Durris depot reflects the future of low carbon workplace builds

Designing a low carbon office for Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has been a hugely rewarding experience for Murray Fleming, Bell Ingram Design’s senior architect.

He wanted to create an exemplar for his clients, who are strongly focused on sustainability as they strive to become a greener organisation and ultimately reach their Net Zero goal.

The build, which is located at FLS’s Durris Depot near Banchory, provided the opportunity to deliver an optimised workplace, using sustainable materials and minimising energy consumption.

Murray Fleming says: “Forestry and Land Scotland’s commitment to making its infrastructure more sustainable meant it was extremely important for BID to deliver a sustainable and inclusive workplace which embedded our client’s green principles in its design.

“In many ways Durris offers a glimpse into the future of workplace construction. Unfortunately, builds like this are still the exception, but by highlighting the benefits of using sustainable materials, making renewable energy choices and incorporating smarter working principals, we hope to encourage others in the sector to consider such techniques.”

A flexible design has enabled Bell Ingram Design to embrace the Civil Service’s ‘smarter working’ principles of using technology, property and leadership to give workers more flexibility over how, when and where they work.

There are no allocated desks or fixed computers, instead the office accommodation at Durris allows for quick laptop connection at any workstation by any user. To facilitate a ‘clear desk’ policy, lockers are provided for personal staff belongings. In addition, all desks are ‘rise and fall’ allowing a personalised set-up from sitting to standing.

Elsewhere, breakout areas are provided for casual one-to-one meetings and ‘touch down’ short period use, and an external terrace further extends the flexibility of the working environment.

A key element in the build was the choice of materials. Sustainably sourced larch cladding was the low energy choice for the timber exterior, while castor-oil-based open cell spray insulation provides exceptional air tightness.

Murray used aluminium clad timber windows and doors which combined the low embodied energy of timber and the long-term performance of aluminium with its ability to recycle at the end of the building’s life. Aluminium profile sheeting was used on the roof as well, again for its long term performance and recycling credentials.

To minimise energy consumption, the orientation and glazing were designed to maximise passive solar energy gains, with external louvres providing protection from summer overheating. Summer cooling is enhanced by the inclusion of sliding doors to the staff room and main office. All lighting is LED although the high levels of daylighting reduces the need for artificial lighting.

Heating is provided by an air source pump also serving water based underfloor heating. With 100% renewable electricity available this approach allows the building to operate with a fully renewable energy source.

Along with the construction of the new building, the brief also included extensive upgrades to the external yard areas to provide additional parking and improvements to the day-to-day operation of the depot.

If you are considering a building project of any size, Bell Ingram Design is on hand to provide the expert advice to help you achieve your goals. Email design@bellingram.co.uk

Article posted on 10/02/2022

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