Award win for Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority received the Carbon Trust Low Carbon Building Award 2009 for the new Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority headquarters, or Carrochan as it’s known. The name Carrochan is a local place name, thought to be Gaelic for either ‘winding’ or ‘rocky place’ – both very apt given the final form of the building.

Michael Russell, Minister for Environment, presented the award to Chief Executive of the National Park Authority, Fiona Logan, at the Scottish Energy & Environment Conference (SEEC), held in Glasgow.

Now in its third year, the Carbon Trust Low Carbon Building Award aims to recognise the significant carbon saving potential that exists within the building sector, specifically looking at environmental impact, and particularly energy demand and emissions, sustainability and quality of the occupant experience.

John Stocks, Manager of Carbon Trust Scotland, commented: “The entries for the award keep improving year on year and this year’s entries were of a very high calibre. However, Page and Park Architects has created an outstanding practical and pleasing, low carbon and people-friendly, building on behalf of the Trossachs National Park Authority.”

Designed by Page and Park Architects, and engineered by international multi-disciplinary consultancy Buro Happold, Carrochan has a sinuous curved form which responds to the site, at the junction of a roundabout and the approach road to Balloch Country Park. Visually based on the traditional barn, it has a double pitched roof. Running through the centre is a glazed street which brings natural light and ventilation deep into the building plan, and the main offices are open plan overlooking the street.

Karen Pickering, Director at Page and Park Architects, commented: “We are delighted to receive such recognition for our work on the central headquarters for the first national park in Scotland. Our aim was to provide the client with an affordable, sustainable building that not only sets the standard for office design, but one that also affects ways of working, allowing staff to undertake a planned process of change.”

Sustainability was always central to the design, and Buro Happold, who carried out the structural and services engineering as well as acoustics, fire and inclusive design, ensured the lowest possible carbon footprint through a number of structural and building services design elements.

Structurally, the main frame is made from sustainable local green Douglas fir; the building is primarily made from timber, and use of steel was cut to a minimum. The first floor plate is made from structural LVL beams with a plywood top layer, and the design includes load-bearing external and stability walls made from timber. Carrochan also has a natural slate roof finish, natural stone walling and Scottish larch cladding.

On the building services side, the building form was influenced early in the design phase to provide natural ventilation and daylight. Efficient systems were employed such as a reduced background and task lighting scheme, combined with daylight and presence lighting controls. Other environmentally friendly elements include a biomass boiler fuelled by local woodchip for both heating and hot water, use of Thermafleece sheep’s wool insulation, and a reed bed for sustainable drainage that treats both rain and grey water.

“The design achieves an expected carbon footprint for the building of 80 tonnes as compared to 200 for a conventional building and 140 tonnes for current best practice,” said Buro Happold’s project leader on Carrochan, Andrew Pearson. “We are also delighted that the scheme has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.”

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