Reclaiming, recycling and climate change

As outlined in RIBA 2030 climate challenge‘s agenda, its high time to act. This is by no means an easy task and requires a rethinking of the design and build process from the ground up.

Rather than adding to high-level thinking, we wanted to propose concrete (no pun intended!) tips and suggestions, which we here at VORBILD Architecture are proposing to our clients and builders.

Reducing the carbon footprint Footprint

There are different types of carbon footprinting that affect businesses, according to the Carbon Trust, which supports companies, governments and organizations around the world in planning for a sustainable, low carbon future.  An organizational footprint would measure the greenhouse gas emissions of your practice including energy use in buildings and vehicles. The supply chain footprint, meanwhile, measures the impact of raw materials and services you purchase so you can deliver your service. The product footprint assesses the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole life of your services.

If you’re interested in calculating the emissions from individual activities and requirements such as flights and food, you can also take a look at the ClimateCare calculator while you can find out the carbon footprint of your website via the Website Carbon Calculator (but be aware that the information you supply is stored and published in its public database).

(source – BIID)

How can we improve our homes? 


This article appeared on the BBC website, all rights reserved.

For various grants and funding, check here.

We can help in prioritising your expenses on improving your homes insulation and energy efficiency.

Sadly so many homes in the UK are built using solid bricks without any kind of insulation, single glazed windows and uninsulated lofts. The good news is that starting from such a low level of thermal efficiency, almost any upgrade will yield a relatively high result.

Following the guidance as seen on the image to the left, we can help you spend money where it matters most.

One of the simplest ways to improve heat loss in your home is to give it a warm hat, by adding loft insulation. If you are not using the loft for storage or don’t need the storage space itself to be warm, relatively cheap rolled loft insulation can quickly cover the top floor ceiling.

It takes a bit more effort to add rigid insulation boards to the underside of your roof slopes, but that is also relatively inexpensive.

You can also add insulation under either of your intermediate floors to keep heat stored in the levels where it is being generated. This is best done before a new floor finish is being laid of course.

Changing windows to double or even triple-glazed versions – please think of maintaining ventilation by adding trickle vents! – is not inexpensive but very efficient to improve both draughts and insulation in your home.

Changing the way your home is heated is described below.





Design suggestions

air-soruce-heat-pumpAn air source heat pump is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions and benefit from an efficient method of hot water and space heating, but what are the considerations for installing a heat pump in your house?

You can read more details here.

Frequently, specifying insulation materials to just comply with Part L is not sufficient in the long run. Creating a passive house-style home is usually difficult because of budget constraints, but any additional insulation helps to reduce heat loss.


Whole house ventilation units with heat recovery are a further step, which especially comes in handy during complete renovations. You can read more about it here at Enhabit’s website.

whole-house-ventilation-unitA Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) system meets the ideal for both good quality ventilation and a warm home in winter. With an MVHR system, indoor air is extracted from rooms at rates which keep excess humidity, carbon dioxide and toxins at healthy levels.

This warm extracted air is run through a heat exchanger and the heat is passed to incoming cold air from outside. At efficiency levels of up to 96 per cent, an MVHR can re-heat cold outdoor air from zero to 18 degrees Celsius.

When this fresh air comes back into the home it’s at a much more comfortable temperature.

MVHR systems also contain filters which remove pollen, carbon dust and other toxins from outdoor air, and can even be fitted with NOx units to deal with toxins from diesel fumes.


Recycling during the built process

hardcore-applicationDuring demolition, lots of rubble is being created. Old, damaged bricks and concrete can be broken down further on-site and used as hardcore under floor slabs, terraces, and, if broken down more, as a base for various drainage solutions.







Moving forward

This is only the beginning, and we encourage you to read up about this topic further.

You can read more about this on TedTodd website here.


VORBILDs design process stages  |  Full architectural interior design and property services | Development and property search

Planning consultant | Pre-application advice and submission | Sketch design and feasibility of your property

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Aquarium design service| Historic property design | Biophilic interior design | Colour interior analysis | Passive House

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Design during COVID | Us during COVID | Recycling, reusing, improving | Mentoring


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If you like this project and would like us to help you with yours -  we will be happy to advise on time scales, costs, and details – or use our online form to contact us.