DEFA headquarters - Thie Slieau Whallian
Thie Slieau Whallian has been awarded the highest rating of excellence possible under BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), in terms of its sustainable design and environmental performance. The building is the first, and presently the only, building in the Isle of Man to achieve such a rating, and is one of only 400 in the UK. The lifetime savings of the design chosen have been quantified as £2.7m operational cost saving above a standard office building over its 40 year design life.
In addition, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry was awarded the prize for 'Best Innovation in the Public Sector' at the Energy Champions Awards evening, which is part of Energy Expo 2010.
The new headquarters has been designed to maximise natural ventilation and day light, aided by a central atrium and overhanging eaves to reduce overheating. The use of timber from responsibly managed and renewable sources is extensive, since timber is considered to be one of the most sustainable building materials available. All walls, roof and floors are suitably insulated and the building is heated by a biomass boiler, fuelled using woodchips and sawdust produced by the adjacent Sawmill.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Headquarters and Sawmill complex is the first government site to be heated by woodchip.The infrastructure is now in place for DEFA to produce a viable and cost-effective heating fuel, in the form of wood chips, from the DEFA conifer estate to heat larger government buildings, such as sheltered housing schemes, schools and swimming pools. Many more opportunities will arise to replace boilers in new projects.