Designing net zero modular buildings across the UK

This article follows MBI’s Inside Modular podcast, where Stuart Cameron, co-founder of a UK-based design company SCMS Associates talks about designing net zero modular buildings in and around England ahead of London’s goal to be a net zero carbon city by 2030

This article was adapted from a recent episode of the Modular Building Institute’s “Inside Modular” podcast. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

“There’s a huge up-to-the-minute focus on housing here in the modular, both affordable and private,” Cameron said. “This is largely due to the shortage of both, which is not just unique to the UK, but a critical global issue.”

“I think it was up to you [World of Modular] conference in April where someone mentioned there was a 7 million housing deficit in the United States alone, which kind of blows my mind,” he continued.

“Where I think we differ from the United States is that we are very driven by sustainability and net zero as a primary goal. Rather than just delivering modular homes that are affordable to buy, they are quick to We focus on reducing the amount of carbon, the amount of energy used to run the house, the operating costs for the occupants.

“And it’s not just with high-performance fabrics or poor airtightness, but also the use of low-carbon technologies, such as air-source heat pumps, photovoltaics, LED lighting , battery storage etc etc etc. From there we have a number of modular net zero programs here in London which exceed the 100% carbon reduction target this is a zero requirement net.

How did sustainable design become a goal for SCMS?

“Sustainability is actually one of our core values ​​as a company,” Cameron said. “We recognize that as licensed engineers we have a responsibility to engage and educate not only our customers, but also our colleagues, families, friends, and hope that with the use of our knowledge, effectively and easily in execution and performance, we will enact change globally.

“Additionally, by having our headquarters in London, which is probably one of the most sustainable cities in the world and one step ahead of anywhere else in the UK in terms of goals and requirements, we are always challenged to be ahead. thoughtful and measured and what we can achieve in a sustainable way.

SCMS’ recent net zero modular projects

Cameron also talked about some of the recent net zero modular projects that SCMS has contributed to.

“In one particular case,” he said, “we deployed 2,000 targeted modular homes here, across many sites. Our first priority was that every program had to achieve net zero. It is a mixture of individual houses and apartment buildings. The main reason behind this is that the end user customer is a local authority in the London Borough of Greenwich, and part of the Greater London Authority, which sets the targets to achieve net zero.

“You have to see them do it themselves and just put a requirement on private developers. So we worked with many off-site module manufacturers and published a standardized approach that was maintained across all schematics. »

“Another place where we really had to think outside the box,” Cameron continued, “is a modular hotel project, completely off-grid and not easily accessible from the mainland. It’s on an island in the middle of the Sea of So the challenge was not just how much carbon we could reduce, but how to run the building without the need for big, dirty diesel generators, in the absence of a working power grid.

“We are also three years into a delivery framework, which is I think 10 years expandable to 13 for the Royal Borough of Greenwich here in London, which at the moment is the largest modular affordable housing scheme in the UK , where we have obtained several programs at different stages, whether it is design, construction or delivery.

“On the horizon, we have several projects that we hope to get the green light, such as a modular hotel that we hope to collaborate on with another member of the Modular Building Institute in Vancouver, Canada. We also hope to get involved in our first modular project in California, USA, which is also a hotel project.

To listen to Stuart Cameron’s full interview and more, tune in to Inside Modular: the commercial modular construction podcastan exclusive podcast from the Modular Building Institute.

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