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Top 10 Eco-Buildings

It is thought that one day in the future, all new buildings in the UK will be what we now consider to be eco-buildings. There isn't one particular set of things an eco-building needs to do to gain this generic label, but generally it will include everything from the materials used for construction to the way heat, water and waste are managed within the building.

As a recruitment Consultancy specialising in the power & energy sector, Anderselite wanted to put together a list of what may be ten of the UK's most eco-friendly buildings. Our list includes some surprising ones including a beer distribution centre!

1. Jubilee Library, Brighton

This centrally located municipal building in Brighton was built in 1995 and has won an impressive fourteen awards, most of which were won for the building and design. Its eco credentials come largely from the way the building uses natural resources to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. Thermal heat is stored in the concrete, whilst the south-facing windows accumulate much of the sunlight. The wind towers on the roof help to keep things cool and the toilets are flushed using rainwater.

2. Eden Foundation, Cornwall

Everything about the Eden project in St. Austell, Cornwall is based on the climate and this is certainly true of its Eden Foundation Building, the project's main offices. The building was completed in 2002 and was designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw. One of the key features involves the materials used for construction, which include old newspapers used as insulation. This makes it one of the best insulated buildings in the country. The building contains no PVC whatsoever, which is rare. And even concrete use was limited by having the structure built on columns above the ground. This also means that large amounts of soil didn't need to be removed from the area, which may have impacted the local ecology.

3. National Trust HQ, Swindon

As one of the country's biggest advocates for the conservation and preservation of our environment, it makes sense the National Trust's offices are ecologically sound. The charity's headquarters in Swindon were designed in 2005 and have 65% lower carbon emissions in comparison to other such buildings. This is achieved with many photovoltaic panels providing a third of its energy needs. The building also boasts carpets made from one of the charity's own flocks of sheep.

4. Green Student Accommodation, Bradford

There are 1000 bedrooms in this development which each have access to energy-use and water-use displays. The design, which was completed in 2011, has won numerous awards for its many eco credentials. Solar power is used to help with lighting and heating, whilst toilets are flushed with rainwater.

5. Adnams Distribution Centre, Suffolk

Many of the buildings on this list are managed or owned by charitable, council or academic organisations. This is one of the few truly commercial buildings on the list and yet it has impressive eco factors. Four-fifths of the building's energy needs are provided by solar panels, whilst natural building materials such as lime and hemp help make it sustainable. Not only does this building use saved rainwater for flushing the loos, but it's also used to wash the vans.

6. Cobtun House, Worcester

Built in 2003, this house won a RIBA award for sustainability in 2005.
Nearly all the materials used to construct this residential building are low-impact, including clay from a local building site to make the cob walls, recycled bottle tops for the joinery and newspapers for insulation.

7. BowZed, East London

This housing development is the most urban on the list and was designed by architect Bill Dunster and completed in 2004. 90% of its electricity needs are provided by photovoltaic panels or wind power and the insulation is so good there is no need for central heating.

8. Dalguise Eco House, Perthshire

This house in Scotland was basically an experiment into how eco-friendly a property could possibly be when it is built at a low cost. Light reaches the house in a way that reduces the need for artificial lighting. The bricks are all unfired, reducing the carbon footprint of the build.

9. Dogs Trust, Shrewsbury

This building had at one point the highest Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) score ever allocated. It has a large green roof which insulates the building and uses harvested rainwater to clean the kennels.

10. Kanes Eco Factory, Cotswolds

Probably the most eco-friendly factory in the UK and possibly the world, this salad factory in the Cotswolds employs a number of eco features. Its meadow-field roof is one of them, as is the hemp clad used to reduce need for carbon in its structure, whilst a geothermal heat pump makes good use of the heat produced by the factory.


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