Creating a Sustainable Blueprint for Retail Parks with B&Q

17 Apr 2015

A collaboration between B&Q and Hammerson has been shortlisted for the sustainability of the year by property Week.

The B&Q ‘eco-learning’ store in Cyfarthfa Retail Park in Merthyr Tydfil features a range of sustainable initiatives that present a significant improvement in its environmental performance when compared to a similar store.

The eco-learningstore includes features such as a rainwater harvesting system, green roof, sustainable materials, low energy lighting and an innovative ‘Transpired Solar Collector’ system which provides renewable heat and therefore significantly reduces the heating energy consumed and carbon footprint of the store.

Both partners will find out if the project has won on 21stApril 2015 at the Property Week Awards.

A Collaborative Approach

The B&Q eco-learning store presents a highly sustainable blueprint for retail parks and demonstrates what can be achieved by landlord and tenants working collaboratively. A set of best practice sustainability targets were agreed between Hammerson and B&Q, above and beyond the necessary requirements of the local planning authority. The targets addressed energy and carbon intensity, embodied carbon, recycled content, responsibly sourced timber, waste generation, water consumption, biodiversity and adaptation to climate change.

The ambitious targets drove tangible sustainability outcomes through a range of environmental features:

  • 23% reduction in embodied carbon relative to industry benchmark standards for similar retail developments (0.336 tCO2e/m2 ‘cradle to gate including transport achieved)
  • 43% reduction in gas consumption from the ‘Transpired Solar Collector’(TSC) solar thermal system which uses solar radiation as its energy source to heat or preheat the ventilation air supply to the building thus reducing carbon emissions and heating billsHigh thermal efficiency of the building fabric achieved by a high level of air tightness measured at 2.47m3/hr/m2
  • B-rated (29) Energy Performance Certificate, partly through low energy LED lighting with automatic daylight dimming controls positioned at a lower height in the store to provide greater light levels whilst saving energy
  • Ecologically diverse plant rich “green roof” to approximately 50% of the available roof area
  • 50% water consumption provided by rainwater harvesting system, providing water for the flushing of toilets and urinals and providing a supply to the garden centre irrigation system
  • Reduced embodied carbon in the building fabric by using steel cladding rather than aluminium and insulation with a high recycled content and low embodied energy
  • Locally procured materials to reduce transport carbon emissions and benefitting the local economy: Tata, Port Talbot (steel & transpired solar collection); Euroclad, Cardiff (cladding & roof); Rockwool, Barry(insulation to cladding and roof); pulverised fuel ash concrete replacement, sourced in Port Talbot, manufactured in Cardiff
  • 100% of permanent and temporary timber Forest Stewardship Council certified
  • Solar thermal panels providing hot water to the domestic hot water storage cylinders
  • Climate change adaptation has been reflected in the design of the store by considering future overheating risk, flooding, fuel scarcity and increased frequency of adverse weather
  • 90% of construction waste diverted from landfill

Ne Technology

The key innovation at the B&Q eco-learning store was the installation of the Transpired Solar Collector (TSC)to provide renewable heat. It works on the principle of drawing air over and/or through a solar collector which imparts heat to the incoming air which is then delivered to the building.

The TSC, a perforated steel cladding system known as ‘Colorcoat Renew SC’, was installed by TATA Steel as part of the Sustainable Building Envelope Demonstration project at Cardiff University. The TSC provides preheated ventilation air from two equally sized roof mounted solar collectors, totalling approximately 280m². 

The project aim was to determine the performance of the system and the contribution of renewable heat to the retail space.  A comprehensive remote monitoring system was designed to capture performance data at one minute intervals. During September 2014, 2500kWh of renewable heat was delivered to the building, with the TSC system making use of more than 20% of the available solar energy at its surface. It has been estimated that the TSC system can return a payback in 3 years based on predicted reductions in gas utility bills.

Further information including presentations can be located at