Pollinate: selected projects for 2023.


Pollinate provides time and space for research and development, bringing people together to work on innovative ideas.

In April we accepted submissions from across the firm, and our review panel has selected five ideas to take forward this year. These groups will now be given four weeks to research their proposals, exploring how their ideas could have an impact at Hoare Lea and beyond.

The review panel: Jennifer Pollard, Diego Schmider, Anna Kampani, Sam Wilkinson, Andrew Bullmore and Marina Konstantatou from Foster + Partners.

This year we are also launching Stage 2 of Pollinate, where a selection of last year’s Stage 1 projects are being developed further.

We’d like to thank everyone who submitted their ideas and we’re looking forward to receiving more in the future!

2023 Stage 1 Projects.

AI for 3D content creation and visualisation.

Anna Velarde, Cameron Steel, Isaac Waldron, Karam Bhamra, Ketan Avhad, Lahmy Mooketsi, Matthew Partridge, Michal Dengusiak, Rob Spry, Ryan de Mello, Scott Kluger and Joshua Welch.

AI has caused an explosion in the field of digital content creation. ‘Artwork’ can now be ‘generated’ by anyone, simply by typing a few words.

Real-time game engines provide powerful tools for designers, artists, and developers to create complex 3D environments quickly and efficiently, but utilising AI and machine learning powered techniques could transform the way we work.

We want to increase our understanding of these technologies and see if it can be used to improve our processes, so we will be exploring AI for 3D content creation and 3D visualisation.

Our hope is to discover ways we could use AI to make our in-house modelling and design generation tasks more efficient and potentially help democratise our modelling and visualisation capabilities in the future.

Better control of ventilation to support energy saving and healthy indoor environments.

Chris Brooker, Alex Johnson, Christelle Escoffier and Will Reynolds.

Through this research we hope to achieve a better understanding of the datasets of innovative health-based approaches to ventilation design.

Large datasets on ventilation performance and indoor environment parameters are recorded in our servers from various projects. We will use this performance and environmental data to inform how we reduce energy consumption and create healthy indoor spaces. We will then build data storage with smart access and create tools to analyse and interpret this dataset to provide information on trends and correlations.

Over the next four weeks we hope to provide insight on:

• additional monitoring requirements
• how to further develop indoor air quality policy
• regulations and emission limits

Exploring circular economy solutions for MEP equipment and installations.

Claire Brierley, Denny Shaba, Ebony Stephenson, Sohil Varghese-Samson, Asha Sreekumar, Sanjoli Tuteja and Shins Moolakkatt.

Within construction, the transition to a circular economy (CE) is building momentum, however, there has been little focus on MEP equipment. In the linear economy, MEP equipment typically ends up in waste streams destined for landfill, recycling or downcycling.

Our proposal is to research the current industry landscape around CE options for MEP equipment, including:

• current market availability
• gaps in the market for equipment types
• the barriers and enablers to CE MEP solutions

We will explore and learn from CE solutions and models that are being successfully implemented for similar equipment types within different industries. The research may also lead to the identification of innovation opportunities which could be developed.

The hope is that our outputs will support us in becoming market leaders in circularity.

Part L and NHS NZC Compliance for NHS Buildings.

Bruce Elrick, Hywyn Jones, Rob Grove and Roy Brine.

All NHS schemes require assessment against the NHS Net Zero Carbon Toolkit but while working on recent projects, we flagged significant challenges and failings against Part L compliance. To seek clarity, this project will undertake a review of recent projects and assess their compliance with NHS NZC and Part L requirements and compare methodology and results.

We will review the NHS NZC toolkit document and highlight issues that are subject to interpretation or are ambiguous. We will then provide a checklist and guidance to various disciplines to inform Part L and NHS NZC design and flag any data input criteria/derogations.

We hope to develop our relationship with the authors of the NHS NZC Toolkit to better understand their thinking on how it should be applied.

Water neutrality strategy.

David Sorisi, Mike Best and Mike Jones.

Water supply stress and scarcity is becoming an increasing concern for all countries around the globe, and it is estimated that our water demand has grown at twice the rate of the population.

Clients are becoming more aware of water resource management and the impact on the environment. We are aware that there isn’t one solution that fits all and we need to be confident in advising our clients on the best outcome. Institutes, local water authorities and planning authorities are already recognising the need to control the use of water and can clearly forecast the dangers if it is ignored.

Through our research, we are hoping to define the Hoare Lea Water Neutrality offer and understand what water neutrality means in the UK built environment and what we can offer our clients in the future.

2023 Stage 2 Projects.

Anthropogenic Noise on Terrestrial Animals.

Adam Scott

The World Health Organization notes noise to be one of the most important environmental risks to human health because we (humans) produce anthropogenic noise. Despite this, the potential impacts of noise and vibration on terrestrial animals is rarely assessed.

Based on current research, it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions in terms how and when anthropogenic noise impacts wildlife. How animals interact with sound is a complex question, and in the presence of nothing definitive, there is of course, no accountability for anyone potentially generating noise.

There are considerable gaps between the skill sets and knowledge possessed by ecologists and acousticians. but a quantitative guidance document could bridge this gap. We are putting together a working group that will investigate the impacts of anthropogenic noise on terrestrial animals are ensure it is given due consideration at planning stage.

Metaverse Wellbeing Space.

Anna Velarde, James Buck, Paul Hanna, Karam Bhamra, Adam Hussain, and Matthew Partridge.

We want to develop a platform specifically designed for an immersive digital experience where users join a shared space to engage in introspection, find inspiration, and clear their minds. We are aiming to create an environment that is not only relaxing and intriguing, but also thought-provoking that users can navigate through seamlessly.

We have completed our research, finalized our concept and created a digital space in phase 1. For phase 2, we will focus on developing and then packaging the digital space. This would enable us to share the immersive space with a wider audience, starting with Hoare Lea, and potentially expanding its reach to include social media platforms.

Our objective is to make a positive impact on people’s wellbeing, while also engaging with collaborators, clients, and industry professionals. Additionally, we aim to utilize this platform as a marketing tool to showcase the creative aspect of Hoare Lea.

Refrigerant Leakage Carbon Emissions

John Pirouet, Matthew Daniel, Phil Mannis and Will Belfield.

In Phase 1 we looked at data that revealed how much leakage was being measured in refrigeration systems installed in operational buildings. This information strengthens our understanding of the life cycle carbon emissions in this area.

We discovered that the recording of this data was not as extensive as hoped and this has led us down a different path for phase 2. Further research of the carbon impact of refrigerant based systems is very much needed to accurately advise clients on potential heating and cooling solutions, both for new builds and refurbishments/plant replacements.

We will engage more external parties, to broaden both the data available and the awareness of the issue at hand. We plan to engage further with:

– maintenance contractors, (to understand the challenges they face in recording leakage rates)
– manufacturers, (to establish how product innovation can make the process simpler and products less impactful on the environment)
– clients, (to build awareness of the issue and build momentum for a change in how buildings are managed)
– industry bodies, (to encourage improved compliance monitoring)

Wildlife Friendly Buildings.

Adam Scott and Katie Smart

We want to encourage landlords and developers to welcome nature to their buildings.

Currently, there is little engagement with existing building owners/occupiers about the biodiversity of their buildings, or the damage that they may be doing to the local habitat.

For example, if a client was open to bird-friendly design solutions to mitigate the risk of bird collisions onto glazed facades, how much would it cost them? What value would it have? We intend to create a tool that enables engineers to engage with clients and answer these questions. Ecological habitats are not valuable in isolation – how they relate to other habitats is important.

A flat roof provides great nesting opportunities for some species or bird, yet adds little value overall if there is no surrounding foraging habitat to support them. By incorporating suitable decision matrices, our tool will allow engineers to advise ‘off the shelf’ ways of making buildings more wildlife friendly.