Sustainable and carbon neutral buildings from Scotts

Sustainable and carbon neutral buildings are now top of the agenda.  When we are given the brief for a new school or community building, on more and more occasions we are seeing sustainability as the main criteria in the specification.

Timber framed buildings lend themselves to fulfilling this stipulation, and we can employ various methods to create a carbon neutral building, with great UV values to meet a sustainable goal.

Plus, because we design and manufacture everything at our Thrapston site, we keep our own carbon footprint low in minimising the number of deliveries needed to the build location.  For example, we recently handed over a new carbon neutral community centre to the London Borough of Havering.

From conception to completion, the innovative building took just five months to complete, and includes harvested rainwater to flush the toilets and a ground source heat pump to provide all the hot water and heating.  The main focus of the brief was sustainability – with the initial request asking for the building to be as self-sufficient as possible.

The super-insulated building, which has U-Values exceeding recommended rates (Walls: 0.20 W/m2k, Floor 0.19 W/m2k, Roof 0.19 W/m2k) also has an EPC Rating A. It has a ground source heat pump, served by two 140m boreholes in the ground, which provides all the hot and cold water, as well as the hot water for the underfloor heating.

The bore holes help to create a sustainable heating system. Harvested rainwater stored in an 8,000-litre capacity tank, located underneath an outside paved area, provides water to flush all the toilets and service an outside tap for watering plants and maintenance.

Timber louvres provide solar shading to reduce solar gain during the summer months whilst also providing a partial canopy covering an access footpath.

An array of 18 solar panels on the roof provide electricity to run the internal and external lighting and other electrical equipment, with LED lighting throughout.

The building is a hybrid timber superstructure with traditional timber panels and a glulam frame. On average 1m3 of timber absorbs 1 tonne of CO2, so this adds to the low carbon footprint as opposed to steel, for example, which is mined. It is thermally effective, and because we manufacture off site, the building fits together more accurately creating an airtight envelope that is efficient to heat and remains cool in the summer.

Being in charge of the design, engineering, manufacturing and installation, means all aspects of a sustainable building are covered and the carbon footprint is top of the agenda.