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Meet The NetZero Design Team

Meet the Team: Jaime Ingram, Head of Manufacturing Design

Our multi-award-winning developments are only made possible by our in-house team of talented architects and engineers.

We spoke to our Head of Manufacturing Design, Jaime Ingram (Architect ARB), about how NetZero Buildings is leading the way in the off-site construction sector – employing innovative designs and state-of-the-art technology to deliver high-quality, affordable and radically-efficient buildings with minimal disruption. 

Read on to find out how sustainability remains a priority when designing NetZero buildings...

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Collectively, how many years of experience are there within the team?
Overall, our team sums more than 40 years of design experience, with designers having very different backgrounds; from design and build practices to specialists in school, housing and interior design.

Are there any exciting designs coming in the future?

We have several exciting projects coming up. For example, we are participating in four government education projects and have several large school projects currently being designed. As well as this, we are also starting to roll out our new proposals for residential projects; these involve an initial development of six houses, which will then be followed by another 10 in the near future.

What are the benefits of NetZero Buildings’ uniquely-designed constructions?

We use structural insulated panels (SIPs) in our constructions – a high-performance building system that allows for the use of semi-skilled labour for manufacture in factory-controlled conditions. This enables rapid completion on site which can be easily achieved with less wet trades involved.

The panels are made up of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two boards which means the building also benefits from better insulation – making it easier and quicker to reach the required comfort temperature.

These two facts translate into lower building construction costs and lower or zero maintenance costs over the project life cycle – ultimately resulting in a building system that is extremely cost effective.

In order to reduce their environmental impact, we also design our buildings to consume as little energy as possible from clean, renewable sources. Waste is almost completely eliminated as well as vehicle movements to site, and the net carbon contribution of our buildings is substantially negative (-75 KgCO2 per annum compared to the industry benchmark of +66 kgCO22 per annum).

What’s more, we also design using Building Information Modelling, which is a more efficient way of designing that allows us to resolve construction site problems during the design phase using intelligent 3D elements.

As trends come and go, are there any timeless design aspects you always try to incorporate into your designs?

We design affordable buildings that have zero running costs and ultra-low life-cycle costs. We work with different cladding materials such as cedar, brick, solar photovoltaic panels and VIVIX® which enable us to achieve our clients’ needs in terms of the external aspect.

For us, energy efficiency is a core element of our designs and we fully believe in it – not just as a trend, but as a necessity to ensure our buildings meet the requirements for a sustainably-built future.

Are there any NetZero Buildings designs you are particularly proud of?

We are proud of all of our buildings, as we face every project with the same design principles of cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency and overall sustainability.

But some of our most successful designs include our projects for Biddenham International School in Bedfordshire and Redmoor Academy in Leicestershire (which was recognised as the ‘Low Energy Project of the Year’ in the 2017 Structural Timber Awards and ‘Energy Efficiency Project of the Year’ in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards).

With concerns around climate change growing, how does it feel to be at the forefront of the challenge?

It is a privilege to work in a company that has embraced the challenge of tackling the environmental impact of construction – by integrating it into the core of its design workflows. Beyond this, it is also very rewarding to provide schools with buildings that showcase the principles of sustainable design in practical ways that are aesthetically appealing, cost-efficient and environmentally sound as well.

What innovations do you believe are essential for radically-efficient buildings?

Energy-efficient buildings must be properly insulated from the outside environment. We achieve this through the use of prefabricated, concrete foundation insulated units, structural insulated wall and floor panels and prefabricated insulated roof units. Our airtight constructions also use efficient ventilation and heat recovery systems – as well as sustainable LED lighting systems driven by motion detection controls.

In terms of energy generation, our buildings run entirely from the energy provided by the photovoltaic panels included either on the roof or the façade. They also include monitoring equipment to provide a detailed breakdown of both energy consumption and generation.

How do your designs contribute to NetZero Buildings’ mission of reducing construction time, cost and the environmental impact of new buildings?

Our team is continuously exploring new ways to increase efficiencies in the design process.

We develop a company-specific library of BIM objects which allows us to quickly put together the building elements and check for issues before they are brought to site. This intelligent way of working also allows us to automate most of the repetitive tasks associated with the design process, such as quantification, dimensioning and drafting.

The development of all the building elements in a 3D environment also enables us to run energy simulations and analyse the performance of the building based on real construction and environmental data – before we go ahead with the manufacturing process. 

To find out more about how our innovative designs can help improve the energy efficiency and cost effectiveness of your school building(s), please contact us today.