Sustainable construction

Sustainable construction is not only about energy. Materials, transport, water use and rainwater collection are ever more important. Sustainable construction presents a series of challenges. Its breadth, the inter-related issues it includes, and the ever-changing legislative pressures for more sustainable buildings make it a minefield even for experienced designers and developers.

The defunct Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM added impetus to calls for greater sustainability in new buildings, and Building Regulations and planning requirements are converging with these broader sustainability standards – especially in Scotland. Non-domestic buildings and existing buildings look set to face similar pressure to meet and show they are meeting sustainability goals.

Energy and climate change usually carry most weight in sustainable construction, but also important are:

  • Water use
  • Travel and transport
  • Green space and landscaping
  • Waste and recycling
  • Providing a healthy internal environment
  • Whole life costs and investment appraisal
  • Low impact materials
  • Improving historic/listed buildings, and
  • Providing facilities for local people.

CAR can offer support to clients and designers across all of these issues.


Somerville College Dining Hall Client: Somerville College Oxford.  We carried out analysis to improve natural ventilation while optimising thermal performance, together with acoustic and lighting improvements.

Renewable Energy Statements Clients: Various. We prepared Renewable Energy Statements for volume and small scale house-builders – looking for cost-effective ways to achieve renewables targets.

Huntingdon Olympic Gym Client: Huntingdon Gymnastics Club. We prepared resource use and energy options for the transformation of this athletics facility in Cambridgeshire.

Exhibition and Archive Centre, Kuwait Client: Malcolm Reading Associates. We analysed options for Renewable Energy and international accreditation systems for this project in the Gulf.

Sustainable Schools Client: Department for Education and Skills. CAR analysed and wrote case studies of 10 leading edge ‘sustainable ’ schools. See pdf below.


Jason Palmer
01223 460475

It is easy to forget that water is important in sustainable construction.