Mainer Associates and Sustainable Commuting

As some of you may be aware, there are currently exciting times ahead for Mainer Associates with the development of a new personalised office space for our growing company.

In preparation for the move, the team wanted to take the opportunity to look at our own operations and ensure sustainable principles were at the core of our new commutes.

The company has invested in an electric vehicle for employees to use for travelling to and from work and to attend meetings within the local Manchester area. The vehicle has zero emissions at the point of use and offers and ideal mode of transportation for Mainer Associates employees.

Mainer Associates feel it is important employees can travel to work with ease and it was clear car travel was going to be the easiest method of transport to travel to the new office. However, the embodied impact of our operations was going to significantly increase – an electric vehicle was an easy choice!

The electric vehicle market has seen continued growth in recent years with charging infrastructure also becoming increasingly widespread throughout UK cities. In 2017 sales of electric vehicles passed the million mark, globally (Mckinsey).

In the UK, the government is now offering grants to those wanting to purchase a new low-emission vehicle to help incentivise uptake in sustainable transport. It’s important to provide consumers with opportunities to make the shift away transportation based on fossil fuels, especially for single-person journeys. For most consumers, price is the key influencer, and in a market where prices on new electric cars are notoriously high, this is a positive step.

Check out information on the governments’ grants here.

Whilst anyone can get a private charging point installed at their home, the UK also has a promising public network of electric chargers. These vary between fast and rapid charger types and most are free! Others charge per kWh used. The UK has invested 400million into the charging infrastructure investment fund and aims to support businesses to build charging points, promote jobs in the industry and encourage private ownership of electric vehicles, giving consumers confidence in the practicalities of owning an electric car.

Mainer Associates currently utilise a private charge point at our new office and the Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle (GMEV) charging network. The GMEV charge points are quick and easy to use. With the ‘charge your car’ mobile app you can see which charge points in your local area are available. You simply plug in your car and use your RFiD card to start charging!

Private Charge Point

Private Charge Point


Public Charge Point - GMEV Network

Public Charge Point – GMEV Network

The GMEV network is a great asset to the city in moving towards a low-carbon economy. In 2018, Transport for Greater Manchester were granted a further £3million for an additional 48 dual bay rapid charging points. This a fantastic move for the city and demonstrates the local government is improving EV infrastructure and incentivising up-take of low-emission transport.


Car Share

Mainer Associates regularly work on developments within large-scale business parks. The asset managers of these business parks often implement car share programmes for tenants and employees to use via online registration.

We have applied these initiatives to our own commuting and travel to and from the new office. Our employees currently practice car shares throughout the week meaning the environmental and social benefits of a zero emissions vehicle are distributed throughout the company.


Logotype Stacked Reverse

Mainer Associates Deliver CPD Session on BREEAM 2018

Download our CPD Flyer

Mainer Associates are now delivering CPD sessions for our clients and project teams, past and present, on the new BREEAM 2018 UK New Construction Scheme. The new scheme was released in March earlier this year and since its publication, Mainer Associates have reviewed the major changes from the 2014 version.

Mainer Associates always strive to improve our BREEAM service delivery, getting up to speed with the new guide has of course been a vital part to this! We’re excited to be registering new projects as 2018 assessments and delivering what we feel, is a bespoke service.

We aim to fully engage with our project teams throughout the whole assessment process, from pre-assessment to post-construction certification. Our BREEAM workshops tackle specific issues with relevant team members and aim to deliver a smooth certification process. To continue delivering BREEAM assessments with the same expertise and professionalism under the new scheme, Mainer Associates have identified high-level and detailed changes to prepare ourselves, and you, for the new 2018 standards.

A CPD Session Tailored to You

Mainer Associates can tailor the session to your specific role in a development. Whether you are a developer, contractor, architect, M&E engineer, ecologist or acoustician or anyone who has or will be involved in a BREEAM certified development, we can make sure the information we discuss is what you need to equip your team for your next BREEAM project.

We recently delivered our BREEAM 2018 CPD to Wates at their Leeds City College development. Prior to the session we listened to what the Wates team wanted to gain from the CPD. We then delivered the update specific to their demands and outlined how the changes would impact their role during a BREEAM assessment in terms of time, work load, responsibility and cost.


High-Level Changes

During our CPD sessions we will initially take you through changes that we feel are most significant.

Ene 01 and Post-Occupancy Assessment

There’s now a strong emphasis from the BRE on monitoring, reporting and improving the actual operational performance of buildings to ensure BREEAM assets are truly sustainable. Ene 01: reduction of energy use and carbon emissions has seen significant changes to ensure developers acknowledge performance after handover. Credits are now available for detailed modelling of different post-occupancy scenarios. Design teams are then required to hold energy workshops to consider how these scenarios could influence the building design.

Under Ene01 the client can commit funds to a new post-occupancy assessment stage (POS). Monitoring and reporting on energy and water consumption compare actual performance against modelled scenarios, consumption targets and design intent.

The post-occupancy certification stage is an optional stage of assessment but provides a fantastic way for clients and facilities managers to identify areas of intense and inefficient performance.

POS provides opportunities to review energy and water targets, site ecology, occupant health and wellbeing and building commissioning. It alerts building owners to defects and opportunities to address performance gaps to maintain tenant and asset value.

Part L 2020

Changes to Part L are on the horizon and are expected to massively influence BREEAM standards and they way buildings are designed.

Part L 2020 is expected to make primary energy consumption the basis of energy performance assessments, illustrating a shift away from quantifying CO2 emissions. Architects and design teams will have to implement the ‘fabric-first’ approach and design efficient buildings from the start. They will have to enhance the performance of building components and materials prior to considering mechanical and renewable technologies.

This is a big change, the industry cannot solely rely on renewable energy generation and energy efficient technologies to make buildings perform efficiently.

Mat 01 Building Life Cycle Impacts

Mat 01 Environmental impacts from construction products – Building Life Cycle Assessments now requires design teams to carry out whole-building life cycle assessments (LCA) and different LCA options on the superstructure of the building during concept design.

This is a whole-sale change from BREEAM 2014 and will require more work and cost at an earlier RIBA stage to ensure credits are achieved.

Detailed changes

Once we have discussed the high-level changes we will take you through specific detailed changes, credit by credit.

This involves outlining new benchmarks, explaining new and re-structured issues, identifying changes to how credits are awarded, and confirming any new requirements that will impact your role in a development certified to BREEAM.

We can tailor the detailed changes, tackling the new requirements specific to you, depending on your role and responsibilities throughout a BREEAM assessment.

Contact – Arrange a Session

Would you like your team or employees to be aware of the new BREEAM 2018 requirements and get ahead of the game for your next BREEAM registered project?

Get in touch with the Mainer Associates team to organise a session!

Ben Wells:

No.3 Wellington Place Achieves BREEAM Excellent


The building

No.3 Wellington place is a Grade A commercial office building situated in the heart of Leeds City centre on Wellington Street. It is an important building in the Wellington Place business district, contributing significantly to districts urban aesthetic at the north-eastern entrance. It offers contemporary commercial office space for businesses to use, and prosper in.

Our work

Mainer Associates were contracted by our longstanding client MEPC to ensure the building achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating. Mainer have guided the client and project team throughout the development of No.3 Wellington Place from pre-assessment, design stage and post-construction to make sure the building achieved excellent environmental, social and economic performance standards and benchmarks. Doing this has allowed MEPC to realise the true value of their asset and offer a premium and sustainable built environment for their tenants.

Achieving Excellent

This project achieved credits across all BREEAM categories in Management, Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Waste, Land Use and Ecology, and Pollution.

Accomplishing an Excellent BREEAM rating is no easy task. It demands significant environmental benchmarks to be met. The project required rigorous efforts between the project team and our assessors at Mainer Associates to ensure this rating was achieved.

Mainer fully engaged with the client, contractor, architect and engineer to make sure an Excellent rating was always attainable from design stage to post-construction. When aiming for such a significant rating it is vital the project team do not miss out on credits that can be accomplished in the early stages of the development.

Here are some highlights from the No.3 Wellington Place development that contributed to a BREEAM Excellent building.


  • Intelligent PR controlled LED lighting systems with daylight sensing
  • Sophisticated building management systems and smart metering for monitoring energy usage
  • High performance solar control floor to ceiling glazing
  • Pre-cooling technology
  • Optimum life cycle energy efficiency with a 4 pipe coil system
  • Photovoltaic panels to provide 5% of the buildings energy supply
  • Electric vehicle charging points
  • Superb accessibility via public transport


  • Access to open space with a rooftop terrace
  • Smart design to maximise natural light and enhance occupant wellbeing
  • 24-hour access for occupants
  • Full disabled accessibility
  • Bicycle parking with maintenance stations
  • Cycling facilities, with showers and changing space
  • Proximity to public transport links
  • Thermal Comfort Measures


The client now has a fantastic contemporary building that has been built to a renowned sustainability standard, having positive affects on tenant value. With an emphasis also on low-carbon consumption and energy efficiency measures, the superb environmental performance of this building is matched by tangible cost-savings.


POURS FOR THOUGHT: How sustainable is your daily caffeine fix?

Coffee drinkers in the UK consume around 95 million cups of coffee a day at home, work and on-the-go. 80% of UK households buy instant coffee for home consumption (BCA).

Coffee culture in Britain has seen an astronomical rise in the last decade alongside new behaviours of brunching and ‘going out’ for breakfast. The recent rise has been vital for the resurgence of independents as consumers seek alternatives to the standard roasts of global café chains, complete with latte art from hipster baristas.

We are slowly but surely moving away from the British stereotype of tea drinking. A classic Builders’ brew is becoming harder to find. But what does this behavior change mean? What impacts does it have? 42 coffee beans are required for an espresso, but how do they end up being run through a coffee machine, or sat at the bottom of your favourite mug as a freeze-dried instant product?

As coffee lovers ourselves, the Mainer Associate team have brainstormed together to give you some ideas to ponder over the next time you’re eagerly anticipating your pre-work caffeine.

However you like your coffee, this is important!

The Beans

Most coffee beans consumed in the UK are produced in South America and where you, or the place of your daily coffee stop, get their coffee beans from is very important, right down to the specific farm! The decision is loaded with multiple environmental issues.

Coffee was traditionally grown under natural shaded canopy where farmers worked around current vegetation rather than removing it. The contemporary demand for coffee has seen this method be brushed aside for sun cultivation techniques. Farmers remove current vegetation to create monoculture plantations and use fertilisers to enhance yields, at the cost of bio diversity.

To make a sustainability conscious decision about the beans in your coffee you can make sure they are sourced from farms accredited to certification schemes. Fairtrade and Rain forest Alliance are the big two.

Fairtrade focus on the ethical aspects of coffee production, ensuring a fair price for farmers and investing in local communities.

Rain Forest Alliance ensure the growers are a certified Sustainable Agricultural Network, forbidding deforestation and championing methods to maintain ecosystems.

A third option is Soil Association certified coffee beans. This scheme ensures the beans are grown under organic conditions without the use of fertilisers.

Look out for these certification schemes the next time you buy coffee!

Ground Vs Freeze Dried 

80% of UK households purchase instant coffee for consumption in the home (BCA), but what processes are involved in getting the coffee in this form? – the process is certainly not instant!

All coffee beans are initially roasted between 150o c and 250o c depending on the type of roast buyers want.

For freeze dried coffee, manufacturers receive roasted coffee beans. From here, the beans undergo a range of treatments that involve energy intensive heating and cooling and consumption of water.

Extraction: the beans are ground and passed through pipes of heated and pressurized water.

Filtration and concentration: Coffee is treated to increase concentration. It is either separated with a centrifuge, removing water through evaporation, or freezing the water content and mechanically separating the coffee concentrate.

Recovery: During previous processes, aromas that are vital to flavor are lost. These can be captured and passed through the coffee with steam. Alternatively, oxygen is removed from the coffee extract by foaming other gases such as CO2 to preserve aromas.

Dehydration: The final process returns the coffee extract to a dry form. For spray drying, air is heated to around 250oc to remove the majority of water content. Freeze drying involves freezing the extract to -40oc and cutting the solid substance into pieces before grinding it into particles of appropriate size. They then experience a heat vacuum vaporising the ice. (madehow)

Finally, further aromas are then spray back on to the dried product.

Instant coffee is therefore hugely consumer-centric, it’s all about convenience for us. However, consider all these energy and water consuming steps in the process when you’re next making the family brews!

A top tip when drinking instant coffee at home – only boil the water you need. Small changes help make bigger ones.


The rise in the coffee consumption has also led to increased awareness in the waste produced from our new habits. Like a lot of industries, coffee is very linear. But, efforts from producers, sellers and consumers can turn coffee waste into a resource.

For those with coffee grinders in the home, spent coffee beans can be placed in green food bins or used in your own compost.

Even large companies are starting make the coffee industry more circular. Douwe Egberts use 33,000 tons of spent coffee grounds per year in the production of their instant products to fuel a biomass boiler that produces steam for the treatment processes (Veolia).

Also, with coffee, think plastic! Does your machine at home use plastic coffee pods? Or do you get your daily coffee on-the-go in a takeaway cup? Using a reusable ‘keep-cup’ is a fantastic way to completely remove this waste from your consumption and most high street chains give you money off! The UK throws away 2.5billion unrecyclable coffee cups a year (Environmental Audit Committee). Consumers have a critical role in changing this.


From Design to Operation – Mainer Associates Attend a BRE Academy Event Addressing the Performance Gap in Buildings.

In early September 2018 Mainer Associates attended the BRE Academy’s event on the performance gap in buildings. Operational building performance is a very important issue for developers and prospective tenants. The ability for built assets to perform to the intended design specifications and intended operational use is critical for two reasons.

Firstly, buildings need to be energy and operationally efficient to reduce costs and environmental impact. Secondly, the performance of a built asset helps create the environment tenants work in. It will enhance and maintain (or decrease!) tenant satisfaction/wellbeing in the workplace. As a result, tenants retain their staff, and developers retain their tenants, increasing their letting value and reputation.

The BRE’s event highlighted that built assets can experience a performance gap when compared to their design intent. Even when occupant satisfaction is at a good level, the actual operational efficiency of the building can still be significantly worse than intended. Research into the performance gap conducted by the BRE academy demonstrated a 200%-450% difference in operational performance from the buildings they sampled.

Why is this?

The presentations and attendees discussed this question and produced very interesting arguments:

  • Inadequate, generic, modelling at design stage
  • Insufficient handover of buildings to occupants and building managers
  • Lack of building maintenance and operational management
  • Inadequate monitoring of energy and water consumption
  • Designing for compliance, not use
  • Building in challenges during the construction process
  • Buildings are used/operated in ways that the asset was originally not designed for – particularly relevant to historical buildings.
  • Occupant Behaviors
  • Lack of collaboration between landlord and tenant
  • Little continuity of staff on development projects


These are all important points to consider when trying to address the performance gap. No two assets will be the same, and different influences on operational performance will change throughout a building’s life cycle.

Mitigation suggestions from the BRE event included improving energy modelling, ensuring that buildings are designed for actual use, and where possible, engaging tenants in the process.

Another suggestion to mitigate performance gaps is better management and monitoring, collating correct information and supplying it to the correct people and engaging them with the data through appropriate training.

The new BREEAM 2018 New Construction Manual aims to directly address some of these problems. The ‘reduction of energy use and carbon emissions’ issue has been restructured to offer 4 credits on the prediction of operational energy consumption. This involves design workshops focusing on operational performance, undertaking energy modelling during design and post-construction stage and carrying out risk assessments to highlight any significant design or technical risks that could impact performance.

In combination with this, BREEAM new construction 2018 has a post-occupancy certification stage. It confirms the process of monitoring and reporting on building performance once occupied and requires a BREEAM Assessor to report on actual energy consumption using energy models. It’s overall aim is to help design teams, facilities managers, occupants and building owners understand actual building performance to identify and rectify any deficiencies.


Please get in touch with Mainer Associates so we can assist with energy modelling and BREEAM objectives and help close the performance gap.


Spire Nottingham Achieves Very Good BREEAM Rating

Spire Nottingham is a hospital Located in Tollerton, South Nottingham near Nottingham City Airport offering a range of hospital services. The hospital will deliver a modern sophisticated environment for patients, providing oncology and endoscopy units.

The hospital is a redevelopment of a brownfield site sitting within several grade II listed buildings adjacent to a live runway that was previously used in the second world war. The design of the hospital was very important, ensuring that the aesthetic, design and layout were both sympathetic to the surrounding landscape and enhanced patient wellbeing. Building materials were used to complement the adjacent buildings. Another important aspect of the design were windows allowing patients a ‘view-out’ into the surrounding scenery.

The building was completed in 2017 and has recently been certified as a BREEAM Very Good building. Mainer Associates worked closely with Parker Wilson Consulting and the design team to ensure the asset was compliant with BREEAM standards throughout the course of the development.

Our BREEAM Assessors engaged with responsible team members at design stage and as a result, the development initially achieved a very good rating for design-stage certification. This alleviated a lot of unnecessary work and pressure from the project team at later stages of the development and construction phase. BREEAM Credits that are more practical and viable to gain in the early stages and contribute towards the rating were achieved.

Doing this puts any project in a good position to achieve the targeted certification at post-construction stage. Although it may sound obvious, for BREEAM assessments, starting at the start is critical.

Mainer Associates have enjoyed working alongside Parker Wilson Consulting as M&E Engineers, Morgan Sindall as the main contractor and Halliday Meacham as project Architects, on what is now a fantastic healthcare building.

Significant sustainability measures that were implemented on the project to help reduce the buildings environmental impact and achieve a very good rating included, selecting LED lighting, sustainable drainage systems, passive design measures and installation of photovoltaics and a heat recovery system.

The LED lighting helps the development maximise energy efficiency and with daylighting controls also installed, lighting is not used unnecessarily. The engineers also demonstrated a 15% reduction in the buildings cooling load as a result of passive design measures. This reduction reiterates the importance of committing to credits early in design stages. The combination of PV and heat recovery systems offer further operational energy reduction and provide more sustainable forms of energy production.

Overall, it has been a great project to be part and it is reassuring healthcare buildings are being built to exemplary sustainability standards.



Mainer Associates Welcomes New Graduate

As part of our growth and expansion Mainer Associate’s would like to introduce our new Graduate Sustainability Consultant, Dominic Wintie.

Dominic studied for a BA in Geography at the University of Manchester before staying on to complete his MSc in the same discipline. He tailored his studies and research projects to focus on cities, development and the key theories surrounding sustainability practice and governance. With an interest in development of urban landscapes and the sustainability of the built environment, Dom completed the BREEAM Associate course to broaden his professional knowledge on sustainability standards for the built environment.

The associate course was a fantastic way to gain a head start when looking for professional opportunities at Mainer Associates. It gave him initial insight and experience into the process of BREEAM assessments, which is a significant part of Mainer Associates’ work. Dominic initially conducted a part-time Internship, getting to know the team and getting to grips with the consultancy Mainer Associates conduct for their clients.

After completing the internship, Dominic was offered a Graduate Sustainability Consultant role. His role includes assisting the senior consultants in conducting environmental and BREEAM assessments, reviewing project information against the standards and criteria, updating online project platforms and helping to produce reports for project teams.

The addition of a graduate is a key to the on-going expansion of Mainer Associate as a sustainability consultancy. We are currently expanding into new areas of consultancy such as environmental-social-governance frameworks. We aim to be a leading multi-disciplinary environmental and sustainability consultancy with several employees trained in multiple areas of expertise. Appointing a new graduate gives us the opportunity to shape and train our workforce to the needs of the business, so important for the future aspirations of Mainer Associates and those of our clients.


Mainer Associates Achieve Gold Membership at Construction Line

What is Construction Line?

Construction line is an online platform that works to connect procurement, supply chain and environmental management companies that have completed PAS-91 questionnaires and mandatory health and safety accreditation. They collect and validate company information against accreditation schemes so that companies can minimise risk and improve performance when working with others in the industry.  

Using construction line and its accreditation schemes makes contracting work easier and smoother. It enables access to over 35,000 company profiles that have already completed pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQ) and offers the ability to advertise potential contracts. 

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Milton Park Hosts First Autonomous UK Vehicle Trials

Milton Park

Milton Park

Innovate UK fund autonomous vehicle trial

An exciting project will be launched at Milton Park in the UK after a successful bid to Innovate UK.

Read more ›

2017 Green University League Table Results

Manchester MetropolitanThere’s endless league tables in place which rank universities in a plethora of different categories, but the Green University League Tables take ethical and environmental factors into account when assessing universities, and the rankings of universities varies greatly due to this difference. In 2017’s results, you can see a large increase in the number of universities passing the assessments – a big change from previous years in which even Russel-Group universities found themselves failing.

This year has seen Manchester Metropolitan University take the lead as top of the first class universities. Scoring highly in its environmental policies and carbon management, the university is showing promising awareness towards the environment and its usage of potential harmful resources. Energy usage awareness is key in this assessment, and a first class university will consciously monitor this and promote environmentally aware consumption.

Sustainability Services

Waste and recycling is a major element of providing sustainability services and growth for any area. The universities that pass this league table’s assessments show innovative growth in waste disposal and management technologies, and keeping their students and employees eagerly informed through appropriate training and awareness.

The sustainability a university shows in this scoring system is of major importance to the students attending the university, and the staff involved in the establishment. It’s of paramount importance for a university to be taking part in socially responsible investing; this could include anything from investments into alternative energy sources or implementations of less impactful waste management. Sheffield Hallam University in 2016 showed a great example of this by introducing a new environmental standard for its campus, and invested in its environmental impacts campaign to reduce their carbon footprint and improve waste management.

Another important factor of assessment in the Green University League Tables is educating students on the importance of sustainability and awareness. First class universities showed proactive measures to educate students, with extra-curricular activities based around the need for sustainable development and how this can be achieved in different scenarios. An example of this can be found from the University of Liverpool, in which progress has been made in the past few years to reduce the volume of laser printer waste and energy usage in the IT departments – Information was given to the residents of the university informing them of facts they might not know regarding updates to their PC and leaving different devices on for extended periods of time.