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Transcript of address

Last year we had the privilege and honour of being awarded the Jersey Electricity Environment Award 2009.  The project concerned was a renovation of a derelict listed fiefs house in St. Martin.

Right from the inception of the scheme, sustainability was high on the agenda and alternative means of technology were investigated into the best ways of creating power from natural resources and reusing these resources where possible.

Having a client not willing to make compromises, obviously helps, which allowed us as architects and the whole team to focus on what could be achieved.

Utilising natural energy first of all was the initial starting point as the wind and the sun is an abundantly free commodity and once captured, can be used to provide electrical energy.  The site was in a relatively high and open area allowing for the incorporation of a wind turbine.  Whilst this type of technology is quite an expensive toy, on windy days the house became 100% efficient on power generation.  Obviously the larger the turbine, the more efficient it is likely to be, but the Planners would have something to say about that in their own way.

Every day there is light! Every day there is energy!  This is why solar collectors discreetly positioned on this listed building provided for 100% hot water.  An oil fire boiler served as backup when needed but rarely comes on.

This serves fully underfloor heating pipes throughout the house.  The system has proven to be so efficient that between April to mid October, the cost of providing hot water has been zero.

We didn’t stop there as the introduction of Rainwater harvesting supplying outside taps and grey water for toilets.  Unfortunately technological advances did not allow a filtration system worthy of supplying the whole water supply.  However, there is the hope that the house will one day become fully self dependant.

In most scenarios, most clients would stop there and think they have done enough.  However we learnt that there are more simplistic ways to embrace the environment and sustainability that is available to all of us.

Re-use of materials – In one case granite slabs capping a pig-sty slurry pit were transformed into lintels.

Domestic fittings – Bathroom taps and shower heads with aerated nozzles using less water. Hand washbasins are low profile slab designs that hold less water than conventional basins.  All kitchen/ washing appliances have a short cycle option.  An Eco dishwasher. Low energy lighting. The list goes on and we in the Construction Industry should be embracing these simple initiatives more and more as technology improves.

Since completion the Client has taken it a step further and now developed their own vegetable patch to further embrace natural landscape opportunities.

 What does this Environment Award mean to us?   

Firstly, I do have to thank Daren Malorey for his role in the Committee and his telephone campaign to encourage the smaller sized firms to enter.  To have an opportunity of winning this prestigious award against the whole construction industry means a great deal to Gallaher Architects and to our client in recognition of the extensive effort involved embracing the environment and landscape with sensitivity and stewardship to an extremely high stand.   We were thrilled to be part of this journey and receive this award and perhaps this is another encouragement for those smaller firms that may not have larger resources but have still just as important a role in this industry and its future.

I would therefore like to thank the committee for recognising this and my hope is that this year’s winner will take on the baton not only to embrace these important issues but to take it up another level.


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