Aztec 1000: Designing a 'Fabric First' Approach

Aztec 1000: Designing a 'Fabric First' Approach

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Director Ed Hayden explains that the first step in achieving true sustainability is to retain as much of the existing material as is practically possible and to build passive energy and carbon saving strategies into the layout and fabric of the building. Alongside the requirements of BREEAM and in achieving lower carbon emissions, it is critical for this redevelopment to adopt a flexible and adaptive design, as it will reduce on-going energy costs.

We have prioritised passive measures to ensure that low cost energy reduction principles are fully integrated into our design, such as negating solar overheating in the Summer by the careful specification of materials. This includes extremely high performing solar control glazing and the use of advanced brise soleil systems which respond to orientation. Natural lighting is also maximised by the careful design of the façade including ‘light shelves’ to ensure that daylight penetrates into the heart of the building.

Alongside these passive design measures, we are reducing energy demand through fabric enhancement. This is achieved by preventing the loss of energy through  ensuring that the external material selection provides high levels of thermal performance by careful specification and detailing. We ensure very low levels of air leakage via a ’sealed box’ design approach, and by using air tightness strategies. We have employed advanced design and specification of glazing systems to ensure excellent thermal performance, and high levels of light transmission whilst preventing solar over-heating.

Another key to reducing carbon emissions is through the adoption of innovative solutions. Incorporating advanced strategies such as the modular ventilation principle to minimise the use of the ventilation system. This allows for each ‘bay’ of the building to be independently treated, and combining this with smart building technology it is possible to ‘switch off’ unoccupied parts of the building.

We have additionally designed the building with exposed soffits and ‘night purging’ to cool the building at night during the Summer to reduce cooling requirements during the day.

Alongside the operational carbon reductions, we have to carefully consider minimising embodied carbon. To reduce this embodied carbon and energy we are retaining the existing frame wherever possible. By keeping these structural elements, we minimise the materials required for foundations and superstructure. This is supplemented through the selection of appropriate materials and construction techniques, such as utilising cantilevers to minimise the slab thickness.

Working with the M&E designers at an early stage has allowed us to design a fully integrated solution where architecture and services are working together to create a united low energy solution is fundamental when designing for low energy use. A great example of this is using the lakeside setting to draw in cool air from the waterside into each bay of the floorplates, the precooling provided by the lake ensures we minimise the energy required for conditioning the internal air temperature.

Following the passive design measures, and comprehensive integrated service strategies we can then assess which renewable technology is most relevant and suited to the demands of the building and the site conditions and can thus link in with any wider provision or demand in the locality.

Sustainability has to be incorporated on a case-by-case basis, Aztec 1000 takes advantage of location, orientation and existing materials on site to maximise the ‘fabric first’ passive design principles to create a stunning new addition to the architecture of Bristol’s workspace.

“By transforming the redundant fabric of the existing building we are creating a stunning new addition to the office architecture of Bristol. Employing passive design techniques and innovative solutions ensures that Aztec 1000 addresses the sustainability agenda and will provide a beautiful new workplace for the next generation.”

Find out more about 1000 Aztec West here

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