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Adnams Distribution Centre

By Emma Hibbert, also posted in News on

Adnams distribution centrePicture this A building hidden away in the rolling East Anglian countryside barely visible to the naked eye; a building so in tune with the environment that the very British rain that falls on it is used internally and the sunshine powers the activity inside. Why take the environmental option? Adnams is a values-led business – doing things right across everything we do. When we had the opportunity to develop a brand new distribution centre, we could have built a crinkly tin shed, but instead we took the opportunity to put our values into practice and build one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the country. Too good to be true A year after moving in, we estimate that compared to our old distribution centre, we are saving 40% electricity and 10% gas per m2. Good for the environment and good for business too. Glulam beams Made from laminated wood from sustainable sources. The beams are the longest glulam beams in the UK and by opting for renewable building materials such as glulam, we have reduced our reliance on steel. Garden on the roof This is the largest sedum roof in the UK. Sedum is a carpet of thick fleshy plants, which not only gives structural and aesthetic benefits but many environmental ones too.  Sedum provides insulation, keeping a building warm in winter and cool in summer. It also helps to filter out pollutants from the air and purifies it Not a drop wasted Excess rainwater from the sedum roof is harvested and used to wash the lorries and flush the loos. We store the surplus in three lagoons so we can still flush the loo when it’s not raining! Keeping it cool The warehouse is similar to a cellar and must be kept at a constant temperature of 11 degrees centigrade. All of the environmental features of the building, combined with a door release system that creates an insulation tunnel, and the fact that the building has been built in a disused gravel pit means that the temperature remains at the desired 11 degrees without the need for any refrigeration units. Amazing. Lime and hemp walls Bricks made from locally-grown hemp lime and chalk are more energy-efficient to manufacture and help to regulate the internal temperature. The blocks hadn’t been used on such a large scale before, so we had to invest machinery to make enough of them for our building. Bright spark Natural daylight is maximised to reduce the need for artificial lighting. But where it is necessary, we have fitted light sensors to automatically switch off the lights when no-one is in that part of the building. Sun Power Photo-voltaic cells in the roof provide 80% of our hot water. Award winning It’s not just us who love this building – other people have been impressed too. See a list of recent awards.

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Emma Hibbert

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