In spring next year, we will be opening the doors of our brand new £15m state-of-the-art care home in Chorley, Lancashire. Astley View has been a real labour of love for everyone at Evermore and has been specifically designed with our residents, our team and our environment in mind. From our use of durable materials to encouraging biodiversity in our green spaces and recycling, we have worked hard to ensure our home is sustainable and designed to give our residents and team the best quality of life possible.
In the design and construction phases we worked closely to BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) specifications in order to build a home that was as sustainable and environmentally conscious as modern materials and construction economics would allow. We’re sure our future residents, team members and local community care about their impact on the planet as much as we do and hope that achieving a Very Good BREEAM accreditation will go some way to demonstrating that care and places us in the Top 25% of non-domestic building in the UK. Lastly and definitely not least, we wanted to create a comfortable and vibrant working and living environment for our residents and team – a place they are happy to call home!
What elements did we focus on?
Selecting the Right Materials
When building Astley View, we wanted to maximise material efficiency and minimise environmental impact where we could. We used resilient and durable materials to reduce the need for replacement and therefore limit waste. From the structure itself right down to the flooring and doors the entire site has been made to last. This durability makes life easier for everyone. Our team know they can put their all into providing our residents with the care and quality time they deserve, and our residents can sleep easy knowing the home is sturdy and will be for years to come.
It was important for us to take the carbon footprint of the entire site into consideration when building Astley View which means we had to consider where energy was consumed at every stage right down to production of the materials that we sourced and used. Every material has what is known in the trade as ‘embodied energy’ which in a nutshell is the amount of energy it takes to produce that material. So, for example concrete has high embodied energy so we wanted to reduce the use of it at the site which is why we opted for a steel structure which in itself is recyclable when the building is replaced in 50 years time. Selecting and sourcing materials considered by BREEAM to be environmentally conscious meant that we were able to create a home whose very foundation is considerate of not only our team and residents but of the planet as well.
Part of the accreditation involves assessing energy usage throughout the home from the use of energy saving lightbulbs to slightly more complex systems such as solar shading. This innovation allows us to absorb as much light and heat from the sun as possible during the dark and cold winter months and then come those rarer sunny days it provides the home with some much-needed shade. This makes for a cosy and comfortable home for our residents and a cool working environment for our team. It also means we can cut down on our energy consumption and costs so everyone’s a winner!
In order to give ourselves the best chance of acing the BREEAM accreditation we needed to make sure that we were considering waste at every stage of the home. Aside from limiting waste at the actual construction phase and during the maintenance of the home we also wanted to provide ways residents and the team could help us by doing their bit. We have therefore included full recycling stations in all dining and kitchen areas and there is an external refuse area to allow the separation of waste material.
It was important for us to choose a location for Astley View that had good connections to public transport and cycle routes so that it was easy and accessible for staff and visitors. You will find us a short walk from Chorley train station, there is a bus stop directly outside the home and there are traffic-free cycle lanes enroute. At the home itself we have built in storage areas for bikes, electric vehicle charging points and car sharing spaces. We hope that this encourages both our team and visitors to use more environmentally friendly transportation and reduces heavy congestion around the home which is more pleasant for our residents.
Land use and ecology
The outside space and gardens have been a real focus and giving our residents and team easy access to beautiful green spaces was a priority. We know the benefits to mental and physical wellbeing of spending time outdoors and so creating various spaces for staff and residents to enjoy was a must. Our galleried café opens up onto a magnificent corridor of trees and our landscaped gardens provide a serene oasis for a breath of fresh air. For our residents who are keen gardeners there is also the opportunity to get involved in the maintenance of the garden which can work wonders on the mind and body. The inclusion of these green spaces also encourages biodiversity in our local environment and of course helps to reduce CO2 levels.
Health & Wellbeing
Even during the design and construction processes we have been considering the health and wellbeing of our team and residents. For our team we wanted to ensure that we made their job as easy as possible by providing them with innovative solutions and by creating a comfortable environment for them to work in. The team have a dedicated team area that covers three levels and to make it easy for them to move around the home with bulky trolleys. ‘Views out’ assessments are also carried out in areas where team members may be working for longer than 30 minutes to ensure we are making bright rooms with views of the outdoors for them to work in. Glare control assessments have also been conducted to highlight any rooms where there is a potential for glare on computer screens or TVs. Blinds can then be fitted and allows our team to crack on with their desk duties and residents to enjoy an afternoon film!
Why is a good BREEAM rating important?
BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method and is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. The aim of the programme is to minimise the environmental impact of buildings by ensuring sustainability best practices are put in place. A good BREEAM rating was so important to us when building Astley View because we want to support our planet, our local community, our team and our residents in every way. Constructing a home in a more environmentally conscious way has also allowed us to create a space that is fit for purpose and comfortable for the team and residents. At Evermore we take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and achieving a good BREEAM rating is just the icing on the cake.
In the case of Astley View, Chorley council set us the challenge of achieving a ‘very good’ rating for the home and we feel we have gone above and beyond to do just that.
At Evermore we firmly believe that what’s good for the planet is good for our team and our residents which is why we were really keen to get Astley View BREEAM accredited. By working with a specialist team of designers and architects we have managed to create an environmentally conscious and green home that is also comfortable and welcoming for our residents. Somewhere that they can truly call home!