Any company can claim a commitment to delivering greener products and employing greener working practices. Few companies on the other hand actually demonstrate a green commitment so strong and so evident that they have subsequently been chosen to take part in a unique project to showcase a more sustainable way of life
This however is the case for Sandtoft Roof Tiles. The roof tile manufacturer has a long track record of pushing the boundaries for its industry, pioneering new and more ecologically sensitive methods of working.
Demonstrating this, the company recently made the switch to using 100% green electricity from renewable sources such as wind farms and hydroelectric plants at all its sites. Making this change entailed a 5% increase in energy costs for the company but delivered an instant 25% reduction in CO2 emissions - significantly reducing the manufacturer’s carbon footprint. Sandtoft rightly believes this trade off is worthwhile and has actually absorbed the increased cost, rather than pass it on to its customers.
Now this, and a number of other green initiatives have led to the company becoming involved in an innovative project being undertaken by the Architectural Services department of Dundee City Council. This department - which was one of the first local authority departments to achieve IS014001 accreditation - is staunchly committed to promoting a more sustainable approach to building design and construction. As such, it is creating a special demonstration house to showcase what can be done from a sustainability perspective in terms of building materials, practices and energy systems.
The house itself is an existing janitor’s house in the grounds of Whitfield Primary School. Originally built in the late 1960s, it is typical of many properties of the period in that it suffers from poor detailing, cold bridging and generally poor thermal performance. Dundee City Council’s Architectural Services department plan to refurbish and extend the building and deliberately chose an existing property rather than a new build to show the ways in which current building stock can be improved to meet new environmental challenges.
As part of this redevelopment, the house will feature a wind turbine, geothermal underfloor heating which will draw on 90m boreholes to draw heat from the earth, a timberframe complete with insulation made from recycled waste newspaper and plant based paints. In addition, and to complement these features, Sandtoft is supplying its innovative Cassius roof tiles. The architects chose this tile over any other largely due to the sustainable way in which Sandtoft operates.
On top of this, Cassius offered other notable benefits. The refurbishment’s original plans called for the replacement of the eco-house’s existing flat roof with a new pitched roof made from recycled slate. However, slates of the required size and specification were not readily available and were also expensive, precluding their use.
Choosing Cassius in an Antique Slate colour delivered the same aesthetics as slate, was more affordable and could accommodate the specific demands of the roof’s pitch. It also allowed the architects to fulfil their original goal of using a natural material as Cassius is made from high-quality alluvial Humber clay.
Upon completion, the eco-house will be occupied for a period of 3 years by Solar Cities Scotland – an organisation, based in Dundee, which aims to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. During this time, the property and its eco-garden will also be open to the general public, schools, universities, colleges and construction industry professionals who will be able to discover more about the sustainable alternatives used and their benefits for the environment.
Speaking of the eco-house and Sandtoft’s involvement in the project, Bob Anderson, from Dundee City Council’s Architectural Services department, said: “We chose Sandtoft products because the company’s commitment to sustainable working practices sat comfortably with the overall aims the project. In addition, a further benefit to Cassius beyond its inherent green credentials was its aesthetics. It looks great. Plus our contractor has even said it’s easy to use.”
Meanwhile, Nick Oldridge, Sales and Marketing Director for Sandtoft Roof Tiles, said: “It’s a real honour for us to be involved in such a high-profile undertaking that aims to showcase better practice in terms of sustainability. Greener products and greener methods of production and operation have long been at the heart of Sandtoft’s approach. It’s good that our commitment is receiving wider recognition and that it will be used to inspire others in the industry.”