HS2’s Birmingham Curzon Street Station Design Achieves 55% Carbon Reduction

posted on 5th Aug 2020 08:37

The new HS2 Curzon Street station, designed by a team in Birmingham, is set to reduce carbon emissions by an unprecedented 55 %, will achieve net zero carbon emissions from regulated energy consumption and use a range of technologies to generate energy from renewable sources. Through innovative design, there are over forty opportunities for carbon reduction, resulting in a reduction in the station’s lifetime emissions by over 87,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent – that’s the same as removing the emissions of over 10,000 houses, or the equivalent of travelling 500 million km in a car.

The station will achieve net zero carbon emissions from energy consumed to operate building integrated systems, like heating, cooling and lighting through reducing energy demand and consumption – for example by using LED lighting – and generating low carbon energy through 2,855 m2 of solar panels on the platform canopies and Ground Source Heat Pumps. It will also transform a previously deprived area of land into a new green public realm in the heart of Birmingham city centre to serve future generations.

The HS2 Curzon Street team, with WSP as lead consultant, Grimshaws as building architect, and Grants Associates as landscape and public realm lead, have been working for over two years to achieve a striking architectural statement that also minimises impacts on the environment, while creating opportunities for businesses and communities alike. 

WSP’s flagship Midlands office is in Birmingham’s iconic Mailbox, where 160 people, including a number of apprentices, have worked together to engineer sustainable, resilient outcomes, putting the new station at the forefront of innovations in green infrastructure. Innovations include rainwater harvesting, the use of photovoltaics and incorporating recycled or renewable materials. There are also opportunities to use low carbon energy, reduce embedded carbon in construction materials, and reduce carbon emissions from construction work.

Details of the key environmental innovations include:

- Pre-fabricated timber soffit units, which are 27 times more carbon efficient than steel comparators, will be installed in the main station roof.
- Paving in the public realm has been reduced in depth by 38% (to 50mm) to reduce embodied carbon.
- Elements throughout the building have been designed for future flexibility and deconstruction. For example, the main concourse has a high single span roof (over 300 m in length) that does not require internal support through vertical columns, so space beneath can be adapted for future uses.
- 100% recycled content steel roof sections comprise only seven variations and will be bolted together, rather than welded. 
- A brand new, dedicated area of habitat will be planted on the site through the creation of 0.4 heactares of native woodland trees, incorporating a woodland glade. 
- Curzon Street will also celebrate the archaeological remains of one of the world's first and largest steam-train roundhouses, which was uncovered on the site.

The station will form an integral part of major new transport changes for the city as a whole, incorporating the Midland Metro running alongside and underneath the station, new pedestrian routes and access to new local bus and train services.

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