2011 Winners, and this years Sponsors and Speaker.


2011 Winners

Hertford Regional College

Design Excellence

Architect: Bond Bryan Architects Ltd.

HertfordshireRegionalCollege provides further and higher education to students from across Hertfordshire, West Essex and North London, the sites are split between Broxbourne and Ware.

The Broxbourne campus was opened in 2011 and was designed to transform its image providing a high quality learning environment for both the local and wider community. The building provides a welcoming centre to showcase the learning activities within the campus.

The new building was completed with a combination of refurbishment to the existing building and new additions such as the motor vehicle workshop and construction skills workshop.

The building provides a landmark for the community with a large glazed façade and entrance hall showing off the building as a safe and accessible learning environment for everyone. The main atrium is adjoined by two wings which angle out from the main entrance. The design has created a learning destination with a strong architectural statement. The building maximises the use of natural daylight and uses high quality materials to ensure low energy and lifecycle costs.


University of Hertfordshire Law Court, Hatfield

Most Sustainable Construction

Architect: RMJM

The University of Hertfordshire Law Court in Hatfield considered sustainability a key factor of the design and construction of the building from the start focusing on environmental and commercial efficiency. The result has been a BREEAM rating of ‘A’ for energy efficiency.

The University of Hertfordshire’s carbon management plan commits the university to reducing carbon emissions by 43% by 2020. The construction of the Law Court was included in the plan. The total carbon reduction of 25.6% of the regulated emissions was achieved through the use of low and zero carbon technologies. The law school consumes 50% less of the carbon than the previous building it replaced. The building benefits from a combined heat and power plant that reduces energy use by 30% compared to heat only boilers. A roof mounted photovoltaic panel array which is predicted to generate 4,420 kWh of electricity saving approximately 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The building has been awarded with an EPC rating above that required for a BREEAM excellent rating. The water assessment of the building’s BREEAM assessment scored 100% through measures including WC flushing capacity and a rainwater harvesting system which collects roof run for WC flushing. The building also incorporated an E-Stack system of ventilation for the building. This system uses very little energy compared to conventional methods of cooling and ventilating buildings and delivers this at a significantly reduced cost.

Other design aspects were included to achieve the BREEAM excellenct rating such as the use of green concrete in the concrete mix saving 35% when compared to standard concrete. This saved the equivalent of 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The site also incorporated Sustainable Drainage Systems to reduce peak flows to green field run off rates.


Cotney Croft and Peartree Way Social Housing Scheme

Outstanding Commitment to Adapt to a Changing Climate

Architect: Baily Garner LLP

The aim of the development of two derelict sites, Cotney Croft and Peartree Way was to create low carbon housing for social rent. The eight houses were designed to enable the residents to live a sustainable lifestyle and benefit from reduced energy bills.

The houses have been designed to the highest standards of sustainable design and construction. The project has been successful with one of the homes achieving a Code Level 6 in the Code for Sustainable Homes. All the other houses achieved a Code Level 5.

Each house has a monopitch roof that faces south and incorporates solar photovoltaic roof tiles. The electricity generated will meet the majority of the residents needs. Each house has a touch screen monitor which enables residents to monitor energy generation and consumption in their homes.

The homes comply with the Lifetime Homes Standards and are highly airtight. They also feature a heat recovery system whereby heat is transferred from the extracted air to the incoming fresh air.

The properties have a Sustainable Drainage System (SUDS) with underground rainwater harvesting tanks to flush WCs and all materials were responsibly sourced and wherever possible, were recycled during construction. 

These houses enable families to lead sustainable lifestyles, whilst providing a body of research on energy production and use from the photovoltaic tiles. 



The keynote speaker for the 2013 Awards ceremony has now been confirmed. Munish Datta, Head of Property Plan A at Marks and Spencer’s leads on the retailer’s strategy for embedding sustainable design into all new stores and retrofitting their existing stores to improve their environmental performance. Delegates at the 2013 Awards can look forward to a fascinating talk on the industry leading work Munish and Mark and Spencer’s are doing and future challenges and opportunities.



We have already confirmed two sponsors for the event.

The Most Sustainable Construction award will be sponsored by The University of Hertfordshire. The Law Court at the Hatfield campus won the award for the Most Sustainable Construction in 2011 and this year they are looking to give something back to the awards scheme. 

The Retrofit award will be sponsored by Weber Saint-Gobain. A Formulator and manufacturer of building materials for the facade, construction mortars, flooring systems and tile fixing markets, Weber’s established product range includes monocouche renders, external wall insulation systems, tile adhesives/grouts, levelling compounds and specialist construction products.








New Retrofit for the Future Award

The 2013 Building Futures Awards sees the introduction of the new Retrofit for the Future award category, kindly sponsored by Saint-Gobain Weber Ltd.


The introduction of this new award signals the importance of improving Hertfordshire’s existing building stock and recognises the steps already taken by many across the county to improve properties so they are more comfortable and enjoyable places to be and have improved environmental credentials .


The Retrofit for the Future award will be given to the project that has shown to improve the quality and environmental performance of the building and has extended the life of the building. The award is open to residential and non-residential buildings as well as other elements of the built environment, for example public open space improvement projects.


If you want to shout about a project that has improved the quality of life of occupants, enhanced its surroundings and contribution to place, reduced its environmental footprint, or has enabled the demands of a changing climate to met then simply visit www.hertslink.org/buildingfutures, and download and fill out the application form.


The deadline for entries is 27 September 2013 so don’t prevaricate, just nominate!

Imprimer       2013 logo web

Nominations open for Building Futures Awards 2013

Nominations are now open for the 2013 Building Futures Awards.

 2013 logo web

You can download the Application Pack here. Remember that the Nominations close 27 September so don’t leave it too late.


We are looking for projects that have been completed between 16 September 2011 and 16 September 2013. If you’ve worked on a project, or know of a building or development in your area that you would like to nominate, this is a great opportunity to give your project the recognition it deserves.


The application pack includes all of the information you will need to submit your entry, including full judging criteria, details of the new Retrofit for the Future award category, as well as the judges’ biographies. The application pack is easy to use and quick to fill out – all you need to do is give a description of the scheme and explain how the project meets the judging criteria.


Visit the Building Futures website now to download the application pack and find out more on the Awards – www.hertslink.org/buildinfutures.

History of the Spirella Building

Some history on the venue for the 2013 Building Futures Awards

The Spirella Building was created for the Spirella Corset Company after the American entrepreneur William Wallace Kincaid invented a flexible corset for his wife.
In 1912, the architect Cecil Hignett was appointed to construct the Spirella Building in Letchworth. This was seen as an appropriate place to make an innovative product as the town which was the first of its kind was considered a modern and revolutionary form of town planning and design. The design of the building reflects the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. The First World War delayed construction however the building was completed in 1920 and eventually gained 2000 workers.
Spirella grew a reputation for excellent workers privileges including baths and showers, gymnastics classes, a library, free eye tests and bicycle repairs. This was years ahead of its time and revolutionised the relationship between the workforce and the company. There was however a ban on alcohol which was not revoked until 1958.
The springy design of the Spirella corsets was more flexible and much easier to tighten; before, the inflexible designs would often break leading to embarrassing situations such as the one suffered by the wife of the inventor who demanded that he do something about it.
The corsets soon had a reputation and with the help of the dedicated team of sales women Spirella become a thriving business. The cost of a made to measure corset was typically one or two week’s wages however there was demand for the products and the business thrived.
After the war, the factory continued making corsets until the 1950s when the demand for corsets declined. This was due to the increasing use of synthetic fabrics and changing fashions. The company attempted to reverse the decline by making lingerie however the decline continued into the 1960s and 70s.
On 7 September 1979, the Spirella building was awarded Grade II* listed status reserved for buildings of historical and architectural significance. The building fell into disrepair and closed in the 80’s.
In 1995, the Spirella building was acquired by the Letchworth Garden City foundation and restoration began two years later at a cost of £11 million. In 1999, the building was reopened.
The businesses that now operate in the building are high tech industries, which is appropriate for the renewed purpose the building has. There is 80,000 sq ft of office space which accommodates over 20 businesses.

Allowable solutions consultation

DCLG are consulting on a framework for allowable solutions as part of the move toward zero carbon in 2016.

Not too many surprises on the four ways they suggest zero carbon can be met. The proposals are to
allow housebuilders to meet the zero carbon target by:

•Undertaking 100% carbon abatement on site or through connected measures, such as a heat network
•Meeting carbon reductions through off-site actions such as improving other existing buildings, renewable heat or energy schemes, or by building to a higher standard than current Part L requirements
•Using a third party allowable solutions provider to deliver carbon abatement measures for them. In most cases the third party body would be a private sector organisation, but local authorities might also offer such a service
•Paying into a fund that invests in projects that will deliver carbon abatement on their behalf. The payment would be based on a fixed price, which would be subject to review from time to time.

Nothing earth shattering, but certainly food for thought. The most surprising aspect may be the proposal to establish a national fund for the collection of allowable solutions payments, as opposed to developers paying into a local fund. I’m sure a number of LPAs will be skeptical of plans to recycle money to local areas from a national pot of money given the paucity of information on how funding would be allocated, but let’s wait and see.

Awards back for 2013

Ahead of nominations opening next week, we thought some background on the awards would be in order.

The Building Futures Awards are run biennially, with 2013 being the third awards year for the Building Futures Partnership. The awards are all about recognising and celebrating design excellence, innovation and creativity across all types of development in Hertfordshire. The 2009 and 2011 awards were great successes and highlighted the quality and creativity being delivered across the county. The awards have even led to some of the past winners delivering further innovation, whether it is in the form of a new vision for a university campus or setting up a new sustainability enterprise.

This year will see the addition of an important new award category – Retrofit for the Future – to reflect the importance the existing built form plays in achieving sustainable urban environments. The new category will sit alongside the three traditional award categories: Most Sustainable Construction, Design Excellence, and Outstanding Commitment to Adapt to a Changing Climate.

We’re also thrilled to welcome two new experts to the judging panel for the 2013 awards – John Pratley of sustainableBYdesign, and Peter Studdert of private practice. John has over 20 years experience creating and delivering sustainable architecture and master planning a number of award winning projects, whilst Peter is a town planner with over 35 years experience in town planning in local government and now runs his own practice offering planning, urban design and enabling services. They will join our head judges Barry Shaw MBE and Dr. David Strong who will be returning as judges from previous awards.

For more information on the awards and our other projects and resources, visit the Building Futures website.