Black Architecture & BRE Partner for Refurb

3rd December, 2012

Black Architecture has been selected to partner with BRE on their refurbishment of a 1960’s office building project. This project is intended to research strategies for the comprehensive refurbishment of buildings of this type. The project will focus on Building 14 at the Garston, Watford site. Built in 1964 with a host of problems typical of the buildings from this era, Building 14 at BRE overheats, uses an exorbitant amount of energy, emits 42 tonnes CO2/year , has a crumbling façade and as such it is an ideal candidate for a strategic sustainable makeover.

It will be used as the physical demonstrator for a research and testing programme allowing refurbishment options to be valuated in a controlled environment. The key output from the project will be a performance specification / ‘balanced scorecard’ (strategic planning and management system), with the potential to be rolled out large scale to similar buildings.

This will deliver:

1. Exceptional sustainability and energy efficiency improvements (including 80% reductions in energy use, compliance with BREEAM Refurbishment and other recognised standards) with no increase in capital cost investments compared to standard comprehensive refurbishments

2. Drastic reductions in operational and embodied carbon

3. Improved indoor environment, including better air quality and thermal comfort

4. Exemplar project, construction and procurement efficiency with minimal disruption to the day-to-day activities in the building.

BRE Building 14 has been chosen because its design and construction are typical of many other buildings from the period. It is prominent within the BRE campus, close to main reception and the Innovation Park, giving good visitor access and making it ideal for demonstration. It is currently an extremely inefficient building, with an EPC rating of E, therefore offering much scope for improvement.

The building will be a live demonstrator of innovative technologies for the commercial refurbishment sector, which will be updated as new products become available on the market (parallel to the BRE Victorian Terrace domestic refurbishment project). The building will provide new accommodation that will be used as exhibition space open to Innovation Park visitors, business incubator space for start-up companies, office, meeting and seminar areas. A programme of dissemination and promotion will follow completion. This project will lead the way and influence the thinking of private and public bodies to change and embrace best practice, while happening right at the heart of the Government’s Green Deal implementation programme, and as such will receive extensive media coverage and public interest.

Paul Hinkin managing Director of Black Architecture believes that the project is of strategic significance: “It is essential that the UK’s aged building stock is retained and made fit for purpose and this project will help to define best practice standards to achieve the highest levels of performance at the best value. What is most exciting about this project is that it is intended not to be just a demonstration project but to provide a repeatable model that can be rolled out. We are delighted to be working with the BRE on this pioneering project.”

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