Case Studies

Croft Gardens, King's College

We are acting as Passivhaus consultant, as well as MEP, acoustic, and sustainability consultant on this new build graduate student accommodation project for King’s College, Cambridge. The project includes four buildings to provide 60 graduate student bedrooms, 12 one-bed and 12 two-bed fellows apartments.

The site is too noisy to rely on opening windows for natural ventilation. We have developed a strategy that uses ground source heat pumps and a heat exchanger to provide extremely low-energy cooling in summer. The system provides efficient heating in winter, and domestic hot water generation.

The site constraints mean several of the buildings have their principal façades facing east and west, which makes effective solar shading difficult. We have carried out modelling to advise on minimum glazing ratios that provide good daylight without risking summer comfort. We are helping to develop the detail of these as the design develops.

The primary structure for all the buildings is cross-laminated timber (CLT), a low-carbon alternative to concrete. We have helped develop the design to achieve good airtightness and a buildable, high performance thermal envelope.

Image FCBStudios Info
Four buildings provide 60 graduate student bedrooms, 12 one-bed apartments and 12 two-bed apartments.

Max Fordham's House

Designed and built in collaboration with Max, bere:architects, Price & Myers and Bow Tie Construction, this three-bedroom Passivhaus home is an exemplar of collaboration, innovation and solution-focused design. Set in a tight, urban infill site, previously Max’s garden, the project shows what is possible and achievable as a technical concept for the housing sector.

There is no wet heating system in the building. The house has a high-performance thermal envelope, hot water is produced by an efficient air source heat pump, and there are PV panels on the roof to produce electricity. In its initial 6 months of use, the home generated more energy than it consumed.

Max Fordham House won the RIBA London Sustainability Award 2019, a RIBA London Award and was shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2019.

Image Tim Crocker Info
Max Fordham House won the RIBA London Sustainability Award 2019, a RIBA London Award and was shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year 2019.

Cranmer Road Accommodation, King's College

We are acting as Passivhaus consultant as well as MEP and acoustic consultant on this new build graduate student accommodation project for King’s College, Cambridge. The project includes two new buildings, delivering 59 graduate student bedrooms. The project is currently on site, due to complete in 2019. Gwilym Still is project engineer and Passivhaus consultant.

We have advised the team on Passivhaus requirements, helping to develop a design that is elegant, buildable, allows timely testing of airtightness, and with excellent thermal performance. We have also developed a services design that is simple, requires minimal control, and limits distribution losses.

Image Allies and Morrison Info
Two new buildings deliver 59 graduate student bedrooms.

Agar Grove Estate Redevelopment

Agar Grove is a major 493 home development for the London Borough of Camden. Working with architects Hawkins\Brown, Mae and Architype, Max Fordham are providing sustainability, M&E, 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.

We worked with the client to analyse this approach and show it would provide the best value over the life of the project. Agar Grove is one of the largest and tallest Passivhaus developments in the UK.

We appraised the capital and running costs, fuel poverty and maintenance implications to guide the energy efficiency and sustainability standards for the project. We assisted with negotiations for planning. The heat network and renewable planning targets took into consideration the benefits of the efficient building fabric. Certified Passivhaus is offered, except for the refurbished tower which is to be BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rated. 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 also completed 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 and measured an 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.

Image David Grandorge Info
The south facade of Block A showing deep balconies which provide amenity space and shading from high summer sun.
Image David Grandorge Info
Passivhaus delivers very high internal thermal comfort. At Agar Grove, excellent daylighting has also been achieved.
Image Hawkins\Brown Info
The building massing has been carefully design to knit in with the neighbourhood. Lulworth Tower will be built to BREEAM 'Excellent', and Block B will be an 18-storey new-build Passivhaus certified tower.