In a small British coastal town, a business owner is brewing beer and storing it in his eco-friendly warehouse. In Greening Big Warehouses, Worldchanging team member Hana Loftus tells the story of how her father's company, growing increasingly more successful, needed to build a bigger warehouse. The decision to spend more initially to build the warehouse was easy, once all the information was laid out on the drawing board table.
...they commissioned their architects (a large, commercial practice) to cost two options: the absolutely standard steel facility that will meet their needs, and the greenest possible building with all the bells and whistles; and also to estimate the energy costs of the two. If they can make the sums add up, they will go with the green option. If not, tough.
Heres the surprise; the full-on eco version cost only 15 percent more than the standard. At the time it was first costed (2004), it would save them £23,000 per year in energy bills, enough to justify the investment. It opens in two weeks, and at this years energy costs, will save them £49,000 per year. Payback for the extra cost: around a decade, even if prices rise no further.
So whats so special about it? The longest timber glue laminated structural beams ever used in the UK 60m long - imported by sea to a port only 15 miles away, from sustainable Scandinavian forests. All the walls made of lime and locally grown hemp blocks, finished with roughcast lime render and lime and clay paint, with twice the thermal performance of traditional construction, and saving an estimated 450 tons of CO2 in the making. The largest green roof in the UK, at 0.6 hectares. Solar hot water heaters, no heating or cooling, rainwater collection and recycling, sustainable drainage, no asphalt, tree-planting, habitat creation; you name it, its there.Greening Big Warehouses is a part of our month long retrospective leading up to our anniversary on Oct. 1. For the next four weeks, we'll celebrate five years of solutions-based, forward-thinking and innovative journalism by publishing the best of the Worldchanging archives.