Net Zero Projects

Minimising waste and maximising enjoyment

van Heyningen and Haward has always been interested in minimising waste and maximising people’s enjoyment in their environment. Our projects have always revitalised old buildings and made efficient new ones, and tried to reduce energy use and maintenance costs. This has evolved into a much more mature focus on understanding and reducing lifetime carbon emissions as a vital component of our professional responsibility.

As the extent and impacts of the climate collapse become ever clearer, we have sought to become more knowledgeable, and evidence-based, working with software like OneClick and PHPP, and with like-minded colleagues in other disciplines, to understand and advocate alternative solutions to clients and stakeholders.

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At Leicester Cathedral (grade II*) we proposed that their extension be a passivhaus. Despite resolute opposition by CFEC (the CofE planning body), and its necessarily awkward form factor, the building, under construction, will perform close to the passivhaus standard.


At Houlton School we combined painstaking retrofit of the Grade II industrial buildings and super-efficient new blocks to exceed the DfE requirements for new schools, and minimise WLC.

At St Gabriel’s we took the lessons from our initial phase POE to persuade our client to deliver a timber-framed building to the AECB standard.

At Waterbeach Barracks Primary School we will deliver a largely timber building which generates annually the equivalent to 80% of its entire energy demand.

We definitely don’t know all the answers – but we try to find, adopt and spread better practice with every project, without compromising their architectural quality.