Housing charity wins 'badge of honour' for sustainability
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
Matt Hunt, Director of Asset Management and Development, David Garnett, Chair and Garry King, Chief Executive of Two Rivers Housing celebrate their 'Excellent' achievement
It’s official! A Gloucestershire housing association has the first new office building in the county to be awarded the prestigious BREEAM ‘Excellent’ badge for energy-efficiency and sustainability.
Confirmation has come through, five months after Two Rivers Housing moved into its bright, new, purpose-built premises in Newent, called ‘Rivers Meet’.
BREEAM is a nationally-recognised measure of best practice in sustainable design, construction and operation. Two Rivers’ Chief Executive Garry King was passionate about building a great working environment for staff, but not at the expense of the environment.
“Every aspect of the building has been very carefully thought through and it successfully combines attractive design with functionality and energy-efficiency,” he said.
“We used local suppliers, contractors and materials wherever we could to reduce our carbon footprint during construction and we started saving money from the day we moved in – money that will be ploughed back into tenant services.”
Rivers Meet earned a top ‘A’ rating for energy performance. Features that contribute towards the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ assessment include:
- photovoltaic roof panels to generate electricity.
- air source heat pump.
- low-energy lighting.
- high levels of insulation.
- water-saving appliances.
- composting and recycling facilities.
- electric vehicle charging points.
- sympathetic landscaping and planting that encourages wildlife onto the site.
Four major partners were involved with bringing this project together: Britannia Construction, Hannan Associates, Pozzoni LLP and The Walker Pritchard Partnership.
Paul Halfpenny, Managing Director of Britannia Construction, the scheme’s principal contractor said: “It’s been an exciting journey to be part of. Providing a new facility, built by our own Gloucestershire staff, which gains a county first is not something we are involved in every day. Britannia Construction is proud to have the in-house skilled tradesmen, designers and supply chain which contributed to realising the ambitions of the Two Rivers teams. Protection of our environment and its resources is something we can all influence; this building is testament to that.”
Ian Joyce, Director of Hannan Associates, Building Services Consultants, said: “Two Rivers wanted a low-energy comfort-cooled building and we considered a number of alternative systems before choosing, with Two Rivers, the displacement system. The system, which by displacing the heat gains rather than cooling by mixing, provides an energy-efficient method of controlling the local environment. This, combined with heat pumps and PV, contributed to the low-energy rating of the building and its BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.”
Tim Whiting, Partner at Pozzoni LLP said: "We are delighted to have been involved in the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building. As architects, we encourage the integration of environmental standards from the outset. Two Rivers Housing has fully embraced these principles. resulting in an innovative, contemporary office environment for its staff."
Ian Pritchard, Director of Tewkesbury-based Chartered Surveyors, The Walker Pritchard Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have been actively involved in such a sustainable project. Through the vision and passion of Two Rivers Housing, we feel very fortunate to have been appointed to administer such an innovative project within Gloucestershire. It is clear that by investing in such a sustainable building, Two Rivers will reap benefits both immediately, and over the lifetime of the building.”