A BREEAM excellent multi-use development in the heart of Covent Garden
- Scheme & Version: BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment 2012
- Certification Stage: Post Construction
- Rating: Excellent
- Overall Score: 77.3%
- Developer / Client: Capco
- Architect: KPF
- Building Services: Hoare Lea LLP
- Constructor: SRM
- Assessor Company: Hoare Lea LLP
About the Building
Floral Court is a mixed-use development in the heart of Covent Garden in London’s West End. This vibrant new precinct, activated around the clock, adds a new layer of contemporary design to the historic urban fabric. This has been achieved through: the reintroduction of residential use to the upper stories of landmark historic buildings; increased retail frontage; high-quality restaurants; the conversion and repurposing of multiple historic buildings and interiors; and the creation of an entirely new courtyard. Once the inaccessible interior of the block, this landscaped courtyard is now the setting for al fresco dining and public seating along a newly-created pedestrian routeThe scope of this project meant there were many challenges for the project to overcome, particularly regarding sustainability. However, the architecture responded to the heritage nature of the development and could bring the refurbished dwellings to a high level of sustainability performance, with these dwellings achieving BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment ‘Excellent’.
Notwithstanding the listed facades, a fabric first approach was taken on the project with all refurbished dwellings benefitting from secondary glazing, enhanced floor and roof insulation. These design measures all serve to reduce the energy required for heating. Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery Units (MVHRs) control the internal conditions and all dwellings have clear and easy to use thermostats in living rooms and bedrooms.
All dwellings achieved an internal water consumption of 105 litres/person/day through low flow water fixtures.
Material specifications considered the impact new materials would have on the internal air quality and low VOC materials were specified throughout, as well as many materials being responsibly sourced with low environmental impact. Almost all materials were rated A+ to C and almost all had responsibly sourced certificates. As a minimum this was an ISO 14001, however there were multiple BES 6001 certificates and all timber was FSC certified. To future proof against warmer summers, all dwellings have been provided with cooling.
Additionally, all dwellings have access to secure cycle storage to encourage sustainable forms of transport.
An ecologist was appointed to assess the ecological value of the site, which was determined to be of low ecological value. This development responded to that by incorporating multiple green roofs, sparrow terraces and bird boxes as well as other landscaping, greatly improving the ecological value of the site. The contractor undertook strict care to protect trees that were noted as ecological value throughout construction.
Why did the building undergo BREEAM certification?
Capco is committed to delivering all developments responsibly and to embedding the best possible sustainable practices. Across all major projects, we use industry certification programmes such as BREEAM to help us maintain high standards of sustainable design.
The project team put forward achieving BREEAM ‘Excellent’ for the refurbished dwellings, to match the high levels of sustainability being targeted on the new build residential elements of the project. Therefore, whilst achieving BREEAM ‘Excellent’ for the refurbished dwellings was included in the planning conditions for the project, the client and design team worked hard to embed sustainability within the design going beyond the minimum thresholds required by BREEAM.
The project scored 100% in both the Management and Waste categories, recognising that to deliver sustainable homes requires detailed management and engagement with key stakeholders and operatives on-site at each stage of the project process.
Delivering healthy homes was a key ambition for the project and the project achieved 92% in the health & wellbeing category.
Pollution (75%) and Materials (73%) were another key focus throughout the design and construction and led to considerate material selection to reduce the environmental impact of the project.
All dwellings achieved an internal water consumption of 105 litres/person/day through low flow water fixtures leading to a 70% score in the water categories.
TAs a mixed-use development, including listed buildings in a conservation area, there were many challenges for the project to overcome with regards to sustainability. The main challenge was protecting the Grade II listed properties whilst bringing them up to a high level of energy efficiency, all undertaken within a conservation area, with a community living on its doorstep.
A ‘fabric first’ approach was taken to both the new and refurbished elements of the project to achieve a high level of sustainability performance. The refurbished dwellings have secondary timber sash windows, enhanced floor and roof insulation, and energy-efficient equipment. All dwellings have good levels of daylight and, where feasible, outdoor space.
Material specifications considered the impact new materials would have on the internal air quality, and low VOC materials were specified throughout. Materials were assessed individually based on their green guide rating. Almost all materials were rated A+ to C and almost all had responsible sourcing certificates. As a minimum this was an ISO 14001, however there were multiple BES 6001 certificates and all timber was FSC certified. Where possible, original slates were reused.
Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery Units control the internal conditions and all dwellings have clear and easy-to-use thermostats in living rooms and bedrooms. To future-proof against warmer summers, all dwellings have been provided with cooling. The development is served from a central plant room incorporating Combined Heat and Power (CHP).
The site was assessed and determined to be of low ecological value. The overall development has incorporated a sparrow terrace and bird boxes as well as other landscaping, greatly improving the ecological value of the site. Green and brown roofs have been added to new and historic buildings, including some listed buildings.
BREEAM was a useful tool in the process of embedding sustainable design, because it meant when technical or cost challenges were met, particularly regarding the building’s heritage, the energy criteria were able to drive the building to reach its efficiency goals.
Benefits of assessing to BREEAM
“BREEAM provided the Floral Court development with the framework to improve energy efficiency, reduce water consumption, minimise waste production, and prioritise sourcing materials with a low environmental impact, whilst maintaining the heritage characteristics of the building, to deliver unique homes within a much loved part of London’s West End. The BREEAM certification provides confidence to our future occupiers that choose to live in a home with unique heritage characteristics, plus security in knowing that their home meets, and exceeds in many areas, industry standards with regards to sustainability. BREEAM for the refurbished homes, was part of the holistic approach to sustainability for the mixed-use site, with the new build homes achieving Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 4 and the retail spaces achieving BREEAM ‘Very Good’.” James Pearce, Building Surveyor, Covent Garden