Reuse, building design & landscape

The careful design of a building/alteration/extension and its surroundings can not only improve the appearance of the whole site but also minimise any adverse environmental impact of the building across its lifespan.

If you are planning new buildings, extensions or alterations to an existing building, you should check with Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council's Planning Section or the North York Moors National Park Authority as to whether it is a Listed Building or located within a Conservation Area. Planners may specify the material to be used for replacement doors and windows, for example, to ensure they are in keeping with the local area.

'Development' is not just about new buildings. Existing buildings have taken a large amount of time and energy to build. Can they be reused or refurbished? Older buildings can give a place a sense of continuity and context. Many old buildings have been given new lives very different from their initial uses. Thought should be given to considerate refurbishment. What elements of the old building can be kept to preserve what may be great charm or character? What can be salvaged from a demolition to provide the raw-materials for new-build?

When starting from scratch, think about the orientation of your building. Traditional buildings were often built facing the sun. Ensuring that the main rooms are south facing will enable 'passive solar gain' and will improve energy efficiency. Daylighting reduces the need for artificial lighting and passive solar gain reduces heating bills. Minimise windows on north-facing elevations. A south-facing conservatory (double glazed or better) with access from principal rooms will also gain the benefit of passive solar heating and reduced heating requirements.

The appropriate building design can:
  • Limit pollution to levels which are not harmful to us or to the environment
  • Use land, energy and water efficiently
  • Provide affordable warmth and a healthy, comfortable place to live or work
  • Ensure the building is easily maintained.
A well-designed building will incorporate space for the dry storage of recyclable materials such as paper, bottles and jars, and metal. Collection of rainwater in butts can be designed into new developments or retrofitted in most cases. Low water fittings, spray head taps & low flush WC designs can be installed to minimise water use. Larger developments should consider channelling wastewater to landscaping areas or wetlands.

Major environmental benefits can be obtained by appropriate landscaping of a development site. Landscape and buildings should be thought of as a whole. Start by an audit of what is there already and can be integrated into new work. Preference should be given to planting shrubs and trees that are native to the UK and, ideally, to the region. Trees of an appropriate size and species can increase the ecological value of a site. Larger landscaping schemes may afford the opportunity to create ponds and wetlands, or wildflower rich grassland.
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Last updated:
24/02/2016

Assigned review date:
18/02/2017

Awaiting page content review by the allocated team


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