“Our watch phrase is ‘because being carbon neutral is just the beginning.’ I believe our new 22,000m2 bottling facility for our Greencroft Bottling business will be the most sustainable building of its kind in the world. Its walls and roof have ultra-low heat loss panels, while the rooftop solar panels will have 3m watts of solar which will create around 2.9m kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean, renewable electricity per year.
“We’ve even adjusted the gradient of the roof from 8% to 4% to make the most of the sun, and will generate 1.7m kWh of energy per year on the south facing roof and 1.2m kWh on the north. If we’d left the gradient at 8%, the north would have achieved just 700,000 kWh.
“When Greencroft Two is complete, we estimate that new solar and existing on-site wind turbines combined will generate over 8m kWh per year of clean, renewable energy.
“Cost increases have raised the price of the development from £14m to £21m since the start of the project, which includes an additional £4.8m in sustainable practices. HSBC UK, which is providing the finance, has been very flexible about that. They understand what we’re doing and the payback it will deliver.
“Wind turbines and solar panels will both last 25 years, which gives you plenty of payback time. It’s also putting up the value of your building – your asset is worth that much more if it’s a mini power station.
“I believe from customers’ viewpoint, sustainability comes a close second to price. If you have a good price and you’re very sustainable, as we are, it’s good for business as well as the planet.
“We introduced the UK’s first wine-specific canning line back in 2019 and we’re now diversifying into soft drinks. Aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable and are already popular with consumers who have accepted them, much as they accepted screwtops for wine bottles.
“Our next project will be the development of an automated warehouse on our existing land in Durham. Our sustainability programme extends beyond energy to include our social responsibilities, and so we are investing in ongoing training for our 550 employees.”
Tony Cleary, Managing Director, Lanchester Wine Group