Northern Ireland construction company the Graham Group has selected wood pellet ‘brites’, produced by Fermanagh-based Balcas, as the preferred fuel for its new 3,000 sq m eco-friendly headquarters outside Hilsborough in County Down.
The new state-of-the-art sustainable building, which was recently awarded the highest BREEAM rating, includes a Hoval stand alone wood pellet heat source installed by MacFarlane Environmental, which will result in substantial predicted savings of approximately £11,000 per year in energy costs and will also help reduce the company’s carbon footprint even further. By burning 130 tonnes of brites instead of 65,000 litres of oil they will be offsetting 156 tonnes of CO2 and 43 tonnes of carbon.
Brites are produced at the two Balcas wood pellet mills in Enniskillen (55,000 tonnes/year) and Invergordon, Scotland (100,000 tonnes/year).
Brites have also been used to fuel and heat two recently constructed schools – Pond Park Primary School in Lisburn and Victoria Primary School in Ballyhalbert, both designed and constructed by Graham Construction – successfully helping to decrease the buildings’ carbon footprint and educate future generations on the environmental benefits of utilising sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels.
“Wood pellets are a tremendously efficient and cost-effective alternative to oil or gas and brites are now used in over 4,000 boilers, heating and providing hot water to a wide range of commercial customers – including hospitals, hotels and leisure centres. These clients enjoy many advantages from using brites – particularly the cost savings which comes with its usage,” comments Tim Finlay, brites development officer.
“As a leader in our industry we recognise that we have a corporate and social responsibility to ensure we conduct business in a manner which is respectful of the environment so our new flagship headquarters were designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind. An efficient building is only as good as its fuel source and we feel that brites are by far the best option for our heating and energy needs. We hope that the green design elements we have incorporated demonstrate that The Graham Group practices what it preaches in terms of sustainability,” says Jacqueline Gibson, sustainability coordinator at Graham.
Tim Finlay, brites development officer (left), Jacqueline Gibson, sustainability coordinator, Graham (centre), and James Hughes, Graham facilities manager (right).