The Sainsbury’s store in Greenwich, which I worked on with Paul Hinkin of Black Architecture in the late 1990s is set to be demolished to make way for a big blue IKEA box, despite its being regarded as the most influential retail building worldwide in the last 30 years (Building Services Journal).
The Greenwich Council Planning website is open for comments on the IKEA Outline Application which requires the demolition of Sainsbury’s. I urge you to make a brief comment in support of retaining this important building.
My comments on the application are reproduced below:
The Greenwich Sainsbury’s was the first retail store to achieve BREEAM ‘excellent’, long before this requirement was adopted into planning policy. The original design achieved a 50% reduction in Carbon emissions at a time when the Building Regulations did not even measure Carbon. Further, the design focused on minimising the fundamental need for energy, rather than simply displacing energy supply from the grid to renewables. If a new building’s Carbon performance is predicated on renewables, then when the technologies eventually fail the building’s full demand will revert to the grid. By contrast the Sainsbury’s store will always be a low Carbon store by virtue of its fundamental design.
It is an appalling waste of resources and completely unsustainable to allow this store to be demolished so soon after construction. It is unfeasible that this should have come about by Sainsbury’s being able to place restrictions on the re-use of the existing building. Greenwich Planning Committee could make a strong statement about sustainability by calling for any restrictive covenant to be set aside and the building retained.
If the existing Sainsbury’s Store must be demolished please consider conditioning all of the building fabric improvements and energy efficiency measures set out in the Energy Assessment produced by Envision Energy in support of the IKEA application. Energy saving design is expensive compared to general construction and is typically value engineered out prior to contract. Without the full set of features described in the Energy Assessment, you would be left with a standard store design, compliant with the Building Regulations, but no more.
With regard to renewable energy, the IKEA development should aim to utilise the ground source energy potential left as a legacy by the Sainsbury’s store. Boreholes were sunk to serve as heat rejection for food refrigeration in the Sainsbury’s and these could be repurposed to serve a ground source, space heating and cooling system. This would be preferable to adding heavy goods vehicles delivering woodchip in an already congested part of South London, or the installation of photovoltaics, which essentially relies on offsetting to achieve Carbon abatement.