Redrow achieves BREEAM certification for the sustainable refurbishment of Blake Tower

5th June 2019

Redrow has achieved a BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment ‘Very Good’ rating for the redevelopment of the 17-storey iconic Blake Tower. The Grade II listed tower block forms part of London's Brutalist Barbican Estate and was built in 1968 by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who also designed the Barbican Estate in the 1950s.

The re-use and adaptation of an existing building contributes to the sustainability and regeneration of urban communities on many levels. However, improving the environmental performance of an existing building is a great challenge due to specific features that come inherited with the building, for example the structure, fabric, location and orientation. If the existing building is formally listed or located in a conservation area, it is necessary to respect and preserve the layout and external appearance of the building. 

Achieving a BREEAM certification for a refurbishment project is always more difficult compared to a new build project due to limitations on the design options and the specific requirements of a listed status. In addition, refurbishment projects typically achieve lower BREEAM ratings than new build projects as fewer credits can be targeted. The former Barbican YMCA building is now transformed into 74 apartments with few changes only allowed to its listed façade and to the interval concrete features due to its Grade II listed status. 

Some of the key sustainability features of Blake Tower are:

- Provision of a home user guide so that the home owners or tenants can understand how to operate their apartment efficiently and effectively

- Considerate constructor’s scheme score of 42

- Advance ventilation credits for the fitting of mechanical ventilation systems in each home, which means they remain airtight while ensuring the circulation of fresh air

- The final assessment of the building’s energy use (SAP score) demonstrated an improvement of 17 per cent

- Provision of energy efficient white goods

- All specified lighting is LED

- Provision of adequate and secure cycle storage facilities, thus reducing the need for short car journeys

- Installation of water efficient fittings that resulted in a predicted use of 118 litres per person, per day, which is significantly below the average use of 142 litres

- Consideration of the environmental impact of materials by using responsibly sourced materials and insulation and responsibly sourced site timber

- Credits were achieved for the provision of recycling facilities, for having a site waste management plan in place and for achieving good practice waste benchmarks

- A flood risk assessment was carried out confirming that the assessed building is located within a low flood risk zone

The BREEAM certification is an impressive credential for the achievement of Blake Tower’s sustainable refurbishment and Redrow is proud of the project team’s commitment to key sustainability principles such as the circular economy, energy and water efficiency and responsible sourcing of materials.