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REduction in embodied carbon


Tonnes Carbon saved vs ORiginal design



Net zero first at North Shields

Transport Hub achieves net zero carbon in construction and operation

North Shields Transport Hub is a first-of-its-kind sustainable transport solution connecting bus services with nearby public transport systems, the Tyne and Wear Metro and the Shields Ferry, and local cycling infrastructure to make it easier for people to choose cleaner, greener travel. Completed in September 2023, the Transport Hub is the first development by North Tyneside Council and the first by Willmott Dixon to achieve net zero carbon and is one of the first buildings of its kind in the UK. Thanks to improvements at design stage, the completed building delivered half the embodied carbon of the original project in construction and achieves net zero operational carbon by reducing energy demand and incorporating renewable energy.

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Reducing Embodied Carbon

To achieve zero carbon, particular attention was paid to reducing upfront embodied carbon – the footprint created between preconstruction and completion – with additional consideration given to the building’s whole life carbon impact. The project team’s detailed understanding of the availability of local construction materials allowed them to further reduce embodied carbon through adjustments to the original design:

  • Timber: A timber-based Glulam (Glue Laminated Timber) was used to construct the roof rather than steel saving 227 tonnes CO2e.
  • Foundations: The design of the Transport Hub’s concrete foundations was switched from piled foundations to mass fill slab foundations, which reduced embodied carbon by 187 tonnes CO2e.
  • Concrete: Low carbon concrete, which is made with 60% ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) and has 40% less embodied carbon than cement, saved 97 tonnes CO2e.
  • Curtain Walling / Glazing: Low carbon aluminium produced using recycled aluminium scrap from approximately 70% renewable sources was used to create the extrusion billets within the curtain walls of the Transport Hub saving 5 tonnes CO2e.

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Fig 1. Chart shows the changes in embodied carbon throughout the stages of the project, from the baseline design (Stage 1) to the completed building (As Built).

Net zero in operation

To meet the building performance levels required to achieve net zero in operation energy Willmott Dixon collaborated with the project team to:

  • Optimise insulation and airtightness in heated areas of the building.
  • Utilise the roof space for roof lights to provide natural lighting and solar panels to provide renewable energy.
  • Prioritise natural ventilation.

The net result is an EPC A+ rated building that is forecast to generate more energy on site than it consumes annually.

North Shields Transport Hub Interior.jpg

Achieving Net Zero Carbon

From the outset, the project team followed the steps set out by the UKGBC’s (UK Green Building Council) net zero carbon framework to reduce the carbon impact from the construction processes and the energy use of the building in operation. After achieving an overall reduction in embodied carbon of 511 tonnes (48% of the total), compared to the original stage two design, the North Shields Transport Hub development will be required to offset 547 tonnes CO2e. as-built embodied carbon.

Both the upfront and total embodied carbon from a Whole Life Carbon assessment undertaken at the start of the project have been compared to industry benchmarks, where the project achieves a D rating against LETI benchmarks. This puts it ahead of the current average building design in embodied carbon terms.

Biodiversity Net Gain

To make sure the project leaves a positive environmental legacy, we commissioned a full survey of local habitats and impact assessment for the project. The report from ecological consultants, EcoNorth, shows by incorporating native hedgerow species, street trees and grassland into the design, the completed project exceeds the recommended 10% increase in biodiversity net gain units.

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North Shields Transport Hub has won the Large Project Award, Net Zero Award, and Most Collaborative Project from The Institution of Structural Engineers (Northern Counties).

Following completion, North Tyneside Council said: “Willmott Dixon's commitment to sustainable construction practices has been displayed throughout the project, and the Transport Hub now stands as a good example of environmentally conscious infrastructure. The incorporation of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient materials, and innovative design showcases the contractor's commitment to minimising the project's carbon footprint. The Transport Hub not only fulfils our vision for modern and efficient transport but also sets a new standard for eco-friendly public infrastructure.”

In 2023, North Tyneside Council was named one of 119 authorities worldwide to feature on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) A-list of cities leading the charge on climate action.

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