Sustainable design

Energy efficiency and low carbon footprints are vital parts of sustainable design. But so are thriving businesses and stable communities.

Sustainable design

True sustainability depends on a holistic approach where economic and social factors integrate with environmental goals. We design buildings and places which encourage economic and social sustainability by enhancing the patterns of uses and perceptions that make a successful and attractive locality.

In our urban regeneration schemes this creates a virtuous circle of sustainability: new buildings stimulate an economic uplift across a whole area and economic success means they last longer and work harder while their popularity creates a density of uses, minimising pressure on transport.

For us sustainability is not just reducing waste, it is creating self-sustaining communities within and around our buildings.

We glean knowledge from research, post-occupancy feedback and practical experience. We combine it with data covering the whole spectrum of design, construction and life-in-use. This helps us to balance capital costs with whole life costs. We strive to optimise all the resources available for a project - energy, labour, materials, money and site - within practical parameters to achieve ambitious targets. By paying particular attention to the relationship between the design and construction process, we are able to reduce waste at whichever stage it might occur.

Our expert team has designed many buildings to the highest environmental standards – BREEAM Excellent, Code for Sustainable Homes 3, 4 and 5, Eco Homes Excellent, and Passivhaus.


Passivhaus is a leading standard in energy efficient construction. Through high levels of air tightness, insulation standards and mechanical heat recovery system, Passivhaus dwellings are incredibly environmentally friendly and typically achieve a saving of 90% on heating bills compared to traditional housing.

Our scheme at Sulgrave Gardens for Octavia Housing, which was the largest of its kind in London at the time of certification, demonstrates that it is possible to make Passivhaus affordable and achievable, even on challenging and constrained urban sites that might previously have been deemed unsuitable. A difficult inner London site adjoining two Conservation Areas meant that the design had to satisfy strict visual specifications and meet the client’s ambition for a mixed-tenure Passivhaus development.

This scheme demonstrated that Passivhaus can be made affordable and deliverable within the UK’s complex planning codes.


We've delivered many BREEAM Excellent and BREEAM Very Good buildings.

Using post occupancy data from other buildings helps us to focus our approach to lean design, using innovative techniques including offsite construction. Our award winning HSE Headquarters building achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating, as well as very positive feedback from the owners and occupiers.

After 5 years of occupation, the HSE were able to report that on average the mechanical ventilation system was only needed for 3 weeks a year and the comfort cooling was only needed for 2 weeks a year.

In effect, this 30,000sqm office building operates as a naturally ventilated and naturally cooled building for 95% of the year. As a result, energy consumption and carbon emission are significantly lower than expected.

Sustainable design

Sketch of the HSE Headquarters

Selected BREEAM Excellent projects

Sustainable design

Lambeth Civic Centre  Brixton, London

Sustainable design

XYZ  Spinningfields, Manchester

Sustainable design

HSE Headquarters  Bootle, Merseyside

Sustainable design

Lambeth Town Hall  Brixton, London

Sustainable design

Doncaster Civic Office  Doncaster

Sustainable design

Wakefield One  Wakefield