FBM are a Passivhaus practice with over 25 years’ experience in the design and construction of low-energy, sustainable buildings. We have expert knowledge in the retrofit of post-war residential and education buildings and designed one of the top four Retrofit for the Future houses, achieving an 80% energy reduction. We transform large university buildings using innovative sustainable measures that radically improve the learning environment and have also designed Code Level 5 & 6 houses and BREEAM Excellent offices. We always look to adopt fabric-first measures that will deliver excellent results without the need for complex controls or high maintenance.
In repurposing the Cockcroft Building at the University of Brighton, one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK, we transformed a building designed for the Atomic Age into a research environment for the Information Age. An innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structural design has unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500 m² building and enhanced this with the latest technology, including an aquifer thermal energy store. These measures are predicted to achieve a 57% reduction in energy demand, 59% reduction in CO² emissions and fuel savings of £82,000 each year.
This highly ambitious project aimed to refurbish a pre-cast concrete panel terrace house in the Thamesmead Estate, South-East London. The team created an innovative, robust and replicable refurbishment solution, which cut 80% of the dwellings carbon emissions, achieving high levels of comfort at attractive costs. The property was transformed from a four bedroom hard-to-treat property into a six bedroom super-insulated home supporting a 7-person family. The scheme includes external cladding, triple glazing and high levels of air tightness. Fresh air is provided by a mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR). Ten photovoltaic (PV) panels and a vacuum tube collector on the roof provide renewable electricity and water heating. A gas boiler is provided to meet the peak heating load. A key innovation is a highly-insulated solar-air heater containing a super-insulating aerogel cover integrated into the external insulation on the south facade that pre-heats the MVHR intake air.
Our design radically reduces energy use in a building type that is renowned for high consumption. The building incorporates the following sustainable features:
The concrete frame has been left exposed to provide accessible thermal mass. This provides ‘peak-lopping’ of low winter and high summer temperatures.
U-values to walls, floor, roof and glazing all exceed U-value minimum standards. A stringent air-permeability target was set at 70% better than Building Regulations.
Heating is provided via the University’s district heating network – a low-carbon heat source, and the building includes a 145m2 PV array on the roof. The main ventilation systems all include heat recovery provision and the lighting is 100% LED with intelligent control systems.
There are 55 fume cupboards in the building and they are a notorious source of wasted energy. We worked closely with specialists to develop more efficient cupboards that have smaller sashes and reduced face velocities.