Why we're eco...

First and foremost, we’re eco to save carbon, to heat, power and cool our offices without contributing to the destruction of the planet.  We took a 1950s solid wall building, previously with the very worst Energy Performance Certificate rating, put an airtight tea cosy over it, and harnessed the energy of the sun.   Trees, shrubs and plants are used externally and internally to improve the health of both building users and wildlife, along with natural paints and plasters.

Secondly, we’re providing an alternative to local people having to travel long distances to work, so once again, neighbourhoods become places where people live, shop, play and work.  The area already had a wide variety of cafes, restaurants, pubs and open spaces.  What it didn't have is workplaces.

 This is especially important as travel costs continue to rise, with the remaining sources of fossil fuels getting more costly to exploit and ever increasing demand from newly industrialised countries. 

We wanted to make sure there are local facilities for businesses in the area, where people can get to work by public transport, cycle or foot, and then use a shared electric vehicle if required to go out to meet customers or bring in supplies. 

A key element in the design of the eco offices is the use of electricity instead of gas.  Despite electricity now being one of the dirtiest fuels, with so much generated by local coal fired power stations such as Fiddlers Ferry, it will soon be one of the cleanest as wind, wave, tidal and hydro sources increase.    With the Eco Offices, a significant quantity of electricity is generated renewably on site from the two solar PV arrays.  Another significant amount is purchased off-peak during the night, and then used to charge cars, heat water and heat or cool the building ready for the new day. 

Moving to renewable energy sources isn’t straightforward, and presents problems for the electricity supply companies when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun doesn’t shine.  When intelligent devices combine with a Smart Grid to use power when the supply is plentiful and reduce it when it is scarce and expensive, then that is part of the solution.  And where at all possible, Smart Grid ready devices such as the car chargers are being used in the Eco Offices.

What may now sound unusual will soon be everywhere.   That is the promise of the Eco Offices.

For more technical details about the materials and techniques used in the building, and about some of the people involved, please use the links in the side bar.