November 15, 2010

LEARN Lectures

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PHA Consult Director, Anis Abou Zaki will be delivering a two lectures in sustainable design to Masters students at LEARN on 17th and 23rd November.  Anis will be sharing his expertise in the design of advanced natural ventilation systems and the complexities of integrating renewable energy systems within urban environments.

LEARN logoLEARN is the Low Energy Architecture Research Unit in the Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design of the London Metropolitan University.

November 9, 2010

Carryduff Code 5 Housing Competition Success

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Carryduff MEP 600

Architects Paul Davis + Partners working with PHA Consult have won the Royal Society of Ulster Architects competition for 70 social and affordable houses to Code level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes at Carryduff, Northern Ireland.  The competition attracted submissions from 61 practices from the UK, the RoI and mainland Europe.

The judging panel unanimously agreed the design submitted by PHA Consult and Paul Davis +Partners to be the winning entry. The Chairman’s report referred to the strong presentation by PHA Consult’s Tomas Selva.

Part of the focus of the Environmental Design involved using thermal modelling to optimise the orientation and sunspace specification of each of the homes.

The challenging natural contours of the landscape required careful planning to manage surface water runoff. Community tanks harvest rainwater collected from the roofs, which then supplied the water to each of the homes down the hill and avoid the need for energy intensive pumping. These strategies allowed the community to meet the stringent Code Level 5 water efficiency requirements whilst reducing costs.

A comparison of community heating schemes such as ground source and air to water heat pumps, as well as biomass and CHP followed; and attention was drawn to their relative advantages compared to single home integrated solutions.

The findings were used to assemble an integrated system using solar hot water and drainage heat recovery to maximise the efficiency of a heat exchanger connected to a single unit air to water heat pump concealed in the rear garden. Well positioned roof mounted PV panels provided renewable electrical energy to power a full house ventilation heat recovery unit. The system was designed to, in future, offer occupants the opportunity of grid independent zero carbon living.

Article in BD magazine (requires registration)

October 30, 2010

AIA London Chapter Student Design Charrette

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PHA Consult Director Edward Garrod was invited to judge the annual AIA London Chapter Student Design Charrette held at the AA School of Architecture in Bedford Squeare, London. The jury was completed by journalist and critic Paul Finch OBE, and Wade Scaramucci from architects AHMM.

The brief for this one day, CAD-free event was to create a mixed-use development that used the three acre site of the former Middlesex Hospital near Goodge Street, retaining its listed chapel and giving sustainability the greatest consideration. First prize was awarded to a team of students from Sheffield University whose scheme focused on social sustainability and looked at the rehabilitation of ex-convicts through the use of slow food that provided a mixture of residential and community areas on the site for the growth, use and nurture of food.

The Jury (left) and the winning team of University of Sheffield architecture students (right)

October 23, 2010

Spaceport America – Runway Dedication

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Video courtesy Virgin Galactic/YouTube

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) yesterday dedicated the nearly two-mile long “Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway” at Spaceport America. See the full press release here.

PHA Consult, working in partnership with URS Corp are the sustainable MEP engineers behind the Terminal Hangar Facility at Spaceport Armerica. Designed by Foster + Partners, THF will be the home of Virgin Galactic.

Key features of the environmental-friendly design include earth-tube tempered air supply, a glycol solar collector array for space heating and domestic hot water, low water use fixtures, adiabatic assisted cooling, day-lighting of major public spaces, and sophisticated energy control systems to attain LEED gold-level certification.

October 13, 2010

Masdar Institute Microclimate @The RIBA Trust Annual Discourse 2010

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Lord Foster - RIBA Lecture 2010 © Gleeds TV

In his RIBA Trust Annual Discourse address, Lord Norman Foster, founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, spoke on the topic of ‘Performance’ as it relates to sustainable performance as well as past and future performance. As well as discussing his personal passions for automobiles, cycling and cross-country skiing, Lord Foster included an in-depth look at the Masdar project – the World’s first zero carbon, zero waste city in Abu Dhabi, which can attribute its success to extensive research and cutting edge technology.

The sucess of the microclimate strategy developed by PHA Consult and Foster + Partners has been demonstrated on-site by thermal imaging studies undertaken by our friends at Foster + Partners’ in-house team of environmental analysts. This aspect is covered in detail within Part 4 of Lord Foster’s lecture

Using detailed climatic analysis PHA Consult developed the wind tower concept for the Masdar Institute, and worked with Foster + Partners team, structural engineers AKT, specialist wind consltants BMT Fluid Mechanics and RWDI to refine the develop the design of the tower. The wind tower captures cooling high-level winds and employs passive downdraft evaporative [PDEC] cooling principles to reduce heat stress within the pedestrian environment.

The selective distribution of thermal mass on low-level walls, floors and soffits ensures that pedestrians are surrounded by heavyweight materials that retain ‘coolth’ overnight and thereby reduce radiant temperatures during the day. This cooling benefit is safeguarded by shading colonnades from the sun through the arrangement of buildings, street widths, over-sailing PV panels at roof level and fabric screens at ground level. Foster + Partners’ analysis showed that radiant temperatures within MIST areas much as 17°C cooler than downtown Abu Dhabi.

October 8, 2010

PHA Consult recognised in Top 250 Consultants

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PHA Consult entered the Building Magazine 2010 index of the Top 250 Consultants to the UK construction industry, debuting at position 242= . In recognition of our performance in the last twelve months we were ranked 20th fastest growing company. With a number of major projects secured for 2011 we hope to move up the rankings and maintain our growth in the year ahead.

August 25, 2010

Banco Cuidad de Buenos Aires

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PHA Consult were the sustainability consultants and MEP Engineer’s for the competition-winning scheme to design a new corporate headquarters for the Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

© Foster + Partners

The project was designed by Foster + Partners, working with construction firm, CRIBA S.A. and local architect, BBRCH-Minond. Plans for the energy-efficient building, which will occupy an entire city block in the neighbourhood of Parque Patricios, echo its park-side setting with landscaped courtyards and shaded walkways and will provide a distinctive new presence for the bank in the city.

The scheme occupies the whole site to create an internal campus of ‘villages’, which are connected by circulation routes and external landscaped patios and are unified by a flowing roof canopy. The entrance plaza is sheltered by the deep overhang of the roof, which is supported by slender pillars. A full-height atrium directs circulation into four tiers of terraced office spaces, all of which have direct views of the park. Based on an eight-metre-square planning grid, the generous light-filled floor plates allow the work spaces to be flexibly planned.

The plans form part of a wider regeneration initiative in the barrio of Parque Patricios, a formerly light industrial area to the south of the city centre, which has been identified by the city’s government as a centre of technology. The design incorporates a number of sustainable features and targets LEED Silver accreditation. These include utilising the exposed thermal mass of concrete soffits with chilled beams for cooling; and reducing energy demands through shaded facades, which are oriented according to the path of the sun, and by encouraging natural ventilation.

PHA Consult are now working with local MEP engineering and LEED consultants GF/estudioGrinberg to develop the competition concept, providing advanced energy and systems modelling to ASHRAE 90.1,  natural ventilation simulation, and daylight and glare analysis.

August 17, 2010

MIST – Construction Update

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We stumbled across Jenny Perkins’ blog this week which provides some fascinating pictures of progress on the masdar Institute of Science and Technology, taken mid May this year. Click on the image below to see more…..

Copyright Jenny Perkins

Copyright Jenny Perkins

July 3, 2010

Terminal Hangar Facility – Construction Update

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Construction progress can now be followed here a “Hard Hat Tour” of the Spaceport site can be viewed here.  PHA Consult, working in partnership with URS Corp are the sustainable MEP engineers behind the Terminal Hangar Facility at Spaceport Armerica. Designed by Foster + Partners, THF will be the home of Virgin Galactic.

Key features of the environmental-friendly design include earth-tube tempered air supply, a glycol solar collector array for space heating and domestic hot water, low water use fixtures, adiabatic assisted cooling, day-lighting of major public spaces, and sophisticated energy control systems to attain LEED gold-level certification.

June 17, 2010

Danube Passage – Hungary’s First Sustainable Neighbourhood

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PHA Consult have led the sustainability strategy for Budapest’s first sustainable, environmentally-friendly neighbourhood is being built according to the first ever Hungarian designs of world-leading architectural studio Foster + Partners. The project will be devloped by WING Zrt, one of the largest privately-owned real estate firms in Hungary.

Danube Passage is a city center project located on one of the last remaining undeveloped Danube-bank sites in Budapest, combining modern and environmentally-friendly offices, sunny apartments with panoramic views, restaurants, cafés, and a shopping and cultural centre, all in one place. All of this is complemented by the abundance of green space, public parks and a whole range of riverside leisure opportunities.

In terms of its development, the part of Budapest District IX located to the south of Lágymányosi Bridge on the Pest side of the city has, until now, been in a deep slumber. However this area, which at almost 15 hectares is currently Budapest’s largest riverside site still to be rehabilitated, is about to be reborn in a world-class, sustainable development by WING, one of the largest and most stable property concerns in Hungary.

Upon completion of the investment a unique part of the city’s environmental heritage, the Danube riverfront, will gain a new feature on a section of the riverbank that was hitherto inaccessible. The southern silhouette of the capital will be redrawn by the residential towers being built at the tip of the peninsula, which will be Budapest’s tallest new-build apartment buildings. The unique attraction of this new neighbourhood is that it is bordered by the river on two sides, as it will be constructed on the peninsula formed between the Danube itself and the Ráckeve Danube tributary, affording local residents and visitors convenient access to the riverbank, unimpeded and without the need to cross busy lanes of traffic or railway lines.

Throughout the development, priority is being given to environmental protection. The concept is built around sustainable planning and the use of green technologies. As a result of the solutions employed, Danube Passage is easy on the environment, and the offices and apartments of Danube Passage offer a healthier and more efficient setting in which to live and work. Meanwhile, the energy consumption of the buildings, and the related costs, will also be substantially lower.

The energy consumption of Danube Passage could be as much as 40-50% lower than is normal for projects of this kind.

The following environmentally-sound technologies will be used for the first time on the scale of an entire neighbourhood:

  • Green roofs
  • To improve air quality and the efficiency of cooling, the roofs of buildings in the new neighbourhood will be covered in green vegetation, instead of more conventional roof-covering techniques.
  • Use of ground water
  • The use of ground water for cooling, irrigation and the flushing of lavatories (grey water usage) is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Another environmentally-friendly solution only employed here is the use of water from the Danube for cooling the buildings.
  • Solar collectors
  • Much of the hot water is supplied from solar collectors located on roofs. In the case of an entire neighbourhood, these add up to a very substantial overall energy saving.
  • Optimal orientation of the buildings
  • The form and façade of the buildings is optimised by taking into account the path of the sun and the local climate. The special design can lead to considerable reductions in the cost of cooling, heating and lighting the buildings.
  • Environmentally friendly materials usage
  • Sustainable and recyclable materials will be used in the course of the construction work.
  • Construction of bicycle storage facilities and a cycle path
  • To encourage cycling, a section of the regional cycle-path network, and (in the underground car park) a bicycle storage facility and adjoining changing rooms, will be constructed.

Text: Foster + partners/WING Zrt

Environmental Strategy

Image © PHA Consult


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