The duty of architects to improve buildings and places for current and future generations requires a holistic definition of sustainability that embraces economic, social and environmental issues.
Levitt Bernstein’s approach to sustainable design always aims to be ‘ahead of the curve’, and has social responsibility at its centre; the minimisation of a building’s carbon footprint is but one of many considerations. A collaborative and inclusive approach to the design process helps us to create good-looking buildings and spaces that give a lifetime of practical value and enjoyment.
Our approach to the design of buildings is developed around passive design principles and site-specific, localised solutions that minimise the need for bolt-on features and highly engineered solutions which may prove hard to manage and maintain. This approach combines the sensible incorporation of existing technologies with the adoption of innovative solutions wherever appropriate.
The importance of limiting embodied energy – the energy consumed in constructing a building – is an increasingly important consideration. As the energy a building consumes in use declines through good design so the proportion of lifetime energy consumed in construction may increase, unless due attention is paid to its reduction by careful specification. Furthermore, we are always keen to make the best use of existing buildings, and have built a reputation for imaginative adaptive re-use and retrofitting.
Levitt Bernstein’s experience has developed over a long period, from a prototype low cost housing scheme as part of the Milton Keynes ‘Futureworld’ exhibition in the early 1990s to high density schemes and retrofits of existing buildings to Passivhaus standards in the 2010s. We have also sponsored the 2012 publication ‘The Environmental Design Pocketbook’ by Sofie Pelsmakers.
Levitt Bernstein’s approach to sustainable construction focuses on the performance of the building envelope, and the adoption of Passivhaus principles is therefore a natural direction for the practice to follow.