Contour Architecture is a member of the AECB (The Association for Environment Conscious Building). We take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously. The implications of what we design and how we design it, if not carefully considered, can be very serious. Buildings contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and therefore to global warming.
“buildings contribute 1/3 of total greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through burning fossil fuels during operation”
“Over 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions take place during the operational phase of buildings, when energy is used for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, appliances, and other applications. A smaller percentage, normally 10 to 20 percent, of the energy consumed is for materials manufacturing and transportation, construction, maintenance renovation and demolition”.
Both the above quotes are taken from a report titled Buildings and Climate Change, produced by the United Nations Environment Programme.
It is logical, therefore, to concentrate efforts on reducing the energy and gas emissions during the operational phase. If we can make 50% savings here, this will generate four times greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than if we make 50% savings from the materials and method of construction of the building.
In order to do this, Contour Architecture operate a ‘fabric first’ approach to design. We can offer Certified Passivhaus Designer services and currently have a number of Passivhaus projects under way.
In agreement with our clients we specify insulation levels to a much higher standard than required by the Building Regulations, paying particular attention to avoiding cold thermal bridges in the external envelope. We design our buildings to be much more air tight too, preventing unwanted, accidental air leakage. This approach, combined with carefully managing ventilation to ensure sufficient fresh air is always available, significantly reduces the energy demand and our clients’ bills.