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Circular Twin

Ground-breaking digital twinning project to demonstrate the feasibility of net zero.
Rendered proposal for the building, a section view to show interior and exterior designs against a blue sky


United Kingdom




HLM Architects

Lungfish Architects

This landmark study utilised digital twinning, BIM and UK contemporary school design to rework an already completed school so each decision and design choice favoured a lower carbon outcome. The objective of the research project was to demonstrate that the whole life cost of a net zero school is no greater than the whole life cost of the existing built asset.

In comparison to the original school – built in 2017 - Circular Twin achieved:

  • 67% reduction in whole life carbon
  • 72% reduction in upfront embodied carbon (48% reduction in lifecycle embodied carbon - achieving RIBA 2030 and LETI 2030 embodied carbon targets)
  • 52% reduction in annual energy consumption
  • 39% reduction in forest consumption
  • CAPEX delivered within standard budgetary parameters with multiple paybacks over asset lifetime

Louise Townsend, Director of Social Value and Sustainability at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “This initiative has uncovered a revelation - that low carbon construction is inhibited by our industry’s reliance on traditional design and procurement approaches. The outcomes show that achieving low carbon buildings is possible today.”

Key fact

Circular Twin is an industry first, producing hard data, accessible costs and a credible template for a new approach to the built environment.


Key fact

The team comprised SCAPE, Morgan Sindall, HLM and Lungfish architects and Cundall.


Key fact

Capital and operation costs were evaluated during the study, but carbon was the key driver.


Peter Hazzard in beige suit and acoustics feature background

Peter Hazzard


View bio

Circular Twin addresses many of the key challenges we see when designing sustainable schools.



AJ100 Sustainability Initiative of the Year 2022

Circular Twin Research and Development Project



Structural Engineering Awards