Granit Chartered Architects Ltd

Granit Chartered Architects Ltd
Granit Chartered Architects Ltd

Sustainability is not a tag, it’s about choices. It’s about thinking long term over short term and taking a less selfish view of how we conduct our lives. As a species we have damaged our planet considerably over the past two-three hundred years and time is now running out to rectify our mistakes. Crucially we must act now to help prevent future problems associated with climate change.

At Granit Architects we believe we all have a responsibility to address our impact on the environment. In our role as architects this responsibility revolves around good building design and the way in which we operate as a business.

We have attempted to address our impact on both levels while taking into account the needs of a range of stakeholders including our clients, suppliers, partners and employees. To achieve this we have applied a five-point framework in our business.

The fundamental service we provide is the design of buildings. Each presents a unique set of challenges in the design and construction process and our aim is to design a building that excels in four areas:

1.Design

• meeting the client brief,
• meeting our design principles,
• meeting our environmental responsibility, and
• meeting our business objectives

The crucial element here is the client.

They will ultimately determine how sustainable a building might be and it is therefore our first priority to raise awareness of the environmental issues associated with any design and how they might be overcome. At the very least this includes exceeding the current legislation on energy efficiency, However, we also address other factors such as the need to avoid overly complex design detailing and construction methods, integrating effective building controls and protecting biodiversity.

2.Heating and Lighting

Buildings can be inefficient due to their design, or the materials used in construction, or both. The results of a poorly designed building, constructed with cheaper materials can often be seen as an increase in the running costs associated with heating (and cooling) and lighting.

Buildings with minimal insulation in loft spaces and cavity walls lose heat rapidly and require constant heating. Those which are not designed to use natural light require constant artificial lighting. Both heating and lighting of course use up our natural
resources.

It is our objective to ensure that through good design we are able to minimise the amount of energy a building consumes in heating and lighting. We can achieve this through a variety of means, such as ensuring we use materials with a heavy thermal mass, or through building orientation, incorporating natural ventilation, or designing to allow natural light to flood through a building.

3.Materials

The range of construction materials available is incredible and each has a different degree of impact on our environment. We can specify environmentally friendly materials as far as possible, although there are some materials which are unfortunately unavoidable in modern construction. It is important also to consider where materials are coming from and it is our policy to source local materials as far as possible. This is one of the reasons why we won a Green Apple Award recently.

We also specify materials with a high BRE green rating which helps us to ensure they actually perform well in use.

4.Natural resources

Perhaps the simplest area to address is the amount of natural resources a building uses. We have looked at this in terms of heating and lighting, however we are increasingly able to consider micro-generation opportunities in building design, such as the use of solar and wind power.

We are also careful to analyse the use of water and incorporate technologies and design principles to minimise the waste and or treatment of waste water. These small design features can offer a substantial impact on the environmental impact of our buildings.

5.Operations

The fifth area of impact is the way in which we conduct ourselves in business. It goes without saying we attempt as far as possible to reduce our own pollution and encourage recycling in our offices, on construction sites and in clients’ homes.

However we can always strive to improve and look to our staff to contribute too, through encouraging the use of public transport and cycle to work schemes.

By applying these guiding principles to the way in which we design buildings and conduct ourselves in business, we hope to take a long term view in caring for our planet. We encourage you all to do the same.

Granit Architects 2010

Contact: James Munro

Contact

Granit Chartered Architects Ltd
112 Battersea Business Centre 99-109 Lavender Hill
London
SW11 5QL
United Kingdom
Phone: 0207 924 4555