Simpson has been a York-based construction company for almost 100 years and have always aimed to bring the highest standards to all our projects. in 2009, when designing our new headquarters in Dunnington, York, we wanted to deliver the same exceptional approach and to make the most of the best green technology available. For starters, we made use of existing warehouse premises on the Dunnington industrial estate and used the buildings as the starting blocks for our headquarters and workshops. We then made sure to protect the local environment as best as possible during construction and in operation, by installing a newt fence, sustainable urban drainage and grasscrete in the car park, a material that enables the functionality of a hard surface but reduced thermal mass, reducing the heat island effect and allowing floodwater to trickle away.
We wanted to make sure that we embraced the circular economy as much as we could, so used FSC-certified wood in the structure, installed a biomass boiler (ran off the joinery workshop's waste trimmings) to heat the buildings, used salvaged materials wherever possible in the construction, and installed grey water toilets from an underground storage tank. We also tried to make the energy usage as clean as possible, minimising the need for cooling in summer by installing brise soleil to deflect sunlight in summer, installing solar panels on the roof, for electricity generation and hot water and purchasing hybrid cars to reduce the business's fossil fuel consumption in travel. All of this led to achieving a BREEAM 'very good' rating for the head offices.
Gaining an understanding of anticipated energy consumption of the building and the impact of factors such as building fabric; occupancy; technology choices; and installation and commissioning of building services is essential. Identifying the performance gap and correcting and understanding the implementation challenges is crucial.
Ensure that all potential funding avenues / sources of advice are thoroughly reviewed (Carbon Trust very useful).
Collaboration and excellent communication with the local community and Local Authority is critical to the success of projects not only looking to contribute sustainably but also to the local economy.
Having faced the challenge of ensuring the Great Crested Newts were protected, we now work with the Dunnington Conservation Group and make yearly donations towards the maintenance of the Hassacarr Nature Reserve. The Reserve is situated behind the offices and was the re-homing habitat for the newts. This contribution helps to manage and enhance the biodiversity in the Village, providing opportunities for young people and local groups to learn about nature conservation and biodiversity.
Gain as much information as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Identify who the key stakeholders are as early on in the process as possible – maintain close relationships throughout the process.
- Conservation of energy and use of natural resources.
- Production of energy.
- Reuse of existing materials and structure and use of sustainable materials.
- Biodiversity and increasing amenity.