HS2 Interchange First Station in the World to Get Environmental ‘Outstanding’ Grade

The new HS2 Interchange, which will be built as part of Phase 1 near Solihull and the NEC in the West Midlands has been awarded the ‘outstanding’ certificate for sustainability by BREEAM – the internationally leading sustainability assessment method for infrastructure projects and buildings.

BREEAM – the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method – has awarded HS2’s Interchange the interim certificate of ‘outstanding’ at the design stage. It is the first railway station in the world to achieve this classification.

HS2 Interchange
Aerial view of HS2 Interchange Station

‘Outstanding’ is the top classification and puts HS2’s Interchange in the top 1 percent of buildings in the UK with regards to sustainability. The award took into account the fact that the station will maximise natural daylight and ventilation, the station roof design which can capture and reuse rainwater, and features that will allow for net-zero carbon emissions from daily energy consumption.

For instance, the use of natural daylight and ventilation will keep the need for carbon as low as possible. Energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting and air-source heat pumps will also be used. And the Interchange and the Automated People Mover maintenance facility will have a combined 2000 square metres of solar panels.

Rainwater, collected from the main station building, will be fed into a rainwater harvesting tank under ground. With an estimated volume of 150 cubic metres it will cut mains water demand at the station. The landscaping will make use of sustainable drainage systems to lower the impact on surface water drainage. It will at the same time irrigate planted areas and the natural habitats around the station will increase the site’s biodiversity.

The station’s plans include cycle storage for 176 bicycles. Passengers accessing the station by bicycle can do so from the north, west and south-east through a mixture of dedicated routes. HS2 says there is additional space for cycle storage, depending on demand. There will also be a dedicated pedestrian access route to the station from the east.

Peter Miller, Environment and Town Planning Director, HS2, said:

“Our aim is to design, construct and operate HS2 to reduce carbon and to minimise the effect of the project on the environment. Our stations will be amongst the most environmentally friendly stations in the world, so this certification is fantastic news for Interchange station. In building the station, we are also committed to sourcing and making efficient use of sustainable materials, reducing waste and maximising the proportion of material diverted from landfill.

“All leading environmental organisations agree that climate change is the biggest future threat to wildlife and habitats in the UK. By providing a cleaner, greener way to travel, HS2 will help cut the number of cars and lorries on our roads, cut demand for domestic flights, and help the country’s drive to net zero carbon emissions.”

HS2 began working with BREEAM on its Infrastructure pilot project with the strategic goals of setting new standards for the construction and railway sectors and being an exemplar project in engaging with local communities, sustainability and respecting the environment. HS2 committed to meeting BREEAM Infrastructure standards for enabling works, main works civils, and rail systems, aspiring for an ‘excellent’ classification.

Chris Boradbent, BRE Director of Infrastructure, said:

“From 2014 HS2 was the first project to engage with BRE in the development of BREEAM Infrastructure working with us to pioneer a new approach to a sustainability strategy which applies right across the entire HS2 project. this is a first for the UK and it will set the standards for future infrastructure projects around the world.”

The station design scored highly on a number of criteria, such as health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology, and pollution. HS2 has also committed to a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) of the building to assess its energy and water usage against the design predictions.

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