An innovative office building that actually reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been built in South Yorkshire.
The Old Corn Mill is one of only about a dozen "carbon-negative" commercial properties in the whole of England and Wales. It's anticipated its green credentials will encourage businesses to relocate and bring jobs to the area.
A combination of solar panels, wind turbines and water power means the building at Bullhouse Mill, at Millhouse Green, near Penistone, produces more green energy in a year 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
Mike Tofts, a senior consultant at National Energy Services, which is approved by the Government to accredit EPCs, said there were only 14 commercial buildings that had achieved the A+ rating.
He said: "Most existing buildings will be in the D and E bands and brand new buildings built to the latest regulations would normally achieve a B rating, even an A rating is excellent.
"So 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 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, such as 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.
The photovoltaic cells, which are on an adjoining warehouse, create enough energy for the Old Corn Mill, with electricity left over feeding the rest of the site and any excess going 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 this summer.
Bullhouse Mill has been in family ownership for many years and has been transformed into a commercial site by its owners the Booth Brothers, who operate their own promotional merchandise businesses.
One of the brothers Charles is the brainchild behind the new office building. He said the location on the edge of the Pennines was perfect.
"We have everything we need here to create electricity: sun, wind and water. It all sounds like a bit of utopian dream, but we have created a sustainable building for the businesses of the future," he said.
Each of the three floors has a shower to encourage people to cycle to work. The Trans-Pennine Trail, part of the Sustrans national cycle network, runs nearby.
Charles said he is now fully committed to promoting an environmentally-friendly way of living and working, but admits he wasn't always so green in his outlook.
"Even just five years ago I didn't think about energy use. Then I started looking at the cost and then the effect on the planet and slowly I 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.
Businesses already there are the Booth Brothers promotional merchandise businesses, Little Trekkers children's clothes, JM Glendinning insurance brokers, Nigel Tyas Ironworks, Bryella Interiors, First Horizon Surveying and office space for start-up businesses run by Enterprising Barnsley.
Enterprising Barnsley is a business support programme which helps businesses with high growth potential. The programme has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe's support for the region's economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme. Enterprising Barnsley also offers business coaching and runs networking events.
Martin Beasley, programmes manager for Enterprising Barnsley, said: "The new office building is exciting for us, because it means businesses in our Enterprise Hub can move on to a sustainable office development.
"And not only is the new space amazing because of its green credentials, it is also in an amazing location, surrounded by beautiful countryside and yet within easy reach of the M1 and surrounding conurbations such as Manchester, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Leeds and Barnsley. We really believe it will help bring jobs to the area."
The five offices in the Old Corn Mill, which range from 925 square feet (87m2) to 1685 square feet (157m2) are available for rent.
For more information about renting the offices contact Chris Rowlands on 01226 791984.
Notes to editors
Charles Booth can be contacted on 01226 372 718.
Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07910 165 444 or at email@example.com
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and University Campus Barnsley. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support.
National Energy Services (NES) owns and operates Government-approved Accreditation Schemes to provide technical and business support for individuals and organisations involved in energy efficiency. NES is a trading subsidiary of the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity set up in 1988 to promote energy conservation and provide help to improve energy efficiency in buildings. For more information, see www.nesltd.co.uk.
The figure of just 14 commercial buildings with an A+ rating in England and Wales has been confirmed by the Dept for Communities and Local Government press office. However, due to "data protection" they will not disclose where they are.
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