A piled slab platform technique that releases 82% less carbon than traditional methods ­ and it¹s quicker, safer and less wasteful, too

Winner: Roger Bullivant

The judges were bowled over by this modular foundation system from Roger Bullivant, which has the potential to transform the eco-credentials of the ground engineering sector. SystemFirst, the culmination of 30 years’ research and development from the firm, is a piled slab platform technique that is quicker, safer and miles more environmentally friendly than traditional trench foundations. The figures speak for themselves. SystemFirst releases 82% less carbon than trench fill and wastes 88% less water. It also uses 92 % less raw material – it is thought applying the system to a third of UK housing construction would save 11 million tonnes of quarried aggregates annually. Astoundingly, the same move would cut Europe’s carbon emissions from the production of construction materials by 10% over the next four years. The system uses lightweight steel, which is easier and cheaper to transport and, since no trenches have to be dug, it is safer for workers than traditional methods. Its thermal insulation also complies with level six of the Code for Sustainable Homes. And the great news is it doesn’t cost the earth – the system has a comparable price tag to finished floor.

Runners up

Building Design Partnership

Mornings at the Leigh Academy are somewhat smoother than the typical start to the school day, thanks to a computerised system developed by BDP. Technology installed in the building eases all aspects of life, from automatic roll call through an Oyster card scanner system to a secure intranet where pupils can upload their homework and download their marks, plus school news and sports highlights. Automatic skylight vents keep classrooms fresh and a night-time cooling system, which stores coolness in earth tubes, is used to create a comfortable working environment. The strength of this project lies in applying existing technology in a creative way to ease the everyday running of a busy school.


Corus has a track record for developing robust and sustainable products. Now it is winning praise for creating the world’s first carbon-neutral building envelope. Confidex Sustain measures and offsets all parts of the cladding system, including prefinished steel cladding sheets, fixings and insulation, right from the manufacturing stage through to installation, use and end of life, be it re-use, recycling or disposal. Corus has worked closely with the supply chain to measure the impact of cladding through its life cycle – companies that have collaborated on this project include CA Group, Eurobond Laminates and Tegral Metal Forming. The system has already been successfully used in a new bottling facility for drinks company Bulmers.

Fitzpatrick Contractors

Green-minded firms have been urging staff to turn off their monitors at night for years. Now, a new technology can help them make up for lazy or forgetful employees. The Intelligent Power System, installed at Fitzpatricks’ BREEAM “excellent”-rated head office, reduces energy waste by cutting off power to non-essential equipment – such as printers, faxes and vending machines – outside of normal working hours. The circuit is linked to timers, set up to shut up shop between 7pm and 7am and all day at weekends, and override switches allow flexibility for staff doing overtime. The system will save15.6 tonnes of carbon and more than 36,000 kwh a year, according to figures from the Carbon Trust.

Marley Eternit

Ever thought your roof could help in the battle against asthma? Probably not, but get ready to change your mind. Marley Eternit has created a tile coating that absorbs pollutants that contribute to asthmatic and bronchial problems. The product, called EcoLogic contains a catalyst that removes nitrogen oxides from the air when activated by the sun’s rays. The tiles are expected to continue absorbing pollutants for 20 years and, during their lifetime, could remove the same amount of nitrogen oxide as is produced by a car driving 100,000 miles. Manchester council is trialling the pollution-busting product as part of project to refurbish eight houses.

Swift Horsman Group

Swift Horsman has developed Mediwall – bathroom panelling which is made from 80% recycled plastics. The tiles can be pre-plumbed and pre-wired off site, which makes installation simple and minimises construction waste. Moreover, they are sufficiently stiff to stand alone, without a steel or timber supporting frame. Hospitals and schools are already using this product, which is easy to clean, making it particularly suitable for public washrooms. The beauty of these tiles is that not only are they made from recycled materials, but they are 100% recyclable. This creates a virtuous manufacturing loop, with minimal waste to landfill.