gill moore photography

Archive for the 'scheme' Category

How does a rather excellent real ale and the UK’s largest sedum roof go together?

adnams_distributecentre

I recently saw a very large and impressive sedum roof at the Wildfowl and Wetlands site at Martin Mere, Lancashire. It got me wondering who can lay claim to having the largest sedum roof in the UK?

I felt sure it would be housed somewhere like the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth (Wales) or maybe one of the large regenerative building schemes undertaken over the last few years for eco-friendly social housing or public buildings?

I did find a few nice examples of sedum and regular green roof schemes:

Certainly quite a number of educational buildings such as St. Martins-in-the-field Girls’ School, London roof and one at Cambridge University plus many new build schools across the country.

The well-known Eden Project has a small green roof, the most picturesque I could find was the Gallie Craig Coffee Shop, Drummore, Scotland. Wow, I SO want a hot beverage there now! :-)

gallie_craig_coffee_shop

Sometimes the choice to create a green roof was by necessity, such as the restaurant within St. James Park, London; any design for the new roof there had to blend in with the surrounding parkland or it would not gain planning permission.

An award-winning illustration on my doorstep here in Manchester is the Norman Foster designed scheme called Budenberg HAUS which has 4,500 square metres of green roof sited on the edge of Altrincham overlooking the Bridgewater Canal.

budenburg_haus1

The largest UK green roof (not wholly sedum) is at the Rolls Royce factory near Chichester which has a huge roof space measured at 40,000 square metres.

Eventually after a fascinating journey delving into various schemes I found a winner … and a real-ale brewery at that! Any real-ale fans will have heard of Champion Beer Brewers Adnams who are based on the Suffolk Coast in Southwold. In 2005 beer sales were up and faced with this growing demand they realised that a new distribution centre was required.

Adnams website lists their environmental goals “We aim to manage our impact positively on the social, natural, and built environment” and on this newbuild project they certainly went for it, not only creating the UK’s biggest sedum living roof but also building the Centre predominently from bricks formed using locally-grown hemp, lime and chalk.

These building materials certainly earn green brownie points (sorry I couldn’t resist!) but they also add effective functionality. Acting rather like a cellar, it maintains a steady 11 degrees celsius temperature within the warehouse, and means there is no need for expensive air-conditioning units. Heating for the offices is provided by solar panels. Though the initial build for the scheme was higher than a conventional approach, is has meant running costs are nearly half what they were at the Brewers smaller previous warehouse. So in the long term it will result in a considerable cost saving.
sedumroof

The roof itself is predominently sedum. These low maintenance, fleshy, thick skinned succulents have excellent insulation properties and also help filter out air pollutants. The plants are low maintenance and usually require no artificial irrigation, they absorb sound (useful in an urban environment) and can provide a habitat for birds and wildlife. The Adnams planting scheme also included regional wildflowers and wild grasses to supplement the sedum and to blend more naturally with local flora.

However, Adnams may soon be knocked off the top of their green perch. Work is ongoing on a scheme in Hemel Hempstead for a new Indoor Ski Centre. The sedum roof here will be a jaw-dropping 21,500 square metres and is set to open in the summer of 2009.

I have rather skirted over the pioneering use of the hemp and lime bricks on this project, but that is only because I am planning a longer post on this Stone Age plant and it’s modern applications in the very near future.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Harvest time – The Abundance Scheme : a cracking idea.

abundance_manc

abundance_apples

I like simple ideas, I like good ideas, I like even more people who follow through on simple good ideas. “The Abundance Scheme” originated in Sheffield in 2007, it sounds like a great idea and below is a concise explanation detailing what it is all about:

    “Abundance is a project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit like apples, pear and plums. Each year hundreds of fruit trees go unpicked either because people don’t notice them, may not be physically able to harvest them or there are just too many fruits at one time. Abundance is a team of volunteers who have been helping harvest city fruit and redistributing the surplus to the community on a non-profit basis”

In Sheffield they use a mobile fruit unit to distribute anything surplus for free and it isn’t just limited to newly picked fruit, it can also be in the form of jam, pickles or vitamin packed fresh juices.

The Sheffield Scheme proved so successful it has now sprouted an offshoot in Manchester called Abundance Manchester. Over the last month or so a group of volunteers have been collecting boxes and boxes of Mancunian fruits, mostly apples and pears by the looks of the pictures on their site but I can only applaud what seems like a cracking effort.

People contacted the organisers from sites around the region, many around the borders of the River Mersey including Chorlton, Didsbury and Stockport. Volunteers then arrived with picking gear and bike trailers to transport the goods to needy groups around the region. Some lucky recipients include The Early Years Nursery School in Didsbury, the Red Cross Destitution Project based in Harpurhey and Cornerstone in Moss Side.

If you have (or you can recommend) a good site which has an abundance of food then you can log the details onto the Abundance Manchester website. It could be anything from an allotment or an old fruiting tree in your own garden. It has been a bumper year for many harvests, so even one tree can yield a surprising amount of goodies. I hope the scheme goes from strength to strength.

12 Nov 2008.  Just spotted the River Cottage (Channel Four TV programme) has picked up on this scheme there is a nice piece on their website if you follow this link.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button