Modern standards in historic buildings
The transformation of Cannington Court in Somerset has seen a historic site preserved for future generations while providing a new home for EDF energy.
With a focus on protecting the buildings, including a Grade I listed former priory that dates back to 1138, sustainability was also a key priority for the development. The aspiration from both the client and BuroHappold Engineering was to reduce the energy consumption of the existing buildings by 50% and strive for the largest possible contribution from onsite renewable energy sources.
A key challenge for the BuroHappold Engineering team was the need to deliver a sustainable design for the project. Cannington Court’s listed buildings include structures dating from the 12th century through to the 19th century. The important status of many of the structures concerned meant that our team faced a number of issues in achieving the level of energy efficiency we were striving for.
Cannington Court has seen many different uses since its origins as a religious house, including a family residence and an educational institution. This meant that our engineers had to adopt different approaches in different areas of the site, taking into account variations in building fabric, age and architectural quality.
Another key requirement was the need to engage with statutory consultees, local planning offices and English Heritage to fully understand their requirements and successfully overcome these challenges in a sensitive but practical manner. By applying our considerable expertise in understanding and adapting historic buildings, we were able to find creative solutions that met users’ performance needs without compromising the historic character and fabric of the buildings.
To improve the thermal performance of the whole campus, double-glazing was installed where possible to replace the original glass, using existing window casements to preserve the beauty of the facades. We also considerably improved the thermal performance of the walls and roofs as well as reducing air leakage from the buildings.
The visitor parking was relocated from the centre of the campus to a disused tennis court on the site, providing better public access to the Walled Gardens of Cannington. Within this new carpark, we incorporated the renewable energy provisions with the installation of ground source heat pumps and various forms of solar energy connectors mounted above the carports, all connected to a new Energy Centre within the carpark.
Community inclusion was a priority from the outset of the project, with the design of the project reflecting its previous use as an educational facility. As well as providing a high-end EDF training centre, the court will also host sessions for Bridgewater College students, while the historical Clifford Hall will be available for public hire.
The systems that were incorporated should provide 42% of the site’s energy requirements. Data is collected and monitored via the building management system in order to assess energy performance and allow for any refinement needed over time. This will ensure the continued energy efficient performance of the campus into the future and benchmark actual performance against the targets set. The carpark also provides vehicle re-charging points for EDF energy mini-buses.
Cannington Court now offers high tech training facilities for EDF along with facilities available for community use, all within a sympathetically restored historical setting.
The delivery of the design was excellent and has met our challenging brief…the approach of the team was exemplary
Lee Talbot, EDF Energy
Services and approach
When we integrate our specialist teams around an approach, the benefits to the client multiply