CASE STUDY: The Burrell Renaissance Project
*This case study is featured in UKGBC’s report, How Circular Economy Principles can impact carbon and value.
This project was a fabric-first retrofit out of a category A listed museum in Glasgow. The project focused on reducing the whole life carbon of the building, specifically the operational carbon. This was achieved by improving the energy efficiency of the building. Due to its listed status elements of the structure had to be reused for their historical value. The improvements to the building fabric and associated operational energy savings have created large cost savings for the running of the museum.
Key sustainability objectives/ outcomes
Achieved a BREEAM Excellent putting in the top 10% of energy-efficient buildings in the UK. This is a great achievement for the refurbishment of a Category A-listed building.
– The fabric-first approach enabled a 69% reduction in operational emissions.
– 4.5km of aluminium glazing bars were retained, saving over 8.5T new aluminium and preventing 100Tco2e associated with new aluminium production. This also created cost savings of around £100-500k. (1b)*.
– There was a closed-loop glass recycling process which meant 16 tonnes of the glass taken out was reprocessed into cullet, to create new architectural glass saving 4.8Tco2e. The remaining glass which could not be recycled into cullet was recovered and recycled into other second-use glass products. (5b)*
Notable approaches and solutions
The recycling of the glass back into new architectural glass is something that is rarely achieved in refurbishment projects and can create carbon savings for the project as well as reducing the resource extraction needed to produce the glass.
The aluminium glazing bars being retained were key from a conservation perspective. The bars were cleaned and strengthened to support the new glass as well as improving the performance elements of the bars to support the energy efficiency improvements needed. These upgrades which have improved the solar control, thermal and air tightness of the building will save 200 T co2 per annum.
- Not all principles (e.g., designing for flexibility) were feasible because of needing to preserve certain elements due to the listed building status.
- The glass recycling was a pilot process, but normally there would be logistical challenges with the glass recovery given limited collection infrastructure to take back glass.
- Aluminium bar retention required inspections and surveys to ensure the bars were fit for service; validation and warranties for aluminium were also more challenging to acquire vs buying new, but the client were happy to accept the risk given the carbon and cost savings and the retained heritage value.