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Council plans to go greener with new building

Local authorities have been heavily involved in efforts to make homes more energy efficient with a series of schemes to fit external wall insulation or cavity wall insulation. This has the benefits of cutting fuel poverty as homes become cheaper to heat, as well as lowering carbon footprints.  

However, it is not just everyone else's properties or indeed its own housing stock that local authorities have to take into account when it comes to carbon footprints.

In many cases, councils find themselves working out of buildings that lack energy efficiency, with these often being older structures that are not easy to upgrade and improve. Moreover, as some of these may be fine listed buildings, it could be difficult to carry out major changes, let alone demolish them altogether and rebuild.

Nonetheless, some councils are doing what they can to build new offices that are greener and better insulated. Conwy County Council may be a prime case in point.

The local authority has just awarded a contract to B&K to build a new headquarters office building in the centre of town. Four storeys high and containing 95,000 sq ft of office space, the building will bring under one roof functions carried out from 13 different offices at present.

Existing buildings on the site will be demolished, with the programme also having a second phase to be carried out by Morgan Sindall's specialist regeneration arm Muse. This will involve refurbishing a Grade II-listed building on the east side of the town.

Development director at Muse Wes Erlam said: "This is a great deal for Colwyn Bay, with tens of millions set to be invested into the ongoing regeneration of the town.

"We’re working with Conwy Council to deliver this important development which will help them to operate more efficiently and reduce their carbon footprint by bringing a number of key services together into one energy-efficient and accessible building."

Elsewhere, refurbishing council offices for the 21st century can be a costly and painstaking business. In Manchester, for example, the gothic town hall is undergoing a makeover costing £330 million, nearly as much as the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.