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MOD’s Climate Change and Sustainability Lead, Lt Gen Richard Nugee, opens carbon negative accommodation at Nesscliff Training Camp in Shropshire

Image Credit: Landmarc Support Solutions

The accommodation blocks form part of a wider investment being undertaken by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). The programme is being part-funded using money from a £200m investment to improve Armed Forces accommodation, which was announced by the Defence Secretary last summer. £45m is being invested in building new carbon efficient accommodation on the Defence Training Estate in a project called the Net-Zero Carbon Accommodation Programme (NetCAP).

Lt Gen Nugee was briefed on the programme, which will see over 40 new carbon efficient accommodation blocks, providing more than 1,900 bed spaces, installed across the country by DIO. The blocks are being built by Reds10, through DIO’s contract with industry partner Landmarc Support Services.

The General also watched the demolition of some 1930s Nissen huts, which will be replaced with more of the NetCAP buildings in a second phase at Nesscliff later this year. He then toured the three completed buildings with Paul Ruddick, Reds10 Chairman, and cut the ribbon to officially open the new accommodation.

The first NetCAP building opened at Westdown Camp on Salisbury Plain last summer and has since been followed by other new carbon efficient blocks at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire, Brunswick Camp in Surrey and Knook Camp, also on Salisbury Plain. Each new block is an iteration on the same design, with the Reds10 team looking at ways to reduce energy use and embodied carbon for each new version.

The three buildings at Nesscliff have improved on the Westdown Camp proof of concept and have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of –5, thanks to solar panels on the roof, air source heat pumps and a heat recovery system in the showers and drying rooms. This means they will be able to generate power for the site, reducing electricity costs. The team were also able to reduce embodied carbon by 30% at Nesscliff, as compared to the Westdown Camp prototype. SMART technology in the blocks allows Landmarc to monitor energy use, how the buildings are being used and if necessary, make changes remotely to all the NetCAP buildings. This further helps to reduce energy use and running costs.

Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew, Head of the Overseas and Training Region says:

"I was delighted to welcome Lt Gen Nugee to Nesscliff Training Camp and show him these buildings, which are a testament to the MOD’s commitment to sustainability. As our Climate Change and Sustainability lead, he took a real interest in all of the steps being taken to make the blocks as efficient as possible.

“As well as being as sustainable as we can make them, these new modular built blocks are the sort of high-quality accommodation our serving personnel deserve, which helps them to give their best during a training exercise.”

Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc, who project managed the installation, says:

“We are committed to supporting the MOD and DIO with their net zero carbon goals, so this was a great opportunity to show Lt Gen Nugee how we're driving down carbon by improving building standards across the Defence Training Estate.

“Not only is this investment helping to deliver a more sustainable estate but it also supports the government aim to improve living accommodation for our Armed Forces, whilst helping to kick start the economy by using an end-to-end UK supply chain.”

Paul Ruddick, CEO of Reds10 says:

“We are delighted to be delivering continuous improvements to the programme, alongside DIO and Landmarc, with each NetCAP building. The programme is leading the way in the government’s commitment to build back better, greener and faster. The buildings at Nesscliff Training Area truly showcase how agile the approach to the programme has been, from the very start. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to show Lt Gen Nugee the buildings personally.”   

The remainder of the £200 million investment is being spent on Service Family Accommodation and training accommodation at Longmoor Training Camp, and improvements to Single Living Accommodation in Army barracks, RAF bases and Naval establishments.

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Video Transcript

My name is Lieutenant General Richard Nugee. I'm the Climate Change and Sustainability Lead for the Ministry of Defence and I'm here today to open the three newest buildings on the estate that are net negative here in Nesscliff.

Congratulations on a really really exciting opening.

What's so exciting about this is every aspect of the building has been designed specifically to try and capture heat, try and capture the energy that we put into the building, in order to reduce the carbon footprint that these buildings create and it's a marked improvement on some of the other buildings that we've already built in this style, where we've got ourselves down to almost sort of carbon neutral, they're carbon negative.

The opportunity to bring the net carbon zero accommodation to the training estate came about when the government decided to bring additional funding to help kick-start the economy as a result of the global pandemic.

In deciding how we would design the buildings and who we would use to build them, we were very particular in finding a British designer  manufacturer and that led to the decision to work with Reds10.

Reds10 supply chain, more impressively, is an end-to-end UK supply chain so all of that money designed to kick-start the economy has been spent here in the UK.

The Nesscliff buildings are an improvement on the prototype from Westdown. These buildings are net zero operational carbon and we've done that by introducing a number of things into the buildings.These include solar panels on the roof, air source heat pumps, underfloor heating and heat recovery systems in the showers and drying rooms.

We've also improved the internal fit out of the building as well increase the specification of the toilets, improve the bedroom layouts and also we've added window contacts into the bedrooms to make sure we understand when buildings are being occupied.

In addition to that, the building has SMART building technology. We can remote monitor the buildings from Landmarc's head office at Westdown. This enables us to understand trends, how the buildings are being used and we can take the learnings in one building and feed them across all the 40 and make those changes within half an hour, rather than send out people to 40 different sites. All of which reduces the FM cost of the site and also increases the operational efficiency of the buildings.

Some of the other benefits of these buildings, we can actually cut various compartments off within the building so you can have different users using the buildings at any one time. We have all people from across both defence, cadets policemen and women coming down to here and we can accommodate all of those people now. There is self-contained shower blocks etc inside these buildings that enable us to have huge flexibility and huge agility in the people that we can accommodate and in what we can do with them.

So the accommodation that we're in now it's an old camp, we've got some nice new facilities here that’s really improved the welfare for the lads here, with respect to having the washing and drying facilities which makes a really good change, which is really helping in the comfort of the troops as well. Especially after a long day of arduous training.

There are three things that come out of this. One is we're saving money on old buildings being maintained because these will take much less money to maintain and much less money in terms of energy to heat. That money can go back into the training estate, can go back into the MOD to improve our capability. The second is that actually our soldiers, sailors and air personnel, they have a certain standard of living.

You look at these buildings and they'll say “the military are investing in me and it’s worth staying” so there's a retention element to this as well. And then the third aspect of this which is so important is that we're improving the standard of living.

We want them to get a good night's sleep, we want them to be treated well so they can operate at the top of their game when they're outside the camp on the training. That's why it's worth investing in buildings like this and I'm really excited that we're really starting to develop with not a huge amount of money a completely new training estate in order to be able to deliver better training and therefore better capability for our soldiers, sailors and air personnel.

 

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