Last week, XCO2 were announced as runners up in the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards Built Environment category.
Guardian Sustainable Business was originally set up to provide an independent perspective on how business is tackling some of the biggest environmental, economic and social challenges.
For the built environment category, the Guardian asked for: “submissions based on specific innovative redevelopments or new-build projects at the leading-edge of approaches to reducing the built environment’s negative environmental impacts and raising its positive social impacts.”
An XCO2 project that stood out in meeting this brief is our Hemis Monastic School project.
About the project
Hemis Monastic School is situated in the Himalayas adjacent to the 400 year old Hemis Monastery. The Institute wanted to build a new school for young Buddhist monks that provide modern levels of comfort and technology to attract new students and improve learning.
The architectural designers, P.A.C., strive for a design expression where form follows purpose. XCO2’s challenge was to develop sustainable sources of electricity for technology and heat for comfort; this was achieved by using innovative computational modelling to optimise a primarily passive solution, supplemented with renewable energy generation. The aim is to revitalise activity within the Hemis monastery by providing a stable education to future monks. It will also generate income for construction, maintenance and allow the monks to be economically self-supporting.
The scheme’s sensitive use of traditional education, crafts and building techniques helps the monks adapt to the pressures of the 21st century whilst maintaining their tradition and retaining a sustainable lifestyle. The new building reuses existing concrete on site, combining it with mudbrick and modern insulation. The traditional construction methods and materials are uniquely adapted to the climate and local resources. In fact, 85% of materials used for the building are sourced locally.
Although sad to have missed out on the top spot, we are happy to have shared a platform with the winners, University of East Anglia; and the others shortlisted (ABP UK, Bright Green Homes, Hastoe Housing Association and Kings Cross Partnership).
It is refreshing to be able to showcase our expertise on a wider stage, other than just our industry. The Guardian has been proactive in pushing forward sustainability and long may that continue. We have shown how UK sustainable businesses can fundamentally help support the UN’s sustainable agenda, in countries where climate change will be most destructive.
We are proud of our work to date and hope we can continue to engage in projects across the globe that encompass the true meaning of sustainability, ‘conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources’.