Suffolk joins European driveto push C2C design thinking

Suffolk County Council has linked up with engineering and environmental consultancy Royal Haskoning as part of a Europe-wide project that aims to promote cradle-to-cradle design.

The cradle-to-cradle model, popularised by US architect William McDonough and scientist Michael Braungart, promotes the design of closed-loop systems, which avoid waste and the use of raw materials. The system promotes the use of materials that can be reused at the end of a product or building’s life.

The pan-European group C2C Network has been established to promote this idea to building, infrastructure and product designers. The group is led by the Province of Limburg in the Netherlands and 75 per cent of the project funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund, with the remainder coming from Limburg and the other nine regional partners.

The project splits into four different themes – area spatial development, industry, governance and build – with Suffolk acting as the lead on the build theme. Royal Haskoning is working as a consultant to the council on the project, having been appointed following a tender process, according to Suffolk’s project lead Michael Grey.

The project will run for two years and the aim of the current stage is to identify and share examples of good practice. To this end Suffolk will be hosting a conference on 15-16 September, in which a number of ’good practice’ exemplars will be presented including, from the east of England, the warehouse and distribution centre for brewer Adnams in Southwold and the new Centre for Disability Studies for Disability Essex in Rochford, Essex.

The Adnams warehouse, designed by architect Aukett Fitzroy Robinson and completed in 2006, is sited within a disused gravel pit. It has been put forward as an exemplar project because of features such as its lime/hemp construction and the glulam beams, made from sustainable Scandinavian sources, in its roof.

The Centre for Disability Studies is designed by architect Simmonds Mills and adheres to the German Passivhaus standard for reducing energy use. One of the requirements is that the building should not use more than 15kWh/m2 a year – a conventionally designed building might use 200kWh/m2 a year.

The building was completed in March, although elements are still being installed. A spokesman for client Disability Essex says the organisation has just received its first gas bill for the new building, which was £9.28 for the quarter.

These two exemplar projects, along with others, will be presented at the Cambridge conference.

Dr Matthew Hunt, project manager for Royal Haskoning, says, ’Working with Suffolk, we will identify best practice from across Europe, assess which elements are transferable and use this to help strengthen regional networks. The next phase will be the development of action plans which we hope would help 100 per cent cradle-to-cradle buildings become a reality in the near future in the east of England and across Europe.’

Project partners

  • Provincie Limburg, the Netherlands (project lead)
  • Milano Metropoli, Italy
  • OVAM, Belgium
  • Suffolk County Council, UK
  • Graz Economy, Austria
  • Ardi-Rhone Alpes, France
  • Kainuunetu, Finland
  • Westpa, Hungary
  • ADR Nord-Est, Romania
  • Government Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Development and European Affairs, Slovenia

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