First industrial building in East Anglia gains BREEAM top grade

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Great Blakenham’s energy-from-waste facility has become the first industrial building in East Anglia to be awarded an outstanding rating by BREEAM…

An energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Great Blakenham, East Anglia will be awarded an outstanding rating by BREEAM in recognition of its green policies.

The EfW plant was launched in December 2014. It is run by Suffolk County Council with SUEZ and turns waste into fuel. This generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes in the area. Metals left behind during the process are recycled and the ash is used as an aggregate on building projects.

BREEAM scores buildings that demonstrate efficiency and sustainability. An outstanding rating is the highest a building can achieve. The plant was awarded this rating due to a number of features, including the design, the construction methods, and the energy efficiency measures installed in the building.

For example, the roof is made from the same material as the Eden Project, Cornwall. This allows natural light in, reducing the need for artificial lighting. The building itself was constructed using sustainable materials. Additionally, the site powers itself and uses rainwater in the energy-from-waste process.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection Matthew Hicks said: “Energy-from-waste provides a cheaper, greener alternative to landfill. Over the 25 year life of the contract it will be at least £350 million cheaper and greenhouse gases are being reduced by 75,000 tonnes a year, compared to landfill.

“But it is not just the process which has environmental benefits – the building itself has now proved to be among the best designs under a scheme which measures the social, environmental and economic sustainability of buildings.”

The plant was designed by architects Grimshaw and was constructed by CNIM/Lagan. Funding for the facility came from a government grant worth some £200m. This will span the 25-year life of the contract and will be used towards running costs. SUEZ also paid £180m towards building the facility.

Paul Leighton, plant manager for SUEZ, said: “To achieve ‘outstanding’ is an exceptional achievement and it is testament to the determination and hard work of all those involved to make this facility the best.”

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