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Grass Will Grow On Roof Of Britain's Greenest Warehouse

Aukett Fitzroy Robinson is putting the finishing touches to the design of a distribution centre for brewer Adnams outside Southwold, Suffolk – a building that can probably lay claim to being Britain’s greenest warehouse.

The 8,000 sq m logistics centre is to be built in Reydon, close to the brewer’s home town of Southwold. In line with Adnams’ corporate ethos of seeking to be a leader in corporate responsibility, the design team at Aukett Fitzroy Robinson had to respond to a strict brief to minimise environmental impact, while creating a building that will meet the needs of the Adnams business for years to come.

“Adnams set us a challenging task, which meant looking for the most environmentally acceptable way of executing each of the building’s elements,” comments AFR project leader Jeremy Blake. “It has been a very exciting project, and although the result is something quite different from the norm, it has still had to meet the financial and operational requirements of one of the country’s most progressive brewers.”

The building’s unique combination of environmentally sensible elements include: an earth covered roof that will create a meadow of grass and wild flowers, and act as a thermal buffer wooden glulam roof support beams to provide a column-free interior lime, hemp and chalk building blocks used for all walls – these use less energy to manufacture than conventional concrete blocks – with lime render finish.

The blocks have been developed in connection with Lime Technology, and this will be their first commercial scale application in the UK car parking areas of reinforced grass solar collectors to heat the site’s water, and rainwater harvesting a foul water waste system including septic tank and reed beds, enabling water to be cleaned and delivered to adjacent ponds. The warehouse building itself will be 90 metres long and 35 metres across, with the roof rising to 13.5 metres internally.

A random arrangement of rooflights and clerestory glazing will provide natural light to the interior, while office space has been added at first floor level on the southern elevation.

As a consequence of its design, the new building is expected to receive an “Excellent” rating under the BREEAM rating system (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). This established construction industry system ranks domestic and commercial buildings according to their environmental credentials. The site for the warehouse is a former gravel pit, currently grazing land and will be landscaped to minimise the visual intrusion of the development.

Construction is likely to begin at the end of 2005, with completion within a year.

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