Empowering stakeholders to make sustainable choices

BMJ Architects have taken the design of highly sustainable buildings very seriously for many years. We have a proven track record of the successful design and delivery of complex projects demanding the achievement of high levels of sustainability, energy efficiency and low carbon emissions as core performance requirements. Our sustainability achievements include:

• 16 BREEAM "excellent” projects since 2011 (total value £577m);
• First BREEAM “Outstanding” rated building in Scotland;
• First BREEAM “Outstanding” rated laboratory building in the UK;
• First commercial Passivhaus project built in Scotland;
• First building to achieve combination of ‘Passivhaus’ and BREEAM ‘Excellent’.

Our approach focusses on low carbon design methodologies as a primary facilitator of sustainability and follows the principles of the energy hierarchy: optimising energy savings from passive design and fabric performance before moving on to consider active renewables technologies. This remains the most effective methodology of reducing energy consumption / carbon emissions from a building

BREEAM and other environmental assessment schemes

BREEAM is an internationally recognised assessment method that allows project environmental issues to be addressed in one overall sustainability target but allows a degree of flexibility in the way the target is achieved and provides a forum where all development standards can be judged on a level basis.

BMJ Architects are highly experienced in the application of the BREEAM assessment system to projects. On any project, the BREEAM target, where required, will be a key driver. We work with the client and the rest of the design team to tailor building solutions to optimise the take of BREEAM credits to ensure that desired BREEAM targets are achieved or exceeded in completed developments.

We are also experienced in using the SKA rating system, a similar environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs. The sustainability good practice criteria and auditing requirements of SKA are pitched appropriately for fit out work.

Managing our own environmental impacts

We manage the environmental impacts of our day-to-day business activities through implementing our ISO 14001 accredited Environmental Management System – a key component of our ISO accredited Integrated Quality Management System - which requires us to put in place policies and measures that mitigate any detrimental effect our activities may have on the environment.

Sample Project: Aberdeen University Nursery, University of Aberdeen

Our innovative contemporary nursery building caters for 78 children and is situated in the University grounds in a conservation area. The University required design to ‘Passivhaus’ standards - the first facility of its type in Scotland to adopt such a demanding energy-efficient design – and BREEAM Excellent. Critical design decisions taken by stakeholders were informed by 3d massing and performance modelling – used extensively to optimize the building’s orientation and minimize environmental impact. Passivhaus employs the simple dynamic approach of superinsulation; airtightness and maximum solar gain to harness existing energy within the building. The requirement for heating was reduced by up to 90% at the coldest part of the year. The completed development achieved all outset sustainability objectives becoming the first building in the country to achieve the combination of ‘Passivhaus’ accreditation and BREEAM ‘Excellent’.