“Because we have been working on environmental issues for some time I was surprised at how much useful practical information was new to me which I can now apply within my organization.”
Sheila Daly, University of Portsmouth
Utilise Plus Event Report: Sustainability Tour of Brighton Earthship
On a cool September morning, the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC welcomed delegates to the Brighton Earthship for a Sustainability Tour. This event was part of the Utilise Plus programme, which helps small and medium sized enterprises save energy, reducing their costs and Greenhouse Gas emissions in the process.
The SBP CIC’s Jack Dale introduced the event, giving an overview of Utilise Plus and the services it offers, including grant funding, energy audits and a variety of events. Jack then handed over to Mischa Hewitt, Director of the Low Carbon Trust. The Brighton Earthship was completed in 2006 and was the Low Carbon Trust’s first project, as well as the first ever earthship to be built in England. Mischa outlined the basic principles behind earthships: they heat themselves, cool themselves, power themselves, harvest their own water and treat their own sewage. In doing so, they have a minimal impact on the environment.
After Mischa’s talk, it was time for the tour! Mischa took us outside and showed us how they used old car tires for their walls, explaining that – unlike rammed earth or straw bales – the tires are not affected by damp. Roughly 1,000 tires were used throughout the earthship. Next, we were up on the roof to see the vast array of solar panels that power the building. What’s more, the site is home to the first ever small-scale wind turbine in Brighton!
We then headed back inside the earthship where Mischa passed around a ‘glass brick’ made from taping together old bottles, which gives the effect of stained glass. We also got an insight into the off-grid rainwater purification system, which allows for water to be treated on-site to be made safe to drink.
Mischa concluded the tour by outlining some of the lessons that the Brighton Earthship could offer to the small and medium sized enterprises in attendance, using his ‘hierarchy of energy measures’: consider low-energy lighting; efficient heating, cooling and hot water; effective building fabric; and renewable energy systems. Furthermore, Mischa advised that organisations watch out for ‘trigger points’ to identify the best time for installing energy saving measures and making the most of what they already have.
With the tour finished, delegates networked over light refreshments. The event seemed to inspire many, with Chloe Bullock of Materialise Interiors calling it “very interesting”, while Gareth Giles of Whaleback appreciated the “knowledgeable presentation by Mischa.” Lisa Ryan of Robinson Low Francis said it was “a must for all small businesses.” We hope to see everyone again at one of our future events!
This event was fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the Utilise Plus programme. At the Sustainable Business Partnership CIC, we love hearing from enthusiastic speakers, interesting venues, and dynamic event partners. If you’d like to work with us then please get in touch.