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18th century building with added green credentials has more than a sporting chance of success
Former Manchester United and England footballer Gary Neville officially opened an innovative office building in South Yorkshire. He lent his support for the Old Corn Mill, near Penistone, because of his interest in environmental sustainability. He is the founder of an organisation called Sustainability in Sport and is currently having an eco home built on the moors between Bury and Bolton.
The Old Corn Mill is one of only about a dozen carbon negative commercial properties in the whole of England and Wales. A combination of solar panels, wind turbines and water power means the building at Bullhouse Mill, at Millhouse Green, near Penistone, produces more energy than it consumes, with the exported surplus effectively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, giving it an energy performance rating of A+. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates buildings from A to G, similar to the banding given to electrical household appliances.
The former Manchester United captain was joined for the opening by Communities Minister Andrew Stunell, who is leading government efforts for greater sustainability of buildings. Mr Stunell is also MP for Hazel Grove, Lancashire.
Mr Neville said: Its great to see offices like this being built. It just shows that businesses as well as individuals can do their bit for the environment.
Local dignitaries, including the mayor of Barnsley, Councillor Karen Dyson and local MP Angela Smith, also attended the ceremony.
Charles Booth, the man behind the Old Corn Mill, said: Its an honour to have all these people at the opening and it just shows that it is a really special building.
The location on the edge of the Pennines is perfect to harness nature. We have wind, water and sun. It sounds a bit Utopian, but it has to be the way forward for buildings of the future. And what makes this building all the more remarkable is that part of it is 250 years old.
The Old Corn Mill is the original 1750s three-story mill that has been renovated, with the addition of a new two-storey extension. The building has many energy efficient features, including triple glazing; substantial wall, floor and ceiling insulation; low-energy appliances; eco lighting, and an insulated lobby. Underfloor heating is provided using a geothermal water source beneath the car park.
As well as photovoltaic cells, which are on an adjoining warehouse, there are two wind turbines in neighbouring fields and a water turbine in the River Don, which runs past the site.
Two tenants have already moved into the building; a solar PV installer and Danish furniture manufacturer.
Martin Beasley, of Enterprising Barnsley, which supports high-growth businesses, said the green credentials of the building would help boost employment in the borough.
Something as unusual as this is bound to attract businesses to the area and that is great for the local economy, he said.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme has attracted 2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europes support for the regions economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. It runs office space for start-up businesses in another building at the Bullhouse Mill site.
Passion for sport and the environment
Sustainability in Sport was created by Gary Neville, the former captain of Manchester United and Englands most capped right back, in partnership with Dale Vince, head of a social enterprise business called Ecotricity. Over recent years, Gary Nevilles awareness and interest in environmental sustainability has led him to take significant steps in adapting and changing his lifestyle to reduce his environmental impact. These steps have included his forthcoming home which is being built using low impact and renewable technology.
The creation of Sustainability in Sport marks the achievement of a personal ambition of mine, which I have held for some time now and at last have had the opportunity to act upon, says Neville. I believe that the issues we will tackle and the benefits we will deliver will be felt by all and I really hope to generate as much support as I possibly can.
Write to Gary Neville at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more at sustainabilityinsport.com
The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life
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