Canebuzo Beginnings

Rural Requirements: there is a growing demand for business space in rural communities such as Long Sutton to provide jobs and negate unnecessary commutes into larger towns and cities. Lincolnshire County Council regularly assesses the supply and demand of business accommodation across the county and has been especially keen to deliver a more diverse range of business opportunities in rural communities. A review in 2009 identified a need for business space in these communities for economic growth and development and with the availability of high- speed broadband it has been possible to deliver this with the positive outcome of increasing local business diversity and employment.

Canebuzo (Carbon Neutral Business Zone) began its life as the brainchild of sustainable and ecological architect Dr Jerry Harrall and was conceived through his 2004 PhD. Having already designed, built and occupied the UK’s first earth-sheltered architects offices, Canebuzo was the natural progression in the intelligent design techniques evolving from Dr Harrall’s evidence based research.

Situated in Gedney, Long Sutton was a redundant garage site. This would become the ideal home for Canebuzo and would comprise of 7 office spaces in total, Lincolnshire’s first carbon neutral business zone.

The site was quickly purchased from South Holland District Council and Dr Harrall through his company SEArch set about demonstrating that it was possible to design and build offices that would significantly reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.

In 2009 work commenced on the design and planning of CANEBUZO and the construction of the first office space (number 9 Hoddins Way). This space became SEArch’s second generation earth sheltered office and proved in the real world that the design philosophy employed, showcased the company’s design solutions.

A vision for the future

Lincolnshire County Council has always had a positive and responsible attitude to economic development and regeneration within its boundaries. The council seeks to develop solutions that allow for business creation, expansion and innovation to encourage sustainable business growth. Also important was to ensure the future viability of its small businesses and where possible protect them from uncertain costs such as future energy bills, while ensuring a low impact
on the local and national environment.

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that a large percentage of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions – a major cause of climate change – come from the energy we use to heat, light and run our homes and businesses. It is therefore vital to ensure that new buildings are built in ways that minimise the use of energy and reduce these harmful emissions.

When the Enterprise and Regeneration teams within LCC were introduced to Canebuzo they immediately recognised an outstanding regeneration project to invest in and create new business opportunities.

Canebuzo fits in perfectly with initiatives such as The Green Deal, the Code for Sustainable Homes and SUSTAIN, a programme of activities which aim to help Lincolnshire’s business to become more competitive and at the same time reduce their carbon footprints to help safeguard the environment.


Results from the number 9 Hoddins Way formed the blueprint for what came next. Over two years this building’s performance data was independently monitored and verified and helped inform and improve the design and performance efficiency of Canebuzo.

These business units benefit from a low tech, low invasive, intelligent design approach. This has enabled the offices to achieve a near naturally heated and naturally ventilated environment. Impressive standards are achieved by implementing a passive solar design strategy allied with a combination of a high thermal mass superstructure, that’s
externally super-insulated.

Performance in Practice – SEArch’s Offices

Stable internal air temperatures are the defining characteristic of this high thermal mass building. During its second year of occupation an average internal air temperature of 23oC was recorded with an external temperature variance of 57o C. Of modest assistance in maintaining this thermal performance was a nominal back-up heating load recorded from the under-floor heating system.

The whole unit acts like a giant storage heater absorbing all forms of heat generated in the building, plus solar energy, storing it in the building mass and then releasing it when the outside temperatures drop.

Canebuzo scored an A+ for the EPC

Since the units have been completed they have now all received their energy performance certificates (EPC’s) and each unit scored an A+. The achieved EPC ratings mean that each unit has a below-zero carbon footprint, ranging from -8 to -19 kgCO2/m2/year making them possibly the greenest commercial buildings in the UK.

A Positive Legacy

The legacy of Canebuzo is that it took local brownfield land and regenerated it using local and public and private funds to generate more local economic activity. It also increased local employment and spending with local businesses, securing local business futures, leading the low carbon economy and enhancing the county’s environmental credentials.

In recent years the world has changed with the emergence of climate change, struggling economies, rising energy costs and the growth of green economies. Public perception of these issues has risen significantly. It’s not just the environmentalists who are talking about this, it is the politicians, the economists, business and industry leaders and most importantly the public.

Lincolnshire County Council recognises this changing attitude and has created a national example for green, sustainable development with Canebuzo. It showcases environmental best practice delivering quantifiable results in energy performance and occupational savings while demonstrating that it’s not just the environment that is important but local communities and local businesses.

This project really does address a commitment to supporting a green economy. The occupiers will be able to enjoy a comfortable climate inside with little or no additional heating.

That means their energy bills will be next to nothing. With energy customers being warned to expect future price rises and as the UK becomes increasingly reliant on gas imports, occupiers at Canebuzo could save over £1,500 per year on their energy bills. Canebuzo will afford its resident business lower overheads, enhancing their economic viability:

• Low to no energy bills
• No mains sewerage costs
• No mains storm water costs

The local economy benefits with:

• Forty five secured and new jobs
• Six additional local businesses
• Increased local business diversity
• Raising Long Sutton’s county and national profile