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UK helped towards sustainable construction

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Wolseley, distributor of construction materials, has opened a showcase for sustainable building products and construction methods, which aims to accelerate the UK's move towards sustainable construction.

The 6,800 sq ft Sustainable Building Center, built at a cost of £3.2 million, is the first building of its kind in the UK, providing a living, interactive centre for decision-makers throughout the construction industry.

The building, at Wolseley UK's site at Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, will help make sustainable building a reality. It aims to enable all involved in construction – from architects through to builders – to experience the latest technologies and the widest range of sustainable, energy-efficient and recycled building products.

The Sustainable Building Center is already attracting interest from some of the UK's leading developers and property companies engaged in major building programmes. Even before its official opening, more than 100 visits have been scheduled by customers and other interested groups.

The Center showcases a wide range of different types of product, many in their working environment, to provide visitors with hard data on the quantifiable benefits of the latest materials and construction methods. Renewable energy generators, such as solar panels, have been installed with a display showing the amount of power they are generating. 

Real-world sustainable products have been incorporated into the building from below the ground to the roof: drainage, sub-structure, walls, roofs, finishes, floors, windows, heating and ventilation, lighting, bathrooms and landscaping.

The two-storey building also features a training and presentation theatre and café facilities for events, launches and demonstrations.

Nigel Sibley, Wolseley UK managing director, said:  "Wolseley is committed to helping the industry reduce the environmental footprint left by developers and occupiers alike. Both regulation, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes, and market forces are driving the construction industry to embrace sustainability. Certainly recent steep rises in energy costs have concentrated the minds of both householders and developers on the benefits of energy-efficient homes."

The building features 170 types of products, including: photovoltaics; micro wind; sedum roof; e-glazing; natural lighting; natural insulation; green floor coverings; mini Combined Heat and Power (CHP); rainwater harvesting; biomass; ground source heat pump; engineered timber; low energy lighting; water saving devices; solar thermal; and sustainable drainage.

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