Working for the London Borough of Islington, and with architects Penoyre & Prasad and structural engineer Adams Kara Taylor, Ramboll - as environmental assessors and building services engineer - had both stretching targets and challenging constraints in combining the relocation of Ashmount Primary School, constructing a new Bowlers Nursery and the refurbishment of the former recreation centre known as the CAPE building. The new facilities all sit within the woodland setting of Crouch Hill Park, itself enjoying improvements to landscaping, access, pathways and lighting and enhanced biodiversity.
Following our Environmental Impact Assessment, Ramboll’s Sustainability Appraisal Process was used from inception to inform and track design decisions and score the development against a brief which called for zero carbon emissions during construction and zero waste during demolition, construction and operation.
But, achieving a zero carbon target was challenging to say the least given the area’s open aspect and its location within an air quality management area. The site lines and viewing corridors (principally of St Paul’s Cathedral) prevented using wind turbines, large scale photovoltaics were unaffordable and a biomass approach would have fallen short of the overall power needs.
The solution was a true example of Ramboll innovation; generate more power than the school actually required - efficiently using gas fired combined heat and power boilers (which also generate low carbon electricity) with ‘top up’ biomass heating - and then export the surplus heat to the nursery, the CAPE building and to two neighbouring social housing blocks. The architect’s passive design helped minimise the need for energy consumption, recycled materials and on-site renewables minimised waste, whilst brown and green roofing plus rainwater harvesting reduced the dependence on utility supplies.