Agar Grove Estate
Working with architects Hawkins Brown, Mae and Architype, Max Fordham are providing M&E, sustainability and Passivhaus services to ensure that 355 homes are designed and built to the extremely demanding Passivhaus standard, including an 18 storey tower.
Construction has been carefully phased to allow as many residents to remain on-site during the works, to maintain the community spirit into the new neighbourhood, with Phase 1A completed in May 2018.
We worked with the client to decide the energy strategy, analysing the Passivhaus approach against Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and 5 and found it would provide the best value over the life of the project. We appraised the capital and running costs, fuel poverty and maintenance implications to guide the energy efficiency and sustainability standards for the project. We led the energy discussions with the planners highlighting that the heat loss associated with a heat network would counteract the benefits of the Passivhaus approach.
The planning authority agreed that the benefits of the efficient building fabric with a block by block heating approach were preferable to a centralised gas CHP. Certified Passivhaus is targeted, with the exception of the refurbished tower which is targeting ‘Excellent’ under BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment. The design was also completed to Code for Sustainable Homes level 4.
We guided the project team on their environmental design, landscaping and social sustainability targets, and developed proposals for a green concierge to help residents make best use of their homes and reduce energy bills.
We undertook design-stage Passivhaus modelling for the first two phases up to tender, including summer comfort modelling and design of a super-low loss communal heating system. Post-tender we remained on the client’s side to advise on MEP detailed design, commissioning and post-occupancy monitoring.
Phase 1A was completed in May 2018 achieving a measured air tightness of 0.50 ACH @50Pa. Full Passivhaus 'Classic' Certification has been granted. Furthermore, the performance of the heat network was meaningfully measured before handover, which is rarely done. All of this gave the client and the contractor teams confidence that they had achieved a very high quality building with efficient fabric, efficient systems and a comfortable internal climate.
Agar Grove Estate won the 'Sustainability Prize' and was crowned the 'Overall Winner' at the New London Architecture Awards 2019. It also won 'Residential Project of the Year' at the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2020.