Even The Biggest Boxes Can Go Green

Terry Slavin writes about John Duggan who runs Gazeley which develops sustainable warehouse for customers including Wal-Mart.

Gazeley, together with U.S. eco-architect Bill McDonough and U.K. photovoltaics specialists Solarcentury, is to develop an “eco-template” for environmentally friendly warehousingEco Template.

Occupiers pay no more than what they would for an unadorned tin roof and four walls, but get 11 energy- and water-saving features fitted as standard. These include solar thermal heating, storm water collection, energy-efficient lighting, recyclable floor coverings, water-saving toilets and timber from sustainable sources. All developments also feature some other renewable technology, such as ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics and wind turbines.

The company says its tenants enjoy average energy savings of 8 percent, and 50 percent cuts in water usage on a standard warehouse. Where Gazeley also fits out the interior of the warehouses, with low-energy heating and lighting systems, the environmental impact is much more dramatic.

(Image Source: Gazeley)

It adds a small percentage to the build cost,” he admits, but the eco-template design helps smooth progress through the planning system, and also attracts five-star customers such as John Lewis, Woolworths and B&Q at an early stage in development. “Letting them out earlier more than makes up for any extra build costs,” Duggan says. “There’s a strong business basis for this.”

“Until recently, I took the view that environmentalists were irresponsible,” says Duggan. “They didn’t care about the economic and social side. But Bill McDonough had such a positive take: let’s rethink the way we make things so it has a positive rather than negative impact. I felt his approach was unassailable intellectually, as well as good business sense. We all share the same planet.”

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