinals. Airtightness was 7ach/m3/m2@50pa - with a number of bags blowing off vents that they could not reach, so they think it is closer to 5ach. Damn good for such a large building.

    All the carbon cost of getting materials to site was measured - all suppliers were posted 'swipe cards' to get onto site to measure distance traveled to site (And carbon emissions) - all deliveries without 'swipe cards' had to fill in a form to state mileage etc. Carbon embodied only equates to one years running cost in carbon apparently, and is about the same as the weight of the building. 75% of the carbon was transport, of which half was 'tiny' deliveries such as a couple of boxes of screws via DHL for a subbie....

    Generally there is no eco bling or shiny technology - they stripped it down to the basics of good design and specification. There were all sorts of questions such as 'why did you not use a heat pump?' that were slapped down quite well with 'we didn't need it'.

    Its all going to be monitored by Sheffield Uni in detail.

    In general, I thought it was a great example of how reductions and efficiency are far better than 'bling'; how detail matters; how airtightness and careful insulation is a huge gain; and how solar gain is a bigger issue than heating in such buildings.

    Best bit? all delivered for £1600/m2, and the cost saving of moving from 5 old offices in Sheffield to being in one new office is £1m a year to the taxpayer - so they delivered a higher performing, lower cost building for the same cost as a 'cheap office' (like we are seeing all over Sheffield at the moment). The rent is LESS than the Sheffield average, and running costs in energy/water/maintenance are expected to be significantly lower than other new offices.

    See, this green stuff works... :cool:



    PS, shall I sidestep the issue of it being on a flood plain and having the carpark closer than the bike storage or bus stop? :cry:
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2008
    Interesting note, thanks. But what does "7ach/m3/m2@50pa" mean? Seems like a mix of two different measurements to be me.
    • CommentAuthorMatt
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008
    it is - it tyoed it too quickly!
    This building also has a permanent flood defence system built into the pavement surrounding the building.
    It was the first in the county to have this installed by us.
    As yet it has not been tested in anger .
    I will add it was only commissioned once the main contractor had realised the structure had been built 500mm lower than it should of been and flooded whilst being built.
    If it had not been built to low the final build cost would have been several hundred thousand cheaper.
    A costly mistake.
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