Sustainable design

This tool provides guidance to support the project team in evaluating and selecting sustainable design features to improve the sustainability performance of their projects. It is primarily a guide to support design phase activities, along with references to activities taking place during construction and operational phases to raise awareness of sustainability considerations through the project lifecycle.

This ‘Sustainable Design Guide’ focuses on public transport buildings and infrastructure – Centro Sustainable Design Guide 

To achieve this, the guide sets out a number of sustainable design initiatives and measures that are applicable to a range of different public transport projects. These initiatives are accompanied by an evaluation method to aid project teams during design decision-making process.

This Guide will help project teams to embed sustainability initiatives in their projects by supporting them through the design decision-making process and business case development. Its focus includes integrating sustainable design measures into the development of new public transport infrastructure projects and refurbishments including:

  • Bus and Rail Stations;
  • Bus and Metro Stops; and
  • Park and Rides.

This Guide should be used in conjunction with the Centro Design Guide Research Report. The Evidence base was developed as the first phase of this project and includes information and case studies to support sustainability initiatives presented within this Guide.

The broad structure of the evidence base incorporates:

Part One – Introduction: provides an introduction to the purpose, format and limitations of this report;

Part Two – Background: introduces the concept of sustainable development, applicability to Centro, and objectives of the Centro Sustainable Design Guide project;

Part Three – Policy Context: explains the national, regional/local and corporate drivers for sustainable design in Centro’s building and infrastructure projects;

Part Four – Building Form: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to façade performance, air tightness, thermal mass, natural daylight;

Part Five – Mechanical & Electrical Systems: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to low-energy light fittings, lighting controls, low energy ventilation and heat recovery, passive heating and cooling;

Part Six – Low and Zero Carbon Energy: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to ground coupling, solar water heating, photovoltaics, climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies, other appropriate technologies;

Part Seven – Water Services: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to dual flush WCs, waterless urinals, infrared controlled taps, spray/aerating mixer taps, flow control valves to water supplies, low-flow rate showers, grey water recycling, rainwater harvesting;

Part Eight – Materials: selection of low energy materials, appropriate materials, recycled aggregate, cement, sourcing local suppliers;

Part Nine – Waste Management: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to recycling, site waste management (also during construction);

Part Ten – Biodiversity: provides information on design initiatives, products and services relating to green and brown roofing, biodiversity by design, habitat management (e.g. tree retention/replacement/maintenance, etc.);

Part Eleven – Landscaping: provides information on design initiatives, products and services related to landscape management, streetscape, sustainable drainage;

Part Twelve – Social and Community Benefit: provides high level information on design initiatives, products and services relating to health and wellbeing, personal safety, accessibility, amenity;

Part Thirteen – Supporting the Local Economy: guides on mechanisms to support local economic activity through Centro’s projects; and

Part Fourteen – Climate Change Mitigation / Adaptation: provides guidance on the likely impacts of climate change that may affect Centro infrastructure, and design can help to mitigate or adapt to these impacts.

Example of the structure of part 3 – 11:

Building Form – Design Initiative, Product or Service

  • Objective of initiative
  • Applicability of initiative to each type of public transport building/infrastructure
  • Implications of Implementation, detailing strengths and weaknesses
  • Specialist Sourcing and Maintenance Requirements Revenue Implications, in terms of sourcing, installation, maintenance and operation
  • Funding Opportunities, where applicable
  • Contribution to Certification Frameworks

A separate document has been prepared to summarise the relevant Assessment Frameworks linked to sustainable design, outlining how each design initiative aligns with the BREEAM and CEEQUAL assessment schemes.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration 0
Enhance intermodality 0
Enhance liveability 0
Increase safety and security conditions 0
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy 0
Increase environmental efficiency ++
Increase energy efficiency ++

Good practice

There are a number of examples across Europe that illustrate good practice sustainable design, some of which are illustrated in the Centro Sustainable Design Guide Evidence Base referred to in the above link (the Evidence Base – Arup, April 2010). These include the redevelopment of Stuttgart main station, Germany, which incorporates use of daylight to reduce building energy requirements for electrical lighting.

Potential interchange performance improvement

The guide is intended to assist promoters and designers with determining what are the most appropriate sustainable design measures that could be integrated into the designs of a scheme.


To use the guide is free of charge and it is relatively easy to understand, but may require appropriate experts / professionals to enable it to be fully understood and used in the design process.


Richard Booth, Centro –

Sustainable Design Guide

BREEAM and CEEQUAL assessment schemes are available within the NODES Toolbox