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Environmental Sustainability

A holistic approach to creating

Energy Efficient Buildings

Tritax Symmetry recognise the essential role of the built environment in delivering sustainable development, we understand and embrace the need to have a positive impact on the environment. We therefore adopt a holistic approach to creating energy efficient buildings, sensitive to the climate and environment. We believe that the approach to sustainable development must be tailored for every project to meet the needs of the client and the requirements of the project stakeholders.

In our opinion some of the most relevant definitions and objectives of sustainable development are incorporated in the following, the ethos of which we are committed to reflect in all new development:

Brundtland Commission 1987

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

UK Government Initiative

  • – Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone
  • – Effective protection of the environment
  • – Prudent use of natural resources
  • – Maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment

The Triple Bottom Line Objective

The concept of measuring performance in terms of social and environmental performance, as well as financial return.

In order to fulfil our objectives as outlined above, we undertake the following detailed analysis for each new project we embark on:


Tritax Symmetry support and use BREEAM as a guideline for sustainable building practices and embraces local authorities’ environmental requirements and objectives. BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. It is the most widely used and robust method available for measuring and demonstrating the environmental performance of buildings.

Energy in buildings

Tritax Symmetry are committed to delivering energy efficient, low carbon and cost effective buildings, which we assess through building operation energy usage modelling. This is vital because Buildings are responsible for about half of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK.

Healthy and productive buildings

Tritax Symmetry deliver workspaces designed to provide the most comfortable working conditions by optimising daylight, ventilation, heating and cooling systems.

Renewable Energy

Tritax Symmetry fully investigates the use of integrated renewable energy systems on all projects, in order to minimise the erosion of exhaustible materials e.g. fossil fuels.

Sustainable Design

Tritax Symmetry consider the following strategies in all new projects:

Reduce CO2 emissions and decrease the use of fossil fuels by

  • employing renewable energy sources wherever possible
  • reducing transport during construction by sourcing materials and components locally
  • implementing facilities to minimise car travel for future employers and clients
  • avoiding mechanical cooling and investing into natural cooling and natural ventilation
  • designing for a maximum use of daylight
  • designing automatic lighting controls and fit low energy and LED lighting throughout the site
  • minimise the use of finite sources and use renewable sustainable elements instead
  • develop a green transport plan in collaboration with local councils

Reduce water usage by

  • implementing rainwater harvesting systems into the building design
  • installing grey water harvesting systems where appropriate
  • installing water efficient fittings, such as low flow taps, low flow showers, automated controls on urinals and dual flush, low flow WCs
  • fitting water meters
  • installing water leak detection systems and monitoring water consumption

Reduce waste by

  • providing recycling facilities during and after construction
  • use recycled components and recycled aggregates wherever possible
  • considering the possibility of creating energy from waste
  • considering off-site manufacture

Increase biodiversity by

  • investigating the ecological value of the site
  • employing an ecologist to assure maintaining or increasing the ecology on the site
  • implementing green or brown roofs to increase biodiversity and help prevent flooding
  • employing flood risk minimisation measures

Reduce pollutants by

  • using non-hazardous healthy building materials with low embodied energy and a good life cycle analysis
  • avoiding toxic materials such as formaldehyde as much as possible
  • installing low NOx heating systems
  • fitting oil interceptors in car parks
  • designing external lighting to minimise light pollution

Create health and well-being by

  • improving the indoor air quality through ventilation and healthy breathable building materials
  • providing thermal comfort by creating temperature controlled environments
  • providing open spaces and green recreational areas for occupants/users
  • providing views out
BREEAM assessment

To review all environmental aspects of the site and the proposed building with a view to achieving the highest rating possible.

Appointment of ecologist as part of the building team

To investigate the ecological value of the site with a view to maintaining or enhancing the ecological value of the site to the benefit of all.

Renewable energy sources consideration

To investigate the alternative sources of renewable energy and to determine its suitability for the site and buildings.

Increased air tightness

To obtain an air leakage rate for the building at least 50% better than that required under current Building Regulations.

Increased roof lights to warehouse

To increase the percentage of roof lights from the institutional level of 10% of the roof area to 15%, to improve the natural daylight provision.

Appointment of mechanical and electrical consultant for energy calculation

To ensure the systems installed provide heating, lighting and cooling with minimum energy usage and wastage.

Design of offices to enable fresh air ventilation & natural daylighting

To review the design and alignment of the offices to maximise the use of fresh air ventilation and natural daylight.

Maximise daylighting

By use of sun path analysis, ensure that the alignment of the offices on the site maximises daylighting.

Provision of solar shading

To reduce heat gain within offices during the summer months with the benefit of more natural cooling.

Provision of tinted glass to improve solar control

To control heat gain within the building during the summer months.

Provision of high efficiency plant

To constantly review the latest products to reduce energy usages.

Incorporation of building management system and energy metering

To enable the building user to monitor the building system to reduce and control energy usage.

Provision of user log books and building manual

To enable the building user to manage and maintain the building systems to maximum effect for minimum energy usage.

Seasonal commissioning

To arrange for the consultant to visit and carry out an assessment in use in two different seasons following completion.

Pir lighting control to offices

To minimise energy usage whilst offices are not occupied.

Provision of photocells & time clock to external lighting

To control external lighting in relation to outside light levels.

Design of lighting to minimise light pollution

To review the location of all external lighting to minimise upward glare.

Travel and transport plan

To help encourage less reliance on single occupancy private car travel.

Use of wrap (waste & resources action programme) tool

Use of on-line tool to review design to specify increased use of recyclable materials.

Embodied energy assessment during construction

Investigate materials and method statements to increase carbon sequestrian on projects.

Reduction in the heating design temperatures

Reduction in the heating design temperatures without a material effect on the building amenity whilst accepting that this will require acceptance by occupier, investors and advisers alike.

Provision of low energy lighting

To minimise energy usage whilst offices are occupied and lighting is switched on.

Improved water conservation to offices

By providing the following water saving devices within the plumbing system.


This 90 acre site adjoining junction 18 of the M1, north of Crick in Northamptonshire was acquired in March 2005. The site was formally used as an abattoir, for pet food manufacture and distribution operations.

Following extensive consideration of the site constraints and opportunities, we initially approached the Local Authority with our outline proposal in September 2005 and as part of formulating the redevelopment proposals and in accordance with the recommendations of Daventry District Council we undertook a Community Involvement Exercise in Crick during February 2006 taking the form of a public exhibition which was received as a resounding success.

Our proposal incorporated the demolition of all the current buildings and a redevelopment of the site to provide a single 1,250,000 sq.ft. distribution building and a further, smaller 250,000 sq.ft. building.

The full Planning Application was submitted in June 2006 following a very comprehensive and detailed analysis of the site specific constraints in engineering, planning and environmental terms. As a consequence of our approach, detailed planning consent was granted in January 2007.

Fundamental to our success was our approach to sustainability which was based on the following objectives:

  • Fully examine and comprehend the key sustainability themes in relation to the development proposals;
  • Identify the performance of the development proposals in relation to each of the themes; and to
  • Identify sustainability objectives and the appropriate ‘actions required’ to ensure that sustainability is delivered during and in the ‘built form’.

Bio Diversity, Flora and Fauna

A major commitment was made to habitat creation and overall enhancement of the ecological value of the site. Our overall design was influenced by the identification of ecological constraints and opportunities on the site with the intention to design out any potential impacts. This is achieved by:

  • Realignment of the existing brook with a broader and ecologically led planting and a habitat creation strategy.
  • Providing approximately 11 Hectares of new landscaped planting. See below summary.
Woodland Tree planting 5.7ha (14 acres) 43,772
Woodland shrub planting 3.5ha (8.6 acres) 24,735
Meadow grass 0.62ha (1.53 acres)
Aquatic planting 0.94ha (2.32 acres)
Specimen trees 215
Ornamental shrubs 0.35ha (0.86 acres) 13,932
Total 0.35ha (0.86 acres) 13,932
  • Percentage of the overall site area 28.69%
  • Planting is introduced on a very large scale which transforms the landscape assets of the site and indeed the surrounding area and increases commensurately the extent, range and value of habitats. Overall, the planting provisions add up to a total of some 44,000 woodland trees and with some 27,500 woodland edge shrubs: with meadow, aquatic and formal planting total of 83,000 plants.
  • Realignment of the existing footpath through the new landscaped woodland area.


In terms of improving energy efficiency a number of measures are included in the detailed design to ensure that the best practice energy consumption can be achieved: The offices have been designed externally from the warehouse to ensure:

  • The orientation provides maximum exposure to the sun path, providing natural light therefore maximising daylight
  • 10% – 15% roof lights to the warehouse areas to maximise daylight and reducing energy consumption for lighting
  • Natural ventilation will be adopted wherever feasible to reduce size of cooling plant within the offices
  • Provision of solar shading via the building form is being provided
  • Enhanced insulation will be provided to reduce heat loss in the building fabric
  • Low levels of air permeability will be achieved – target 5mcu/hr/m sq

Building Services

  • Lighting within the offices will be controlled using PIR sensors with automatic daylight dimming control to ensure only active areas of office are lit
  • Low energy lamp sources will be utilized to reduce energy use
  • High efficiency plant will be selected with guidance provided to the occupier on efficient use and operation
  • The loss of energy and thermal loss will be reduced through enhanced insulation to pipework and ductwork installations

Renewable Energy Sources

We have adopted a target of 10% of the buildings energy requirements are to be provided via renewable sources. This will be achieved through a combination of:

The boiler is expected to cut some 230 tonnes of co2 annualy.


Domestic water use will be restricted to reduce energy further by:

  • Installing water efficient staff showers
  • Installing spray taps over and above the current requirements for low water content WCs.
  • Harvesting rain water from the roof and reusing in the building for grey water recycling in the toilets and for irrigation of the new landscaped areas.

With all these proposed saving the KGC saved would be 4279kgc

Co Emissions

A full assessment has been made of the potential greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) arising for a “Base Case” development and an “Actual Design” case, to establish the carbon footprint benefits which result from the incorporated design upgrade features.

Co Emissions

  • By modifying the site layout and levels at the design stage we are able to significantly reduce the volume of material being disposed off site, thus reducing transportation and PROVIDING A SAVING OF 678 TONNES OF CO2
  • By using low carbon intensity construction materials we can ACHIEVE A SAVING OF 660 TONNES OF CO2
  • By ensuring contractors use plant with lower GHG emissions it is estimated A SAVING OF 139 TONNES OF CO2 WILL BE ACHIEVED

A collective term for all plant and animal material. Includes burning or digesting forms of biomass to produce energy. Examples include wood, straw and energy crops such as willow and poplar grown on short rotation.

Energy Performance Certificates

Will assess the energy performance of a building at completion and in use. Guidelines issued in March 2007

*Introduction for commercial buildings on 6th April 2008*

* Dates for England & Wales – Scotland different dates

Solar Water Heating

A system for heating water using energy from the sun.

BREEAM Assessment

Measures the environmental performance of the development of a site including the impact of site constraints i.e. contamination, ecology, transport arrangements etc. these issues can affect the BREEAM assessment we can attain irrespective of how sustainable the building is.

Grey Water

Water that has already been used in washbasins, showers, baths and the like, and can be filtered and disinfected before being used again in toilet flushing and other non potable activities such as gardening.

SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems)

A method dealing with surface water drainage which dependant upon existing site conditions can control surface water run off rate, maintain or improve water quantity, provide an amenity for the local community, provide additional habitat for wildlife and provide ground water recharge

Carbon Footprint

A calculation giving the gross carbon consumption to operate a building. Includes all aspects of operating the building including such items as transportation of staff.

Passive Solar Design

The technology of heating and cooling a building naturally without the use of mechanical equipment.


Encompasses environmental, economic and social issues for a development, including SUDS, Energy Efficiency, Transportation, Ecology etc

Carbon Neutral

The means by which carbon emissions can be offset to a similar quantum by external investment e.g planting trees.

Photovoltaic (pv)

The process of converting solar energy into electricity.


Also known as combined heat, cooling and power (CHCP or CCHP). The production of useful power, heat, cooling from an energy plant. Where cooling is required CHP plant can be used to produce cooling.


Is the domestic version of BREEAM, and provides an environmental rating.

Rainwater Harvesting

Energy generated from sources that do not require the use of exhaustible materials ie fossil fuels. Most planning authorities now look for 10% from a renewable source i.e. Wind turbines, Geo Thermals, Biomass, Photo-Voltaic cells etc

Zero Carbon

A measurement on an annual basis which determines the nett carbon emission from a building.

Embodied Energy

The total life cycle energy used in the collection, manufacture, transportation, assembly, recycling and disposal of a given material or product.

Renewable Energy

Energy generated from sources that do not require the use of exhaustible materials ie fossil fuels. Most planning authorities now look for 10% from a renewable source i.e. Wind turbines, Geo Thermals, Biomass, Photo-Voltaic cells etc