We are committed to reducing the carbon emissions connected to the projects we design and deliver, by retaining more buildings, adopting low carbon materials, reducing waste, committing to circular economy principles.
zero carbon hanham hall

We recognise the conflict in our mission to build more homes when the UK construction industry currently contributes a massive 40% of the nation’s total annual carbon emissions.

The stark challenge, is that we need to build many, many more homes in the UK than we have done for the past 30 years, whilst at the same time reduce and in time reversing the negative impact on the planet. Our commitment and leadership in this areas has been recognised with HTA receiving the BD AYA: Net Zero Architect of the Year 2022 award and the Sustainability Architect of the Year 2020.

Our approach to Sustainable design

We ensure our projects significantly contribute to addressing the climate crisis by offering a curated selection of sustainability services and evidence-based design. While sustainable design decisions can be complex in their technical details, our goal is to engage in transparent discussions on how we can minimise impact and enhance the performance of buildings and spaces. We consider the use of passive heating, cooling and lighting and through our training program on Whole Life Carbon Assessment, which encompasses the basics of WLCA, toolkits, standards, and BREEAM determine the appropriate layouts.

Emissions from Construction Activity

We estimate the CO2 impact of the construction of our work by calculating the number of homes we are involved in constructing each year with our contractor clients, but this is not included in our Scope 3 emissions, in accordance with recent UKGBC guidance. Project emissions are captured individually in LCA reporting to the Planning Authority for each project.

As part of our ISO 14001:2015 accreditation and our recent certification as a B Corp, we uphold a robust environmental management system and are dedicated to implementing high standards of carbon reduction initiatives. We use the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) methodology which provides a path to reducing emissions aligning with the Paris Agreement goals aiming to  reach Net Zero well before the 2050 target. We remain committed to being carbon neutral through purchasing of certified carbon credits on our journey to becoming Net Zero.

RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge

We have committed to the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge as this gives us a long-term trajectory of emission reductions to help us to predict how our work should perform in the future. We collect data on the projects where we carry out analysis ourselves and plot this as part of our annual Carbon Report. This shows that there is a marked reduction in the predicted emissions arising from the operation of buildings, largely stemming from continuing pressure placed on the industry by the London Plan. The data on embodied carbon is less certain, as it is a relatively recent introduction, and this shows a much smaller reduction, highlighting the challenge that this issue presents to the industry.

We have done a number of studies of embodied CO2 in our volumetric modular buildings and this demonstrates a pattern of reductions compared to current benchmarks that gives us confidence that there are pathways to take to lower emissions in the sector.

One Goal, Many Actions

Renovate, Renew, Rehabilitate

It is often the case that the most sustainable building, is one that already exists.

We believe that a holistic approach to renovation is crucial.

Understanding the enhancement of homes’ adaptability, accessibility, and long-term performance is crucial to ensure that investments in improving the building envelope and energy efficiency are worthwhile.

HTA’s history includes innovative examples of repurposing, renovating and radical refurbishment of quality housing stock, listed buildings and conversions of buildings with formerly non-residential uses. In Altered Estates 2, we put forward an appraisal process, whereby existing homes in the right location with good transport are evaluated and could be worth investing in, refurbished and retained.

Our recent renovation projects include the radical remodelling of small studio flats at Sutton Estate, Nevern Square and Chelsea Court, transforming 100 year old housing into new, sustainable homes which will last another 100 years. The re-enveloping and new ground level entrances at 3 high rise blocks at Wensely Road, set in new, enriched and bio-diverse landscape, are another example of our holistic approach to sustainable renovation of post-war homes.

Modern Methods of Construction

We are market leaders in the design of housing delivered using offsite construction, based on two decades of focused research, investigation and practice. We are enthusiastic exponents of the potential for offsite manufacture to deliver higher performing buildings, with high quality construction standards, delivered far more rapidly and more cost effectively. Options for delivering these benefits in each individual circumstance are considered at the very beginning of the project lifecycle to ensure optimal solutions. We are experienced at all stages from feasibility and site acquisition to completion and feedback.

In 2020, two HTA Partners, Simon Bayliss and Rory Bergin, authored the Modular Housing Handbook, published by RIBA Publishing.

Post Occupancy Evaluation

Incorporating post occupancy evaluation (POE) into our practice reinforces our commitment to continuous improvement and accountability. Central to our proposal is an ambition to work with clients to create an effective feedback loop which will test how well our joint effort succeeds in achieving the targets identified. We believe by listening to the users of our buildings and learning from their experiences is fundamental to creating spaces that are not only beautiful and functional but also sustainable and enriching for all.

Our aim is to create a structure enabling information, data and learning to be shared between the practices, participating developer clients and professional organisations, particularly the RIBA. We revisit all of our projects and more recently, where possible, have arrange with our clients to stay in our buildings ourselves to better understand how the buildings work and how residents interact with it. This gives us powerful feedback and enables us to design the next projects more confidently. We share this learning in detail with clients and across our practice, and promote the principles more widely externally.