Communion’s Sustainability & Energy Creed

A seating area in a home extension. In the image a grey corner sofa sits in a modern extension with three walls of glazing surrounding it. An opening in the roof brings more sunlight into this light-filled extension. Communion Architects, Herefordshire. A seating area in a home extension. In the image a grey corner sofa sits in a modern extension with three walls of glazing surrounding it. An opening in the roof brings more sunlight into this light-filled extension. Communion Architects, Herefordshire.

“Leading scientists now say that unless we change course drastically, within the lifetime of people alive today, we are heading for a world which can support only 0.5 to 1 billion people. Such is the climate and ecological emergency.”
LETI’s Climate Emergency Design Guide

We really love our lives, we are immensely privileged to live where we do and have access to all the resources that make our day to day lives possible. We love working closely with our clients, our colleagues and our professional partners to create beautiful projects that transform spaces and transform lives.

The very uncomfortable truth is that when it comes to sustainability and energy efficiency, unless we make radical changes, this won’t be possible for very much longer. Our lives will drastically change within our lifetimes, let alone our children’s lives.

We know that the climate crisis concerns those we work with as much as it does us. We all want to do what we can, we just need guidance on what that is.

This is why we’ve put together our Communion Creed. It’s eight strategies to help us create buildings fit for the future. We’ve also signed up to the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge, which promotes the design of buildings to meet 2030 net zero targets now.

Every project is different, each with its own challenges, however, we believe taking this approach will enable the projects that we help to deliver to significantly help those who use them to play their part as we look to face this uncertain future. It will also help the wider industry make the very significant changes that we need to make if we are going to keep enjoying the only world we have.

Fabric

Prioritise the use of passive measures

We choose building materials carefully. We prefer passive measures to reduce the amount of energy required to heat a home over active measures that require energy to operate and will require periodic replacement.

Orientate

Make the most of free energy from the sun

We look at the location of rooms and consider the direction they should face. Our aim is to make the most of solar gain in winter and prevent overheating in the summer.

Air-Tight

Reduce draughts and unwanted air movement

We aim to eliminate unwanted air movement between the outside and inside of a building. This removes the need to heat or cool that air, which is ultimately a waste.

Ventilate

Extract stale air and supply fresh air

Buildings that are too airtight affect the health and wellbeing of its occupants. We use efficient ventilation systems that extract stale air and supply fresh air.

Shade

Prevent overheating from the sun

We assess the need for shading to prevent a building from overheating in the summer while also allowing warmth from the sun during the winter months.

Control

Provide easy to operate systems

We want our clients to be able to actively engage with the energy usage of their building. We aim to install controls that are easy for them to operate.

Monitor

Recognise that knowledge is power

The more we know about a building’s energy usage the more we can reduce it. We fit meters and sub-meters on heating and lighting systems.

Report

Accelerate the learning process

Data is vital for continuous improvement. We submit anonymous data to RIBA on the energy usage of our buildings for the first year of their occupation.

Ultimately, our focus is simple: use less in everything we do to deliver more enjoyment for many more of us for much longer.

Find out more about our approach to energy efficiency and these eight strategies.