The urban village is being constructed on brownfield land that was formerly being used by an oil refinery that was called the Llandarcy Oil Refinery that was owned by BP. This oil refinery was constructed between the years 1918 and 1922 and it has been labeled as the first crude oil refinery in the country. Since there were some economic changes, the site was closed in the year 1997 (Brownfield renewal in Wales and South West Region, 2007).
Planned Outputs of the Urban Village
According to the plan that has been prepared for Coed Darcy, the community will comprise of 4,000 homes along with employment space, community facilities as well as open space that covered an area of 1,300 acres. The estimate of the development of this community is about 1.2 billion pounds. Moreover, four new schools have also been planned for this community. These schools include 2 English primaries, 1 Welsh primary and 1 secondary (Coed Darcy Urban Village, 2008). One of the proposals that have been put forth for the development of the community is a new road that would be a southern access and would link the village with the Fabian Way (A483) and into Swansea (Coed Darcy Gets Outline Planning Permission, 2008).
It has been expected that the construction will create around 3,000 to 4,000 job opportunities that includes jobs directly related to the construction industry and the others are related to the support services. Once the construction of the village is completed, it will provide residence to around 10,000 people (Swansea Bay News).
Planning and Construction of Coed Darcy
Input from the Prince’s Foundation was one of the main contributors for the finalization of the design specifications. It has been reported that the urban village would be developed in the similar fashion as the Poundbury development. The aim of the development of this village is to encourage people to live and work in a community with unity (Land Being Cleared for Prince’s eco Village, 2007). The expected time frame for the completion of this project is about 20 years.
Coedffranc Community Council’s members suggested the name for the urban village, which was then accepted by the others involved in the development and planning. The name has been inspired from the local village of Coedffranc as well as that of the neighboring village that is called Llandarcy (Coed Darcy Name Revealed at Llandarcy Development Exhibition, 2008).
Back in 2007, an announcement was made that stated that St. Modwen Properties was chosen as a prioritized developer of the Coed Darcy site (St. Modwen Named as Coed Darcy Main Site Preferred Developer, 2008). Reclamation and redevelopment of the brownfield site, which is expected to be completed in seven years, will be led by St. Modwen Properties. As for the remediation work, the removal of contaminated material from the site is involved. This contaminated material is the stuff that was dumped on the site when it was used as an oil refinery.
The site that was there at the location of the old refinery’s main entrance and was named as Area 1 is where the work was started in June of 2008. The construction was started with the construction of first 150 homes along with 58 apartments. The area covered by these homes and apartments has been estimated to be 10.4 acres (Projects + Buildings by Robert Adam Architects). These properties were designed by the Director of the ADAM Architecture, Robert Adam; meanwhile they were developed by Edward Ware Homes and Atlantic Properties Plc (Atlantic Ware Developments). The construction at this site was carried out by the company known as the Dawnus Construction (New Village Rises, 2008). This area, Area 1, is advertised as Heritage Gate.
Works of St. Modwen
St. Modwen had to go through an intense tendering procedure for the procurement of the site, as it was judged by the main stakeholders that included Welsh Assembly Government, BP, Neath Port Talbot Borough Council and Prince’s Foundation. The main factor that was involved while choosing St. Modwen as the developer of Coed Darcy was that their demonstration of their capability to be consistent with the vision for the development was very impressive and they had set out a master plan that acceptable to all the stakeholders (Alan Baxter & Associates, 2005).
St. Modwen Masterplan
A part of this plan was that Coed Darcy would be developed in a community that is sustainable and that is an example of the implementation of the government policy. One of the main objectives of the development of the Coed Darcy urban village is to strengthen the local networks and communities that already exist. St. Modwen also expects this development to have the abilities to adapt and modify itself according to the changing environments and circumstances.
As mentioned earlier, reclamation of the site will also be carried out by St. Modwen and the company will also build plots for the development of the community. According to some reports, St. Modwen does not plan to construct the plots, rather the company will buy plots that have already been constructed and then these plots will be sold to ‘house builders’. Therefore, the main focus of St. Modwen would remain the reclamation of the construction site.
St. Modwen would be dealing with the final demolitions, decommissioning as well as the site clearance issues. Another thing that the developers would be dealing with is the remediating of the contaminated land because the site was under the use of an oil refinery. The developers also seek to address the not-so-good ground conditions for the engineers. Issues pertaining to water, ecology and landscape as well as the environmental impacts that exist with the construction of the Coed Darcy urban village will also be addressed by St. Modwen. The developers will also be constructing the initial infrastructure that includes drainage, roads and preparations of the development platforms.
Planning permission has been given for the development along with an Environmental Statement. This statement defines the environmental effects that can result from the redevelopment and reclamation of the construction site and how these effects can be mitigated.
Planning permission was given to the developers on the basis of the Masterplan of the construction site that was put forth by St. Modwen. The planning permission was given in the form of Town Code that explains the building design of the village as well the number of strategies and assessments that have been carried out pertaining to landscape, ecology, transport and ecology, to name a few.
Apart from the planning permission, the Sustainability Appraisal was also carried out that was a part of planning application. This Appraisal discussed in detail the sustainability credentials of the development of Coed Darcy. These credentials were then compared with the practices that were considered to be good or best. The conclusion of this Appraisal was that there were many issues that could not be addressed completely unless the extensive design phase for the development was reached, which primarily pertained to the use of energy, waste and other materials.
Moreover, the solutions that are sustainable as well as cost effective would be considered by St. Modwen. These solutions would be selected with the objective that the solutions that are being used reduce the costs of the development and at the same time add value to the construction site in a way that Coed Darcy can get a better price for the site from the builders of the house if they later on seek to sell the development plots. Another way in which value can be added to these plots is by improving the brands of the development and construction.
Carbon Critical Design — An important consideration
The goal that needs to be accomplished by the year 2030 is to make the new buildings “carbon-neutral.” This means that no coal, oil or gas would be burned to build light, heat and cool for the buildings that are being constructed. It should be noted that construction industry as well as the buildings consume about half of the energy that is generated in the United States. Architects should be well aware of the fact that the new projects should focus on energy efficiency and buildings should be designed and renovated in a way that reduces the emission of carbon to the most. This is not something that requires some rocket science or is hard to implement in any way. It only requires simple innovations that include the configuration of the buildings pertaining to the ventilating, heating and cooling systems. Moreover, there is a need to identify the construction materials that can be recycled and to use the energy technologies that are cost effective as well as environmental friendly.
Many developers and environmentalists unanimously believe that the most complex and challenging issue that they have to face is the climates change; also being the most important one as well. A critical design parameter that is being considered and focused by Atkins throughout the company in all the aspects of their work is carbon. This is being considered as a sustainability agenda that helps define the company the behavior of their clients. Needless to say, carbon forms the main constituent of the greenhouse gases that are considered responsible for the changes in the climate. 77% of the greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide. Other gases that contain carbon and constitute the greenhouse gases are methane, which constitutes 14%, CFCs/HFCs, which form 1% and nitrous oxide that forms 8% of the greenhouse gases.
Over the years, the greenhouse gases are getting accumulated in the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect is becoming stronger over the time. This is resulting in the Earth getting hotter at an increased rate. If these gases are allowed to accumulate even more, an estimate has been made according to which there will be a rise in the world temperatures of about 2 to 5 degree Celsius in the following century.
According to some reports, 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is emitted into the environment every year because of the use of fossil fuel. There is an addition amount of 1.6 billion tonnes that is emitted because of the use of land mainly as a result of deforestation. The levels of these gases in the environment have now reached levels that were not expected to be reached in even thousands of years. According to the statistics obtained from the government of UK, 20% of the global rise in temperature and greenhouse gases is caused by the construction operations. 12% of this 20% is because of the heating and cooling spaces, 3% because of the lighting and other electrical appliances and 5% because of the water heating systems.
Leaders and governments all over the world are now working together to devise strategies and work out ways so that the amount of carbon dioxide emitted in the atmosphere can be decreased in the environment. In the United Kingdom, there is a new statutory legislation regarding the reduction of emission of carbon dioxide per year, to a level that is going to be 60% less than the figure that was recorded in 1990s. This level is anticipated to be reached before the year 2050. Nonetheless, some people in the government are of the view that this level might not be significant in reversing the conditions of the environment and so the reduction needs to go as low as 80%.
It should be noted that Coed Darcy is a real project and therefore for Atkins the Carbon Critical design is a real issue that it needs to deal with in collaboration with its clients.
An Approach to Address Carbon Criticality
The meaning of the Carbon Critical Design, in simple words is to ensure that the building is being constructed in a way that carbon footprint is the least. It should be noted that carbon can be in embedded as well in operational form. Embedded carbon is the carbon that is formed by the total emissions of carbon and that is quantified tons of carbon and related with the production and manufacture of particular materials. For example, the total amount of carbon that is produced when 1m3 of reinforced concrete is being manufactured. On the other hand, operational carbon is the carbon that is emitted and quantified in tons and is related to the operations of a plant (or a process). For example, the amount of carbon that is emitted by the lighting and heating systems of buildings is operational carbon.
It is also possible for the planners and developers to place a monetary value on the production of carbon that be considered during the process of decision making. Therefore, the meaning of the carbon critical design is the understanding of the production of carbon in a project; whether it is operational carbon or embedded. Also, it helps to understand the critical component of the production of carbon and what can be done to recycle the carbon that is being produced or emitted into the environment. Moreover, it can also help to come up with a design and plan in which the production of carbon, as a green house, can be reduced to a minimum.
The action plan that has been devised to make sure that the carbon emissions are minimized focuses on the following:
â€¢ Construction on the site as well the accommodation (equipment and plant)
â€¢ Removal of waste and delivery materials and their associated transport
â€¢ Business travel
â€¢ Corporate offices
The action to reduce carbon emissions that has the greatest potential to do so is to specify in the contract (as proper documentation) the sites for accommodation that would prove to be most energy efficient. It is indeed the most effective action that could be implemented to reduce carbon emissions and at the same time does not have any associated costs.
Moreover, in the contract documents, it should be specified that an energy advisor would be appointed who would be responsible for analyzing and reporting on the performance of energy. Even though this action might include the cost of hiring an energy advisor, its potential to reduce carbon emissions is also high. Therefore, when we do the cost-benefit analysis, the effectiveness exceeds the cost associated.
Another action that also has very high potential of reducing carbon emissions if implemented is the freight driving that is fuel efficient and the usage of renewable transport fuels. Yet again for the effective implementation of this action, it is important that it should be stated in the tender document that when transport providers would be appointed for the construction of Coed Darcy, the ones that would be able to demonstrate the systems that are efficient in the management of logistics and those that have greater levels of fuel efficient training would be favored. This means that at least half of the drivers who are appointed should have received training in the aforementioned areas in the last five years. The implementation of this action might result in an increased cost as the trained and efficient transport providers might as for more money than the rest, but since the potential it has for reducing the emission of carbon is very high, it will be preferable to go for it.
Benchmark for Proposals
The only way that the benchmark can be achieved for the performance of the proposals mentioned above is to present a detailed study and examination of the actions that are proposed to be implemented and their potential to decrease the emission of carbon. Once the statistics and the anticipated results are in hand, it becomes very easy to convince the client. Moreover, it also important for us to compare the proposals devised by us and by St. Modwen to get a better understanding of the performance that can be expected from both. Not just this, there is a need for us to involve all the stakeholder as well as St. Modwen as we identify the key problem areas, devise strategies to improve them and then compare them with the proposals that were being presented before. Once the actions are being implemented, we need to make sure that they are being monitored so that the best results are achieved. The most important way to provide a benchmark for the proposals is to provide the client with the comparative analysis and the expected results.
The validation and Environmental report that was presented before the construction of Coed Darcy was started shows that the proposals that were presented were all acceptable. If everything goes as it has been planned by the architects, designers, developers and builders then this urban village will not pose any threat to the environment. It will be a community that would be energy efficient because the materials that will used are energy and efficient and at the same time do not pose a threat to the environment. Also there have been plans about the recycling of the energy supplies that makes the whole project even more sustainable and energy efficient. Just like any other extensive project, Coed Darcy has also been subjected to controversies pertaining to swallowing up of the two villages that are present in the neighborhood of the site where Coed Darcy is being constructed. The completion of Coed Darcy is anticipated by many groups and it is hoped that the construction will be complete in the given time frame of about 20 years.
“Brownfield renewal in the South West and Wales region” (2008). Investor Site Visit – 1st October 2007. St. Modwen Properties PLC.
“Coed Darcy gets outline planning permission” (2007). WalesOnline.
“Coed Darcy Name Revealed at Llandarcy Development Exhibition” (2008). Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
“Coed Darcy Urban Village” (2008). The Prince’s Foundation.
“Land being cleared for Prince’s ‘eco village'” (2008). WalesOnline.
“New Village Rises” (2008). South Wales Evening Post.
“St. Modwen Named as Coed Darcy Main Site Preferred Developer” (2008). The Prince’s Foundation.
Alan Baxter & Associates. March 2005. Coed Darcy: Planning a New Community for South Wales. Executive Summary to the Masterplan.
Projects + Buildings by Robert Adam Architects, UK.
Swansea Bay News – Coed Darcy Urban Village Development could create 4000 jobs.
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