Mainer Associates Go Zero Carbon
Mainer Associates have recently created a zero-carbon office space! As a sustainability consultancy, working to improve the environmental impact of the construction industry, it’s important we practice what we preach.
Our recent office move gave the Mainer team a fantastic opportunity to assess how we could improve our operational impacts. We looked at everything, from the carbon emissions associated with our office space and transport to the coffee we drink!
Using a combination of on-site renewables, energy efficiency strategies and meeting current building regulations for new construction on building fabric, Mainer Associates are now operating on a ‘carbon negative’ basis. Our solar PV array has resulted in an A+ EPC rating for our work space.
A carbon negative building is one that generates surplus energy to its own demand and exports the surplus back into the grid, further greening UK grid electricity.
Mainer Associates are a net exporter of zero carbon energy!
The PV array has a 2.36kW capacity and has already generated 60kWh in the first week since installation! That’s enough energy to power our entire office for 6 days! Or boil 600 kettles. Please also read our article on the coffee we drink here.
Energy production from the PV array is currently modelled at 159.8 kWh/annum/m2 of office space, with a negative building emission rate of -41.63kgCO2/m2 per year. In fact, the first 4 days have exceeded this generation as outlined above.
The installation of photovoltaics has proved a fantastic way to achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions, to the extent of gaining a positive net carbon figure. Another benefit has been the ability for Mainer Associates to implement decentralisation of energy generation and consumption.
Decentralised energy is a very topical area of sustainability discourse and has great potential as a strategy to bring about positive change in local, regional and national emission targets. It was an idea discussed amongst Mainer employees in relation to our electric company cars.
The car is zero emissions at the point of use, but as sustainability consultants we recognised we could never guarantee the fuel types used for public and private charging infrastructure are ‘clean’ or renewable. Decentralising our energy consumption using renewable photovoltaic technology has therefore reduced the company’s environmental impact even further. This is a great, small-scale, example of how decentralised energy can lead to truly sustainable consumption.
Check out our original article on sustainable commuting here.
Energy Efficiency and Building Regs
Achieving a carbon negative office space is not simply installing renewable technologies to offset emissions from a poorly insulated and underperforming building. Before the office move, we looked back over our previous blog posts on Part L 2020 and performance gaps to identify opportunities to act on current issues being discussed amongst industry professionals on the sustainability of built assets.
Reducing operational impacts through design involved specification energy efficient LED lighting and a gas fired high efficiency boiler. These efficiency measures mean less energy is consumed to satisfy the businesses’ operational demand.
The office space is also fully insulated to current, new construction, building regulations, helping the building to operate efficiently with reduced demand. The intention was to ensure the Mainer Associates office is at optimal operational performance.
Other sustainability Strategies
The Mainer Associates employees did not stop at energy consumption and carbon emissions. Here are a few other strategies implemented at the office:
- Zoned heating control system
- Natural ventilation
- All timber is FSC certified
- Recycling and organic waste facilities
Reducing plastic waste through our coffee addiction! – see our article on the impacts of coffee drinking here!