Our open platform for research and innovation: Pollinate 2022


Final projects.

Earlier this year, we launched Pollinate. This firmwide initiative aimed to bring people together to provide the time and space to research and develop innovative ideas.

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.

– Theodore Levitt

We gave everyone the opportunity to submit a research proposal and the theme for this year was Human Nature and exploring our relationship with it through the lens of the built environment.

From the 18 proposals we received, our review panel has selected seven ideas to take forward this year. These groups will now be given four weeks of time to bring their concepts to life; delivering real, tangible ideas that could have an impact at Hoare Lea and beyond.

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

Without further ado, we’re pleased to share the winners of Pollinate 2022.

Anthropogenic noise on terrestrial animals.

Adam Scott & Mark Cope

When are the behavioural and health effects experienced by terrestrial animals, due to anthropogenic (human generated) noise impacts, considered unacceptable?

Using quantitative criteria for determining noise impacts and noise data provided by acousticians, ecologists would have a more robust basis for assessing the impacts of anthropogenic noise on terrestrial animals. Subsequent effects would be assessed by ecologists, based on the importance of how certain behaviours imposed on different species influence their ability to survive and reproduce.

The large range of differences between animals cognitively and in terms of their physical auditory systems makes defining numeric criteria challenging. Therefore, initially, numeric ranges are to be provided for clusters of ecological species, to highlight potential impacts based on current research.

This project intends to provoke further collaboration with ecologists, to develop our understanding of where anthropogenic noise effects on animals are likely to occur, and to incentivise academic research where gaps in our understanding remain.

Metaverse wellbeing space.

Anna Velarde & James Buck

As a lighting team, we care about the connection between humans and nature, and we know that nature connectedness can reduce stress and anxiety levels. So, when time is precious or the demand of work is high, we want to show people another way to experience it. Our idea is to develop a 3D digital space and create an immersive experience for the user with a strong connection to nature, sensory elements, and light. Our aim is for this experience to have a positive impact on visitor’s mood and well-being whilst also demonstrating a more creative and artistic side of Hoare Lea.

To achieve this, we are going to use 3D software to model an environment and export it in a way that can be shared through a link and viewed with computers, phones, or VR devices. The plan is to share the experience internally within Hoare Lea and, if successful, release to a wider audience through our website, social media & email. The experience will take you on a journey to this virtual space. Due to the nature of the project, there is the opportunity for it to evolve.

Wildlife friendly buildings.

Ardalan Saboori, Roger Macklin, Mark Chapman, Mark Cope & Adam Scott

Currently we do not engage with existing building owners / occupiers about the biodiversity of their buildings or indeed the damage that they may be doing to the local habitat due to its very existence. We will develop general guidance for engineers to help them engage with clients. As part of this guidance we will look to see how we might estimate the value of physical capital (Biodiversity Net Gain offset costs, productivity gains due to the presence of a biodiverse environment, direct impacts on equipment performance). Part of this will be specific to understand, explore and further develop bird-friendly design solutions to mitigate risk of bird collisions onto glazed facades as well as impact on building performance, sustainability, maintenance and well-being of the occupants.

Ecological habitats are not valuable in isolation, so how they relate to other habitats is important e.g. a flat roof provides great nesting opportunities for some species or bird, but useless if there is no surrounding foraging habitat to support them. Perhaps different levels of measurement could be proposed. We would look to develop a tool that would allow engineers to advise ‘off the shelf’ ways of making buildings more biodiversity-friendly.

Embodied carbon material performance.

David Linville-Boud, Kael Gillam, Jonathan Rush, Neha Sharma, John Pirouet, Chris Brooker & Matthew Daniel

The aim of our cross-disciplinary proposal is to analyse materials and usage data and create in-house databases for life cycle carbon emissions in Lighting equipment, Acoustic materials, and Refrigerant Systems. The databases will streamline our design processes and give us a better understanding of the environmental impact of the systems we employ.


The aim of the acoustics proposal is to develop an in-house dynamic database of naturally sourced and/or sustainable acoustic materials/ products that focus on futuristic aspects of high-performance buildings.


The research of carbon impact of refrigerant based systems will strengthen our understanding of the life cycle carbon emissions which will provide us with the information we need to accurately advise clients on potential heating and cooling upgrades.


The Lighting group plans to create a database for embodied and operational carbon of luminaires to better inform our design choices and our impact in the wider context of sustainability.

Human-centric workplaces.

Jonathan Rush, Kathryn Woolley, Imogen Christodoulou, Philip Pointer, James Buck, Scott Kluger, Jeremy Butt & Magnus Leask

Our North Star has two focusses: Planet Conscious and Human Centric.
So far on our North Star journey there have been some fantastic developments in measuring and defining Carbon impacts of projects. This has been extremely positive and meets our commitments to designing “Planet Conscious” spaces.

Our Pollinate idea starts the journey of investigation into the less quantitative, human side of our North Star commitment.
Most industry certification schemes focus on WELLBEING as opposed to a more holistic view on what is human-centric. They do not often cover the more behavioural / psychological influences that are important for a human centric space. By moving away from “wellbeing” as an outcome and focusing on “human centric” we hope we can create a yardstick on which successfully designed buildings can be benchmarked.

The first phase of this project will be to provide a report that benchmarks a more human centric approach to defining spaces. This will propose a theoretical set of targets, within the confines of the services we provide, which we hypothesise will lead to a better, more human centric designed workplace which could either be tested within our own offices or presented to clients.

Climate-based lighting design.

Scott Kluger, Chris Fox, Juan Ferrari & Ruth Kelly Waskett

Using our London office, Western Transit Shed, as a case study, we’ll explore how lighting energy can be reduced in two ways: First, by harnessing the daylight that’s available in the space, and secondly by exploring how to reduce the energy consumption of the artificial lighting system.

We’ll carry out climate-based daylight analysis to give us a detailed understanding of daylight availability all year round. This will inform upgrading the lighting control system, ensuring that artificial lighting is dimmed when there is sufficient daylight. The simulation model gives us the opportunity to explore how the shading controls can be improved, to ensure that they’re not blocking out daylight when they don’t need to.

Turning to the artificial lighting, we’ll explore potential energy savings by upgrading the existing lighting technology to LED. Finally, we’ll consider the output of the artificial lighting when there is less natural light. We want to challenge conventional office lighting guidance on what is required in today’s workplaces, where activities are largely about face-to-face communication, video conferencing and screen-based tasks.

The legal design revolution for humans.

Marco Mendola

Let’s commit to use more clear and transparent terms in our communication when dealing with legal documents, both internally and with clients. We need to put back relationships at the centre.

At Hoare Lea, when we embark on a project with a client, we do not want just to deliver engineering services, we aim much higher. Following our North Star Manifesto, our philosophy is clear: we are human-centric and planet-conscious. Relationships are the core of human nature. We need to build up positive relationships to improve our chances to succeed in life. It starts internally with our colleagues, it goes further externally with our clients, and up to environment we are living in.

We can use Legal Design! Legal Design is “an interdisciplinary approach to apply human-centred design to prevent or solve legal problems. It prioritizes the point of view of ‘users’ of the law. The objective is to make the legal system more human-centred and effective, through the use of design” (provided by the Legal Design Alliance). Empathise + Define + Ideate + Prototype + Test.