Bullhouse Mill in Millhouse Green, near Penistone is the ultimate Green building
PUBLISHED: 12:51 10 August 2011 | UPDATED: 19:50 20 February 2013
A new South Yorkshire building has been given A+ for effort when it comes to the environment
An innovative office building that actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rather than adding to it has been built in South Yorkshire.
The Old Corn Mill is one of only a handful of carbon-negative commercial properties in the country. A combination of solar panels, wind turbines and water power means the building at Bullhouse Mill in Millhouse Green, near Penistone, produces more green energy in a year than it consumes.
The exported surplus effectively removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, giving it an energy performance rating of A+ on its Energy Performance Certificate (similar to the A-G banding given to electrical household appliances).
Mike Tofts, a senior consultant at National Energy Services, which is approved by the government to accredit the certificates, said there were only 14 commercial buildings that had achieved the A+ rating.
Most existing buildings will be in the D and E bands, while new builds normally achieve a B rating, he said. Achieving an A+ rating is no mean feat and requires significant investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable generation technologies.
This building design is a tremendous example of what can be achieved. And it is all the more remarkable given that part of the building is based on a mill that is more than 250 years old.
The original 18th century three-storey mill has been renovated and given a new two-storey extension. It also has a host of energy-efficient features: triple glazing; substantial wall, floor and ceiling insulation; low-energy appliances; eco lighting; an insulated lobby; and underfloor heating provided by a geothermal water source which lies under the car park.
Photovoltaic cells on an adjoining warehouse create enough energy for the Old Corn Mill, with enough electricity left to feed the rest of the site and put a bit back into the national grid.
Two wind turbines in neighbouring fields also feed electricity to the whole site and a hydro water turbine is due to be installed on the River Don.
Bullhouse Mill has been in the Booth family ownership for many years. Charles Booth is the man behind its recent transformation.
We have everything we need here to create electricity: sun, wind and water, he said. It all sounds like a bit of utopian dream, but we have created a sustainable building for the businesses of the future.
Charles is fully committed to promoting an environmentally-friendly way of living and working, but admits he wasnt always so green in his outlook.
Just five years ago I didnt think about energy use, he said.
Then I started looking at the effect on the planet and slowly started to think about it more and more. It really was a gradual conversion.
Now he is considering extending some of the green features, such as the geothermal heating, to the rest of the site, which consists of 75,000 square feet of industrial units, workshops and offices.