Energy and Carbon Guardianship

Features: The Hoover Building


In light of the severity of the climate emergency and huge contribution of the built environment to carbon emissions and other environmental indicators, we are retiring our Interrobang trading name and focusing our transdisciplinary architecture and engineering team on services dedicated to bringing the built environment in line with planetary limits.

We believe this is best achieved through collaboration with architects, design teams, and clients and we would be delighted to collaborate on projects large and small, carrying out full engineering services covering structures, civils, building services, and carbon and energy, or any combination of the above.

Our new services include embodied carbon guardianship – where we calculate the embodied carbon associated with a construction project at stages throughout the process and offer proposals for reductions that take into account the structural, services, and architectural implications of the carbon savings. We can also offer one-off carbon calculations for awards submissions or reporting.

CircularDesignGraphic4Lifecycle Carbon Assessment of our refurbishment of the Hoover Building. This comes in just shy of 2000 tonnes of CO2e which words out as 355 kg CO2e/m2. This would meet the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge target for 2025. The services that snake through the building are a substantial contribution here, as is the secondary glazing.


Calculating embodied carbon is part of the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge that sets specific targets for domestic and non-domestic buildings for 2020-2030. The New London Plan also emphasises Circular Economy principles and requests embodied carbon information for referable and called in schemes.


Using RICS benchmarking data we can see that the refurbishment was far more carbon efficient than equivalent sized new-build. While we would never want to demolish the beautiful existing and Grade II* listed structure of the Hoover Building, analysing the embodied energy that went into the refurbishment compared with an equivalent new-build is an interesting reflection on what goes into a building and what we need to do to meet the RIBA 2030 challenge. The difference between the Hoover Building refurbishment and building a low embodied carbon new-build of the same area saves 1369 tonnes CO2e, the equivalent of 820 return flights to New York or 32,786 trees growing for ten years!


We can provide detailed advice on retrofit schemes; carry out inspections and appraisals of existing buildings, structures, and building services systems for refurbishment, re-use, or reclamation; we can monitor, evaluation and optimise in-use energy and water; and offer BREEAM Assessment Services.

We also have expertise in designing to circular economy principles; incorporating shared facilities and sharing infrastructure within schemes; and devising and delivering climate justice focused community engagement activities.

If the construction sector is to meet the climate challenge we’re faced with, we must shift dramatically away from a take, make, dispose culture too focused on outdated twentieth century design ethics and aesthetics, towards a circular economy that puts concern for the environment at its heart.