Top ten eco-friendly buildings of the UK

Eco-friendly buildings are designed to have the minimum possible effect on the environment, with the architecture behind it addressing concerns about global warming and the depletion of natural resources. Sustainable materials, recycling, alternative energy, and energy efficiency are at the heart of eco-friendly architecture.

With its several green buildings, the UK is more than playing its part in the eco revolution. Here is a list of 10n of the most innovative examples. They include large office buildings, factories, and small houses:

1. Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, North Yorkshire

The design of the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre is based on recycling. Recycled tyres and inner tubes cover the roof. The reception desk is constructed from old boots, mobile phones and yogurt pots. At the end of the building’s life, there are plans to recycle everything in it.

The building is clad from wood harvested from the Dalby Forest, and wood chips from the forest power the boiler. A wind turbine and solar panel provide electricity.

2. Bloomberg HQ

The 10-storey Bloomberg office building in London is claimed to be the world’s most sustainable office space. It achieved a 98.5% global sustainable standard rating based on the Building Research Establishment Environmental Association Assessment Method (BREEAM).

The most dramatic feature of the building is the 4,000 ceiling panels that combine cooling, heating, lighting and acoustic functions. Half a million LED lights in the panels use 40% less power than conventional fluorescent lighting.

The building has a rainwater collection system on the roof. Eco toilets have a vacuum-drainage system that significantly reduces waste.

3. Waitrose Stratford City, London

The Waitrose store at Stratford City is the first retail store to be awarded BREEAM’s outstanding rating. The store is not connected to the electricity grid, but uses the nearby decentralized Westfield Energy Centre that has innovative energy efficiency technologies to supply many local buildings.

All waste food from the shop is sent to a digestion plant where it is converted to energy then sold to the national grid. Low-carbon lighting saves energy and cold air from the fridges cools the shop in warm weather.

4. Eden Foundation Building

The Eden Foundation Building at St Austell, Cornwall is another example of how recycling can be a design feature of eco-building. Old newspapers insulate the roof, floors, and walls. The building is completely free of PVC materials. The main structure sits on timber columns that minimise the use of cement.

5. The National Trust Headquarters, Swindon

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the greenest office buildings in the UK is the National Trust HQ in Swindon. Compared to similarly sized buildings, the property has 65% fewer carbon emissions. Solar roof panels provide 30% of the building’s electricity. Floors are covered in PVC free vinyl and water-based paints were used throughout the building. Carpets are made from the wool provided by flocks of Herdwick Sheep owned by the National Trust. Ventilation pipes on the roof are made from recycled beer cans.

6. Cockermouth School Eco Centre

Cockermouth School in West Cumbria is a miniature Eden Centre with three biomes that create different ecosystems, wet, alpine and arid. The paving slabs came from an old cinema and a wind turbine generates electricity.

The Eco Centre also has an Auditorium that seats 250 people, and a 40-person capacity seminar room

7. BowZed

BowZed in East London is a four-flat block that uses zero-fossil energy. None of the flats need central heating because the building is so well insulated. Electricity comes from a wind turbine and solar panels. A wood fire boiler heats the hot water. The building claims to produce more in renewable energy than it consumes.

Rainwater is collected and used for the toilets and to water the plants in the building’s garden. BowZed is a fine example of an urban structure that is designed to meet the Zero Energy Development standards.

8. Coburn House, Worcester

Not all eco-friendly buildings on this list are large. Coburn House in Worcester is a residential house that won the 2005 RIBA award for sustainability. Most of the material used to construct the house have a low impact on the environment. Clay from a local building site was used to make the walls. Recycled bottle caps were added to fixtures, and old newspapers provide insulation.

9. Dalguise Eco House, Perthshire

Many eco-friendly buildings are more expensive to construct than conventionally built ones. Alternative energy and energy efficiency technology makes them cheaper to run, so over the lifetime of the buildings, eco-friendly design costs compare well to non-eco-friendly buildings.

Dalguise House was an experiment sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry to design an eco-friendly house at a low cost. Natural local materials were used to build a high standard house with minimal impact on the environment.

The interior uses natural materials to make it safe for asthma and allergy sufferers. For example, earth masonry inner walls are finished with natural clay plaster. The house enjoys natural daylight, which reduces electricity demand

10. Kanes Eco Factory, Cotswolds

Kanes Eco Factory in the Cotswolds is a £30m salad factory opened in 2012. It has what is claimed to be the UK’s largest wildflower grass roof, where 90 species of wildflowers grow.

The factory has a carbon absorption system that prevents carbon emissions. Geothermal heat pumps control the temperature, while storm management systems deal with excessive rainwater and fill the pond environments that are home to mallard ducks, frogs, grass snakes, and toads.

The future

Eco-friendly architecture has been around for some time now, with some of the building in this list built in the early 2000s. There are many more eco-friendly buildings being built or currently in their planning stages.

The government has a target of zero carbon emissions by 2020, and there is a long way to go to achieve this goal. However, legislation is being introduced to raise the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Industry and architects are embracing sustainability and alternative energy sources, and better energy systems and materials are being developed that use minimal resources.

Posted by Mark
August 15, 2018

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