Working with YMCA, Greengage undertook a sustainability review of their planned development in Wimbledon town centre, focusing on Circular Economy principles to produce a Circular Economy Statement in support of the planning application. (Since the adoption of the New London Plan (2021) in March, The Greater London Authority (GLA) now require a Circular Economy statement to be submitted for all referable developments.)

The proposal was to demolish the existing YMCA building and erect a multi-use building providing hostel rooms, residential space, a gym and two commercial spaces.

During the design stage of the project, Greengage hosted an initial Circular Economy workshop with the design team where Circular Economy principles were discussed. Through this engagement, we were able to determine the most suitable methods for this project, for example embedding principles early in the design to create the most effective approach throughout construction and the end of life of the building.

The key Circular Economy principles adopted in the design, construction and end of life stages for the building included the following:

  • Designing for longevity, to reduce the need for material replacement;
  • Responsible material selection, including recycled materials in order to reduce raw material extraction;
  • Maximise the reuse of construction and demolition waste;
  • Utilise off-site manufacturing for many building elements;
  • Standardise building elements, to improve construction efficiency;
  • Reduce water, energy and heat consumption during operation;
  • Create adaptable spaces for potential future changes in use e.g. flats;
  • Future proofing services to be suitable for future increase in temperatures;
  • Designing out construction, demolition and municipal waste.

Through adopting the measures detailed above, the project has been able to reduce material usage during construction and wastage throughout the life cycle of the building.

Whilst maximising reuse and recyclability of materials it creates a building which is designed for longevity and adaptability. These methods culminate to alleviate the environmental burden of the building and the materials used within it.

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