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Climate Change and Energy

Bolster Group has actively embraced the worldwide crisis of climate change in the area of atmospheric impacts and design. Through atmospheric impacts Bolster Group has actively reduced our use of energy and emissions in transport, design, construction, operation and maintenance of our facilities.

Atmospheric Impacts

The Bolster Group has successfully reduced our carbon foot print in the last 12 months through the reduction of heavy plant usage and less fleet vehicles on the road. While this reduction was driven by economic sustainability the environmental benefits are nonetheless significant. The Bolster Group has also installed and promoted modern video conferencing methods such as skype or dimdim in an effort to reduce business mileage.

Design

Bolster Group has recognized the need to incorporate sustainability from project inception stage of the design process all the way through to location, orientation, structure, systems, construction and use of a building. Bolster Group are embedding sustainability considerations into risk management, design integrity, management, layout and specification.

Water Haven is a prime opportunity for the Bolster Group to deliver a hugely sustainable project. Already passive design measures featuring optimal building size, location and orientation have been included. It is contended that high rise buildings such as Water Haven provide for sustainable communities by providing critical mass where the future residents can both work and live in a self sustaining manner, which reduces the dependency on unsustainable forms of transport. High rise living can also improve health and well being by increasing the availability of daylight, connection with the outside world and by providing spectacular views, particularly down the River Suir towards Waterford City and upriver towards the newly built N25 bridge. Considering that all apartments on the Water Haven site are dual aspect with associated private open space that exceeds the standards set out in the sustainable urban housing guidelines, future residents will enjoy a high quality public realm and community space.

Other sustainable features include integrated control systems for the apartments and offices along with energy efficient district heating systems and controls. This will allow energy and carbon efficiencies by adopting heat technologies such as wood pellet boilers, gas condensing boilers and air source heat pumps. The development will also feature energy efficient hot water solar generation systems combined with high levels of insulation and solar glazing. Energy generation from sources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydro power will be used under the Governments Alternative Energy Requirement (AER) scheme, whereby there is an agreement to purchase renewable energy, at a guaranteed rate, from a private supplier for 15 years.

The Water Haven site also provides an opportunity to produce electricity through wind generation, tidal generation, photovoltaic and biomass. This will allow Bolster Group to provide power to landlord areas only, reducing the supply authority requirement or alternatively to sell electricity back to the network and continue with a supply authority connection. On site energy and electricity production will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and dependence on fossil fuel methods of electricity production while also helping the Government meet the agreed set limits outlined in the Kyoto Protocol and thus reducing the effect of ozone depletion. The knock on benefits include improved health and hygiene for all future occupants through reduced dampness and condensation along with the economic benefits of reduced running costs of units and less carbon tax, if ever introduced. Rain water harvesting will also be used with regards to water conservation and surface water drainage and will be taken from the roofs of building to a tank in the ground where it will be reused for irrigation purposes only. Again this will help reduce water rates if introduced. Ventilation heat recovery systems will be used along with naturally ventilated façade systems to minimise reliance on air conditioning. For systems operation in heating mode, building shall be sealed to achieve low levels of infiltration thereby reducing the buildings heating loads. Therefore all units will exceed the minimum energy requirements of the Building Regulations Part L and maximize the Building Energy Rating Certificates for all units on sale or for lease helping to achieve worldwide BRE Environmental Assessment Standards (BREEAM) throughout the site in the next 5 to 7 years, depending on the phasing of buildings.