Project Overview

West Byfleet in Surrey is the site for the first of Retirement Villages Group’s (RVG) new sustainable, integrated in-town developments, close to existing amenities and services at the heart of the local community. Retirement housing-led, the mixed-use scheme will offer 196 1- and 2-bedroom apartments for sale and rental.

A new cluster of independent, convenience, leisure and catering operators will operate on the ground floor, facing the new public square and on to the main roads, to generate vitality and a shared amenities space with the wider community. This will create a community hub and a great lifestyle for residents in an inclusive and lively environment for everyone’s benefit.

Key Sustainability Objectives/ Outcomes

  • An initial Whole Life Carbon (WLC) Assessment has been completed and a commitment made to net zero carbon in accordance with the UKGBC Framework Definition, where embodied carbon will be offset and operational carbon offset annually. This assessment has included completing:
    • A TM54 assessment for operational energy. The design has been optimised to the lowest feasible operational carbon.
    • A Life Cycle Carbon assessment has been completed in line with the RICS guidance and the UKGBC scope. Workshops were held with the team to determine solutions to reduce the embodied carbon.
  • The operational energy consumption performances in early design stages were measured against RIBA energy target benchmarks and determine to surpass the RIBA 2020 operational energy targets. As the design progresses options will be evaluated to reduce the operational energy targets towards the RIBA 2025 targets.
  • The upfront embodied carbon has been evaluated against the LETI targets and the WLC against the RICB targets. The site will target the LETI 2020 upfront embodied carbon targets.
  • Offsetting cost have been estimated in line with the UKGBC leadership approach. The scheme will continue to evaluate ways to reduce the residual carbon emission and undertake offsetting strategy to achieve NZC. RVG will create a decarbonsation fund through offsetting tax and use this to decarbonise their existing estate.
  • BREEAM New Construction 2018 “Excellent” rating targeted for the non-residential areas.
  • Fitwell 3 star rating targeted to demonstrate the impact on health and wellbeing.
  • The scheme will regenerate the area near the station creating jobs and community facilities including a new community centre. New landscaping is proposed to create external green spaces and amenity. Biodiversity net gain has been considered as part of the development.
  • A contractors charter has been created to outline the sustainability targets and aspirations of RVG and ensure buy in from all parties involved in the construction of the scheme.

Notable Approaches And Solutions

  • RVG will create a decarbonsation fund through offsetting tax and use this to decarbonise their existing estate to ensure the project has wider value than just on one site.
  • The TM54 processes involved multiple workshops to evaluate a range of options:
    • A baseline level of performance.
    • A range of improved Air tightness levels.
    • Improve thermal fabric performance.
    • Improved MEP services.
    • Procurement of A+++ domestic equipment for residential areas.
  • Increasing the percentage of recement replacements to 40% will be pursued to reduce the embodied carbon.
  • The frame design has changed to a PT frame to reduce the volume of concrete and steel in the design.
  • Thermal comfort and overheating risk has been evaluated at Stage 3 to mitigate overheating and determine how thermal comfort will be maintained in future climate change scenarios.

Lessons Learnt

One of the challenges faced was around how the return value of the extra investment needed to achieve lowest feasible operational carbon could be quantified. As a result a detailed ‘carbon calculator’ was developed to evaluate the operational savings both for the operator and future residents to demonstrate the value of this approach in the long term.