Sustainable Spaces - March 2024

Welcome to Sustainable Spaces, a series where we deep dive into the world of sustainable design and build. At Ambit, we strive to be at the forefront of responsible and innovative building practices, paving the way for an eco-friendly future. We are committed to transparency and the education of others. By sharing our knowledge, we hope to further the creation of a more sustainable built environment.

This month, Cormac Garvey, our Assistant Technical Services Manager, and Junior Designer Sophie Fowler have shared their top three recommendations.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Air source heat pumps (ASHPs), also known as condensers, are designed to extract heat from the outdoor air and use it to provide warmth for heating and hot water systems in buildings. These units are highly efficient even in frigid temperatures below -4 degrees. By utilising the heat from the surrounding air, ASHPs can provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems.

Key Attributes:

  • Sustainable – Heat pumps are a long-term solution and help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, making them a sustainable option.
  • Cost-efficient – Use a small amount of electricity to capture air and convert it into heat.
  • Low-level noise – ASHP has a low noise level, making them ideal for offices.

ASHPs are a very underappreciated and underused bit of plant in the construction industry. I predict we will be seeing condenser units more commonly used in commercial projects over the UK in the future,” says Cormac. 

Foresso – Recycled Surfaces

Meet Foresso, a UK-based company specialising in surfaces made from recycled materials and manufactured using on-site solar energy. Their commitment to sustainable practices includes repurposing offcuts and limiting disposable plastic to essential PPE. Their surfaces are crafted from waste wood sourced from locally felled trees in Britain and hand-finished in Birmingham.

How is it made?

  • They only use offcut timers from city maintenance, local sawmills, or building sites.
  • Foresso add wood dust to their timber terrazzo for a subtle speckle, adding a touch of warmth. This technique results in a unique and captivating aesthetic and helps repurpose waste that may otherwise be overlooked.
  • Foresso uses a mix of minerals powders to give their water-based, non-toxic, and formaldehyde-free binder glue, coming from cement and plaster waste, a durable and matt finish.

Sophie celebrates Foresso UK-sourced materials, “utilising goods made in the UK is amazing, particularly when those goods recycle industrial waste. The cherry on the top is how easily it can be integrated into any space!

Solar Panels

Solar energy is a form of renewable energy. This means that it can be used repeatedly without ever running out. Solar panels can easily become a clean energy source to power your office by harnessing the sun's energy and converting it into electricity using photovoltaic cells.

Key Attributes:

  • There is no maintenance required.
  • Set-up costs are decreasing – which means the price of setting up your solar panels is more affordable than ever.
  • Made from earth-abundant materials – most solar panels are made from silicon and metal frames.
  • Highly reliable and no moving parts.

Solar panels are a great way of generating eco-friendly electricity and are becoming increasingly popular due to technological advances and declining prices. Universally used, due to their versatile nature to be installed on nearly any type of building, structure, road, bridge, and satellites,” Cormac says.