Plans for a £8m eco-friendly training centre which will be partially built below ground and will rely on solar power and natural underground heating have been unveiled by Hazelwood chemical company Lubrizol.
Lubrizol, which employs 350 employees at the site to develop and test the latest generation performance additives, has described the centre as a significant investment which will ensure the site continues to carry out world-leading research in the heart of the Amber Valley.
At the same time, it promises to be the most eco-friendly development ever built in the county, with a host of innovations designed to reduce its carbon footprint and minimise the disruption to the local environment and community.
Designed by a local architects Morrison Design, the centre will directly replace the site’s ageing training facility and will be as energy efficient as possible, using solar power, grey water recycling, a geo-thermal heating system – tapping into the earth’s natural underground heat – and a living green roof planted with grasses.
It will be split level and built into the hillside so that the majority of it is underground, while its position and a new tree planting scheme will mean it is hidden from view for local residents and passing traffic.
Lubrizol, which says the new centre will open at the end of next year, also plans to work with local farmers and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to ensure that any landscaping carried out as part of the development uses native trees and plants.
It has also devised a development schedule designed to keep the impact caused by construction traffic to a minimum.
Simon Griffiths, General Manager said: “We are very proud of our plans for our new training centre, which represents a significant investment in Hazelwood and will ensure that we continue the ground-breaking research and development that has been its hallmark of the site for the past 70 years.
“Our current training facility has served us well but the building is coming to the end of its lifespan and is no longer fit for purpose. This new centre is a direct replacement and will use the very latest building technology to ensure that it is as environmentally friendly and energy-efficient as possible.
“At the same time, we have worked hard to ensure that the building will have the least-possible impact on the local community as possible, both during its development and operational phase.”
Lubrizol has spent several years drawing up its plans, which originally involved converting a former barn complex elsewhere on its site.
However, it changed to the current scheme after discussing the plans with local residents, Hazelwood Parish Council and Amber Valley District Council.
Mr Griffiths said: “We understand that we have a responsibility to those who live and work alongside us and as such we have taken into consideration the needs of Lubrizol, Hazelwood and our customers.
“Training our staff and sharing new ideas and technology is vital to the work carried out at Hazelwood, but we take our duty of care to the local community very seriously and these exciting plans have been very much shaped by the feedback that we received.”