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Three Chamberlain Square deemed first building in Birmingham to achieve NABERS UK 5* rating

UK and Europe 07 November 2023

The NABERS UK 5* Design Reviewed Target Rating for Three Chamberlain Square is the first in the West Midlands. Setting a new benchmark for the region, the accreditation recognises the design focus on energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption. Cundall has supported MEPC with the NABERS UK assessments as well as providing multi-disciplinary design input.

Based on a well-established Australian model, NABERS UK is a new system for rating the energy efficiency of commercial buildings and is fast becoming the industry standard for assessing operational energy use across the full life of buildings.

Starting from a clear client brief, the Cundall team has led the development of engineering design solutions to ensure the achievement of net zero carbon operational energy intensity targets is met. There was also consideration of materials and construction approaches used to minimise the embodied carbon of the development. The design approach promoted by Cundall to achieve the operational energy targets has included high efficiency building fabric, optimised façade design, a low air permeability envelope, openable windows for cooling and natural ventilation, high efficiency mechanical services and optimised internal gains.

Michael Gosling, Partner and project lead, commented:

“The NABERS UK process has been a key part of MEPC’s brief from the outset. We created a detailed digital model of the building and its systems. This allowed us to assess the impact of key design decisions at the early stages and, by the process of continual updates, ensure that the completed building can deliver on its ambitious energy consumption targets in use.

Obtaining a NABERS UK Design for Performance rating is challenging and requires close co-ordination and collaboration across the design team with key decisions being made early in the design process. The process embeds a proactive approach to the delivery of a new building ensuring a commitment to ongoing monitoring, validation and improvement, which will result in long-term energy savings and carbon reductions for both landlords and occupiers.”

Timothy Newcombe, Senior mechanical engineer and project NABERS lead commented:

“We led the project team through the design and procurement of the building to ensure a holistic approach with low energy usage. However, this was only part of the puzzle, a large proportion of the operational energy usage is dictated by how the building is operated, not by how it is designed. We developed a tailor made ‘Rating Achievement Plan’ to ensure that the design team, contractor and operator are all aligned with how to use the building in low energy operation.”

Alex Housden, development manager at Paradise development and asset managers, MEPC, said:

“Three Chamberlain Square is a game-changing building in many ways, one of them being its sustainability credentials and part in Paradise’s journey towards net zero. NABERS UK is helping us strive more smartly towards these goals by providing us with a cutting-edge performance tool that allows us to monitor and constantly improve our sustainability performance. It also underlines our commitment to and utilisation of a world-class standard against which we can benchmark our own progress as well as other similar buildings across the UK.”

Cundall has provided a full range of specialist consultancy services on this project, including building services, civil, structural, geotechnical, fire engineering, acoustics, vertical transportation, smart building consultancy, whole life carbon assessment and sustainability.