At Cyfarthfa Retail Park in Merthyr Tydfil, Hammerson and B&Q partnered to create an Eco Learning Store. It is one of the first projects in the UK to feature a Transpired Solar Collector system, which harvests the sun’s heat to warm the store’s interior, cutting energy bills and CO2 emissions. Other sustainability measures include rainwater harvesting, green roofs, low carbon materials and low energy lighting. The store presents a highly sustainable blueprint for retail parks and demonstrates the environmental and cost savings that can be achieved by owners and occupiers working together.
Lower operational costs
Reduced CO2 emissions
Energy Performance Certificate B rating
Property Week Sustainability Achievement Award 2015
B&Q, which operates 350 stores in the UK, is part of Kingfisher plc. Through its One Planet sustainability programme, B&Q has been cutting carbon, saving water, reducing waste and sourcing sustainable timber since 2007. Hammerson’s sustainability framework, Positive Places, aims to create retail destinations that deliver positive impacts economically, socially and environmentally.
When B&Q approached Hammerson about an Eco Learning Store at Cyfarthfa Retail Park, Hammerson welcomed the opportunity to collaborate to build a large-scale, sustainable and low-energy store. Hammerson and B&Q agreed a set of best practice sustainability targets at an early stage of development. These targets go above and beyond local planning requirements and support Hammerson and B&Q’s sustainability objectives. Issues covered include energy efficiency, embodied carbon, recycled content, responsibly sourced timber, waste management, water consumption, biodiversity and climate change adaptation.
Fulfilling B&Q’s aspirations meant that the new store must:
The 4,200m2 Eco Learning Store, which opened in 2014, was designed by Powell Dobson Architects and built by BAM Construction. The store won the Property Week Sustainability Achievement Award in 2015, with Hammerson and B&Q praised by the judges for their collaborative and holistic approach.
Key sustainability features, being evaluated for potential roll out to other stores, include:
Commercial Transpired Solar Collector systems typically have a three- to ten-year payback, depending on whether:
For example, the 280m2 Transpired Solar Collector installed on the Eco Learning Store is expected to:
The Transpired Solar Collector at Cyfarthfa Retail Park was an innovative demonstration project rather than a pure commercial solution. It attracted funding from the Welsh European Funding Office to inform future design and installation of similar systems in the UK on a commercial basis. Performance of the Transpired Solar Collector is being monitored by Cardiff University and Tata Steel.
How can owners and occupiers work together?
Owners need interest from occupiers to drive real changes. At Cyfarthfa Retail Park, B&Q set pioneering sustainability objectives for the project from the outset. As a result, B&Q and Hammerson took an unprecedented single client design approach, representing a breakthrough in owner and occupier collaboration. Rather than B&Q and Hammerson each engaging separate design teams, they worked together with a shared team.
How to introduce a new technology to the UK?
The Transpired Solar Collector was the result of a collaborative research project with the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, which aimed to determine the performance of the system and the contribution of renewable heat to the retail space. Black, perforated, steel roof-sheets absorb solar heat into a collector underneath, which imparts heat to the ventilation air that is then circulated mechanically throughout the building. Tata Steel supplied the Colorcoat Renew SC roof-sheets. There are two equally sized roof mounted solar collectors on the Eco Learning Store, totalling around 280m2. A comprehensive remote monitoring system was designed to capture performance data at one minute intervals. Early results show the Transpired Solar Collector system using over 20% of the available solar energy, offering a predicted payback of three years from gas savings.
Do BREEAM sustainability ratings work for greenfield sites?
It can be challenging for out-of-town, greenfield schemes to achieve the highest BREEAM ratings, even when the material choices, design and energy sources are all very sustainable. Greenfield developments tend to be less able to gain BREEAM ecology credits than those on brownfield sites or contaminated land. In addition, out-of-town schemes may not be able to gain as many transport credits as urban schemes. Whilst B&Q and Hammerson did not submit the Eco Learning Store for BREEAM certification, they ensured that the sustainability strategy for the store covered all BREEAM criteria, including aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and wellbeing), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes. As a result, the Eco Learning Store won the Property Week Sustainability Achievement Award 2015.
Dr Antony Davies, Powell Dobson Architects
“We are delighted with the Eco Learning Store, which embodies the sustainability vision set by Hammerson and Kingfisher. I am gratified by how the team and industry collaborators rose to the challenge, overcoming many technical and financial barriers. We believe we have created a template for a truly sustainable store that is as replicable as it is ground breaking.”