Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability at Birmingham City Council, reflects on the green aspects of the revamped Birmingham New Street station, which opened on Sunday…
The opening of the transformed New Street Station and Grand Central shopping complex have rightfully brought a tremendous feeling of pride to Birmingham.
As a regeneration, transportation and retail business project, it has undoubtedly delivered.
But for me, just as pleasing are the environmental credentials of the scheme – which deserve just as much coverage as all of the others positive points that are linked to it.
Some of the little-known sustainable aspects of the completed station are:
- Low energy and high efficiency LED lighting
- 60 per cent of toilet flushing demand and irrigation for planting provided by a rainwater harvesting system
- Energy efficient lifts and escalators
- Natural daylight for the stunning concourse and natural ventilation where possible to minimise energy consumption
- Responsibly and legally sourced materials including timber
- Use of alternative materials such as carpet tiles containing yarn made from recycled fish nets!
The new Birmingham New Street is also the first Network Rail station to incorporate a standalone Combined Heat and Power plant, a form of energy generation Birmingham has been at the forefront of for many years.
The station’s electricity is taken from the plant – with waste heat transferred into a city centre district energy scheme, meaning others are benefitting from the development in the process.
And the good news doesn’t end there. For example, 98 per cent of material from the demolished Stephenson Tower (a high-rise block of flats on the old station site, now home to the John Lewis store) was recycled. Overall, the project met its aim to recycle or re-use a minimum of 95 per cent of non-hazardous waste material.
Another thing not many people would have realised was the fact that every week during construction, a special train made two journeys into the construction site from a logistics depot in Bordesley, keeping 10,000 lorry journeys off the city’s roads throughout the life of the project.
So, in summary, the New Street gateway project is something Birmingham can be proud of from an economic, social and environmental perspective – making the project truly sustainable in all senses of the word.