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As architects, we have a responsibility to design buildings that are sustainable, energy-efficient, and kind to the environment. One way to achieve this is through the use of heat pumps.

In this blog post, we will explore what heat pumps are, how they work, and why they are a great choice for sustainable design in the Bristol and South West area.

What are Heat Pumps?

Heat pumps are a renewable energy technology that can be used to heat and cool buildings. They work by extracting heat from the air or ground and transferring it to the building's heating system. This process is highly efficient and can provide up to four units of heat for every one unit of electricity used.

How do Heat Pumps Work?

There are two main types of heat pumps: air source and ground source. Air source heat pumps extract heat from the air outside the building, while ground source heat pumps extract heat from the ground beneath the building.

Both types of heat pumps use a similar process to extract heat. The heat pump absorbs heat from the air or ground and transfers it to a refrigerant fluid. The fluid is then compressed, which increases its temperature. The hot refrigerant is then used to heat water, which is circulated around the building's heating system. During summer, the process can be reversed, and the heat pump can provide cooling


Why are Heat Pumps a Great Choice for Sustainable Design?

There are many reasons why heat pumps are a great choice for sustainable design:

  • Energy Efficiency: Heat pumps are highly energy-efficient and can provide up to four units of heat for every one unit of electricity used. This means that they are much more efficient than traditional heating systems, such as boilers.

  • Renewable Energy: Heat pumps are a renewable energy technology and can help to reduce your carbon footprint. They do not rely on fossil fuels and can provide heating and cooling without producing any greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Cost-Effective: Although the initial cost of installing a heat pump can be high, they are generally more cost-effective than traditional heating systems in the long run as heat pumps are highly efficient which will overall reduce energy costs.

  • Self-Build: Heat pumps are a great choice for self-build projects. They can be easily integrated into the design of a new build and can help to achieve high levels of energy efficiency.

Heat Pumps in the Bristol and South West Area

The Bristol and South West area is a great location for heat pumps. The region has a mild climate, which makes air source heat pumps particularly effective. Ground source heat pumps can also be a good option, as the ground temperature is relatively constant throughout the year although there are further considerations with ground source heat pumps such as excavating a suitable sized area to lay the pipework.

If you are considering a heat pump for your project in the Bristol and South West area, it is important to choose a reputable supplier who has experience installing heat pumps in the region. They will be able to advise you on the most appropriate type of heat pump for your project and ensure that it is installed correctly.

Heat pumps are a great choice for sustainable design in the Bristol and South West area. They are highly energy-efficient, renewable, cost-effective, and can be easily integrated into self-build projects.

As part of our deliverables, we produce as standard floor plans, elevations, and 3D perspective images to express our design ideas and concepts. However, for some this could be quite limiting in visualising what the final design could look like. To accompany the standard drawings, we also share the 3D models developed through the design stage so clients can ‘walkthrough’ the design proposal from the comfort of their own home. This is a very interactive experience and can allow for the exploration of the design by using a keyboard and mouse to move around, much like a video game.

To provide a more immersive experience we have also begun developing short video walkthroughs which focus on the main area of the design proposal. The video walkthrough above focuses on a rear garden extension that we are preparing for planning and provides a detailed understanding of the volume, scale, materiality, movement around & connections to adjacent spaces, exterior views, access to natural light, etc. We really enjoy working in a variety of mediums to provide our clients with the most immersive experience and look forward to posting more of these short walkthroughs.



Following a few planning obstacles, we are very pleased to announce that we have succesfully achieved planning permission for the construction of a new storey to a bungalow in Portishead.

Two prior extensions have created a very fragmented interior layout and a number of exterior material finishes. Part of the design process was to create a building that has more coherence to the habitable spaces and the exterior finish. We believe we have achieved this rather well by reorganising much of the existing ground floor to work with the new storey and by proposing stone to clad the lower ground floor walls, maintaining the existing render and introducing timber for the ground floor, and using cork to clad the walls of the new storey above. The clients had a very good idea of the external material finishes they wanted to use and we made sure to work with them to achieve their ambitions.

We are now preparing to move this project into the technical design stage in which we will begin detailing the building fabric and the external materials to be used. The additional storey will be built to the highest quality finishes and materials which justify the spectaclar site position which has views overlooking Bristol Estuary to the north and west. Solar panels are planned for the south facing roofs to generate energy on site

We will continue to post news and updates to this project as work develops.

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