Churchwood Gardens, Sustainability in Design, Residential Architecture, Forest Hill, London

Across the world, the life-altering impacts of the climate crisis are mounting. As we search for solutions to facilitate a more sustainable way of living, the construction industry has a vital role to play. Sustainable buildings and sustainable construction methods are an essential part of our future, and will help us protect our natural environment and planet.

By switching from traditional, one-off design and build processes to a focus on retrofit architecture and industrialised construction methodologies like platform construction (P-DfMA), we can eliminate huge amounts of waste. By embracing passivhaus techniques and incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels, architects and designers can enable structures to generate their own power, reducing a building’s carbon footprint and the reliance on fossil fuels.

However, sustainability must be made a priority. It should not be an option or an add-on to any project. Our lean construction approach integrates sustainability and green building measures from the earliest stages to achieve real and long-lasting benefits. 

Bryden Wood is committed to designing energy-efficient, green buildings that are fit for the future. Our process follows an integrated approach, where sustainability and building physics design are at the centre of the conversation during the whole design process.

We apply innovative thinking and techniques to deliver buildings that combine strong aesthetic merit with optimised performance and resource efficiency, including a focus on sustainable materials, energy efficiency and sustainable construction.

Lean construction

We employ lean design to reduce material use during the construction process, improve performance and increase value. For over 20 years, as part of our development of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), we have been analysing complexity and looking for ways to simplify and create more sustainable buildings. Our sustainability and building physics team applies the principles of lean construction in all of our designs in order to facilitate a sustainable construction approach to every project.

An integrated, collaborative approach to sustainable design

We promote collaboration between stakeholders and the design team. From the early stages of projects, we organise sustainability workshops to make sure all disciplines can influence the building design when it is most malleable. Using a circular feedback loop, we make further improvements to building performance throughout projects, ensuring maximum value to our clients as we create truly sustainable buildings that maximise sustainable technologies and reduce energy costs. 

Science-based and innovative building design services

We strongly believe in a science-based approach to building design, supported by validated numeric calculations and simulations from in-house specialists. Our results are measurable and comparable against best practice performance benchmarks. 

Sustainability and building physics

The climate emergency and UK government targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, have pushed all industries, including construction — which is estimated to produce around 40% of total UK carbon emissions — to make significant attempts to reduce their environmental impact.

Our Sustainability and Building Physics team aims to create truly sustainable buildings which promote the health and well-being of occupants, are durable, functional, and reduce electricity consumption and lower carbon emissions, over their lifetime and beyond. Our sustainable design strategy is applied at every scale, from strategic sustainability and master planning to sustainable construction. Lean thinking is incorporated in every aspect of the building process, from the earliest design stages through to construction and post-completion. 

Design to Value: sustainable buildings from the start

Our Sustainability and Building Physics team embeds all aspects of sustainable design into the Design to Value process to enable the sustainable buildings we design to respond directly to the client’s aspirations. 

We use analytical modelling techniques to evaluate  the performance of a building and identify opportunities for carbon reduction from the outset of a project. We turn this knowledge into information that design teams can understand and incorporate into the environmental design of a project, to make meaningful reductions in a project’s carbon emissions across its whole life cycle. The result is a more sustainable building design.

 Enhancing our sustainability strategy with DfMA 

The principles of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) support our sustainability philosophy and practice. The benefits of adopting a Platform approach to DfMA (P-DfMA) are wide-reaching; an improvement on traditional construction methods, the P-DfMA approach is a safer, healthier and more sustainable way of building.

The environmental benefits of P-DfMA include:

  • Reduced quantity of materials, giving reduced whole life carbon.
  • Reduced production of on-site waste due to reduced quantity of wasteful packaging in materials delivered to site, and more accurate measurement of materials required in construction.
  • Improvement in local air quality due to reduced site installation works.
  • Reduced transportation requirements, improving air quality, reducing traffic accidents and carbon emissions.
  • Deconstructable building components and assemblies that can be dismantled and reused, extending the components’ life and supporting a circular economy approach.
  • P-DfMA construction creates flexible buildings, offering options for future use and minimising carbon emissions during a potential change of use and refurbishment.
  • More control over design, procurement and construction, allowing for the selection of more sustainable building materials, supply chains and construction methods.


Specialists in building physics and sustainable design

Our specialist capabilities include:

  • Strategic sustainability.
  • Operational energy and carbon analysis.
  • Embodied carbon and life cycle assessment. 
  • Circular economy studies.
  • Facade optimisation.
  • Daylight and solar studies.
  • Thermal comfort and overheating analysis.
  • Benchmarking (BREEAM, LEED, WELL).
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).
  • Condensation analysis and U-value calculations.
  • Outdoor environment studies.

You can listen to Pablo Gugel and Helen Hough, co-Heads of sustainability at Bryden Wood, talk about our approach to sustainable building design in our Podcast, here and here. 

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