Fabric First

We advocate implementing the simplest low energy, passive design decisions, as the baseline in order that energy consumption and carbon emissions are reduced.

Footprint Architects adopt a fabric-first approach to all buildings that we design.


Enhancing the thermal envelope and airtightness beyond Building Regulations is a simple but highly effective measure in reducing energy consumption and fuel poverty.

This low-tech approach ensures that the buildings we create are easy to operate, have low running costs, are simple to maintain, and are healthy and comfortable environments to live in.


Focusing on improving the building fabric from the beginning is more sustainable than relying on bolt-on energy saving products, or renewable technologies. Is approach often works out cheaper and creates buildings that are easier to use and maintain.

7 Steps to a Fabric First Approach

  • High levels of insulation to keep the heat in

  • Maximising airtightness

  • Positioning windows to maximise heating from the sun in the winter

  • Using thermal mass to store and slowly release heat in the winter

  • Using thermal mass keep the heat out in the summer

  • Orientating the building to maximise shading and reduce the need for air conditioning or cooling in the summer

  • Using fresh air to naturally ventilate a building

Relevant Projects