- RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS
The client’s vision for their new office on the South Bank in London was to “raise the bar” for the sustainable design of office buildings. Overbury were part of the fit out team that helped make this vision become a reality. Over five thousand people are based in the ten storey building, which features four restaurants, 240 cycle spaces, a roof terrace and on-site energy generation using recycled cooking oil and solar thermal panels.
For such a challenging fit out project, it was important that all subcontractors were involved and engaged from the start. Workshops were run for trade contractors covering BREEAM requirements and the actions needed to meet the client’s high environmental requirements. In addition, workshops were run on waste minimisation and management. These workshops covered Overbury’s expectations around minimising waste on site and options for increasing recycling, including Waste Minimisation Plans and on-site segregation.
To help prepare female construction students for their future careers in the industry, 25 students from the University of Reading were invited to site for the day. They were given the chance to see a working project and converse with female representatives from the industry. The client wanted the finished building to act as a learning resource, displaying its environmental performance for staff and visitors alike.
The fit out included a range of cutting edge design features intended to minimise the environmental impact of the building. Early in the design stage, an energy analysis was carried out to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different renewables options in terms of space requirements, estimated annual CO2 savings and payback period. Based on this, the final design incorporates a trigeneration (CCHP) system, which generates electricity, heat and cooling from a single heat source provided by biodiesel. The system meets approximately 25% of the maximum electricity demand while producing waste heat used for heating or cooling.
The building also incorporates solar hot water systems utilising evacuated tube panels installed on the roof to serve the domestic hot water system for toilet areas. The building also features a gas-powered chiller heat recovery system, which provides heat to the low grade temperature heating system. This recovers waste heat from the chillers, normally rejected to atmosphere, and uses this in the heating system to keep the building warm in cooler weather. This gives considerable reductions in the carbon emissions compared to a conventional electric heating system. A range of sustainable and recycled materials were used in the fit out. Aggregates used in the office build were from predominantly recycled sources. All timber used on the project was from certified sustainable sources, with full chain of custody documentation. Waste minimisation plans were established early in the project, which helped design out waste. Examples include prefabricated joinery for dividing walls in toilets, which arrived on site ready to install and could be simply ‘slotted’ in, and the development of reusable packaging for light fittings. On-site, waste segregation signs were developed that illustrated to all construction workers where different waste types could be disposed of, and explained how they would be re-used.
During the pre-construction stage, trade contractors were asked for site specific plans detailing how they were going to minimise their waste. Significant savings were made by recycling materials and reducing waste output. For example, the drylining contractor estimated that the amount of plasterboard ordered was reduced by 10% through prior consideration of board sizes and offcut use.
"We had the opportunity with the design process for the building, to take a blank sheet of paper and raise the bar, both for ourselves and others, in the environmental and sustainability performance of office buildings. This assessment sends a really clear message that planning for the sustainable use of resources, in detail and right through the process, can make good business sense."Client representative