Right climate for local business

Dining Out

Words by:
Kate Chapman
Featured in:
June 2015

Reducing costs is high on the agenda for all businesses, but now a rather unique campus here in Lincolnshire is promising to do exactly that for all those who take up a tenancy.
Completed last year, the Carbon Neutral Business Zone – or CaNeBuZo for short – in Hoddins Way, Long Sutton, has been unveiled as the country’s biggest collection of earth-sheltered buildings, promising tenants low to no energy bills.

The business park is made up of seven naturally heated, naturally ventilated earth-sheltered offices, which all operate without any reliance on fossil fuels and was designed by local eco architect Dr Jerry Harrall.

His ground-breaking development uses low tech and low invasive intelligent design approaches – each building has a high thermal mass superstructure, an externally super-insulated fabric coupled with a passive solar design strategy to deliver potential energy savings of around £1,500 to each occupant per year.

Now under the ownership of Lincolnshire County Council and a local developer, the buildings are being leased with the tagline ‘business units that make business sense’. And they are being snapped up by a variety of traders with a beauty parlour and a saddlery already open for business.

Poppy Webber, who relocated her shop PeeWee Saddlery to the CaNeBuZo last October, is delighted with how things are going since she took up her tenancy.

“We’ve not had chance to see what annual savings we are making yet,” she explained, “But we’re really pleased with how it’s going so far.

“The buildings are amazing – they are like giant storage heaters and maintain a lovely temperature all year round. Even if it’s a cold day and the door’s open, it stays the same inside.

“My original shop in Long Sutton town centre was getting full, there was no room to sell feed and my saddles were being kept in a lock up. There was no customer parking either, so we just had to move if we were going to expand.Here it’s so much more spacious and we’ve got loads of parking space too.”

Poppy, an equine therapist and saddle fitter, now believes her business is the world’s only carbon neutral saddlery. Inside her unusual shop she stocks everything from tack, horsewear and horse care items to stable yard equipment and clothing plus locally produced crafts such as paintings, leatherwear and fleeces – and if you still can’t find what you’re looking for she promises to do her best to source it.

“It looked very industrial when we first came in here,” said Poppy. “Our old shop was very quirky and a little old fashioned and I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to recreate that character.

“But we’ve added some pretty lighting and put our stamp on the place and I’m really pleased; it’s more spacious so we can have everything under one roof, and expand our lines.Plus the buildings are unique – people really can’t miss us!”

The development was conceived by award-winning architect Dr Harrall, following his PhD and the construction of his own earth-sheltered home and office space, also in Long Sutton. Dr Harrall, who has also designed a number of other green residential properties, decided to apply his research to commercial properties too, believing it to be the responsible thing to do given contemporary climate and economy concerns.

Each CaNeBuZo unit has reinforced concrete floor slabs, dense concrete block walls and a reinforced concrete roof. The buildings are earth covered, bunded and fitted with solar photo-voltaic panels on the roof and are designed to deliberately optimise solar heat gains. The unique buildings also feature technology that will deposit rainwater collected on the roof back into the water table. And as well as low to no energy bills, tenants will also incur no mains sewerage costs and no mains storm water costs.

Each building on the site generates more energy than it consumes – around 9,000KwH per year – and all have achieved the country’s highest A+ EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) ratings – producing a carbon footprint below zero.

Inside, the facilities include a reception/lobby, offices, toilet, kitchen space and a store.

Lincolnshire County Council has wholeheartedly thrown its support behind the development saying it showcases best environmental practice, delivers quantifiable results in energy performance and overall is a national example for green, sustainable development.

The carbon neutral business zone also supports the green economy by giving people the opportunity and encouragement to work locally, rather than commute to bigger towns and cities such as Peterborough or Cambridge, which are 26.5 miles and fifty miles away respectively.

“There is a growing demand for business space in rural communities such as Long Sutton to provide local jobs and negate unnecessary commutes into larger towns and cities,” said Paul Wheatley, the council’s group manager for economic delivery.

“That’s why the council has lent its support to the CaNeBuZo. It seeks to develop solutions that allow business creation, expansion and innovation to encourage sustainable business growth.

“By investing in the CaNeBuZo, the council has demonstrated its commitment to supporting the maintenance and generation of local jobs and businesses, whilst taking a serious and responsible attitude to the environment.”

Last year the CaNeBuZo was shortlisted for the Best Initiative from Government or Public Services category at the 2014 Climate Week Awards.

To find out more about the ground-breaking Carbon Neutral Business Zone visit www.canebuzo.co.uk or call Lincolnshire County Council 01522 550617.

PeeWee Saddlery, Unit 7 Hoddins Way, is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday. For more information visit www.peeweesaddlery.co.uk or call 01406 363961.

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