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Sustainable Pioneer Lanchester Group Announces New State of the Art, Self-Powered Bottling Facility

Development of the UK’s newest wine bottling facility is well underway in County Durham, constructed with sustainability front of mind.

A restless pioneer of renewable energy, with a proven track record for pushing at the boundaries of green technology, the County Durham-based Lanchester Group of companies is investing in a new state-of-the-art, self-powered home for its Greencroft Bottling Company, the sister business to Lanchester Wines.

The new £20million building will be more than 22,000 square metres (around 240,000 square feet, equivalent to about four football pitches) and will more than double the potential capacity at Greencroft Bottling to up to 400million litres per year, which is equivalent to over a quarter (28%) of all wine sold in the UK[i].

When complete, Greencroft Two could accommodate up to 10 bottling lines and seven ancillary lines for bag-in-box, cans, pouches, key kegs or any new types of sustainable packaging. The first of Greencroft Two’s new lines will be operational by Spring 2023 – a new €3million counter-pressure line with sparkling capabilities. The company will then gradually bring the remaining existing lines over from the current Greencroft Bottling, without disruption to production.

The building will be the first in the UK to use Quadcore insulation PowerPanels fitted on the roof. Developed by Kingspan, the PowerPanels have a U-Value of 0.12 W/m2K, as does the insulation fitted on the walls, making Greencroft Two one of the most advanced thermally efficient buildings in the market. The PowerPanels in the roof will have 2 Megawatts of solar which will create around 1.7m kilowatt hours of electricity per year – the solar panels are efficient at cooler temperatures so County Durham’s bright and sunny, yet rather chilly, weather is perfect for our generating clean renewable power that we can use within our facility and assist us in reaching our sustainability targets.

Lanchester Group Managing Director, Tony Cleary

“We’re spending more than we might otherwise on a new building, investing an additional £3million in sustainable practices. But we’ll soon get that extra investment back through the energy savings, so what’s good for the planet is good for the business too,” says Lanchester Group Managing Director, Tony Cleary.

“We’ve even adjusted the gradient of the roof to make the most of the sun. On the north side, if we’d used the normal gradient, we would have had 400 kilowatt hours but by lowering it, we’ll get 700 kilowatt hours. The existing wind turbines will also provide backup power and we will, at a later date, be installing batteries to store the power we generate - the challenge with renewable energy is that it’s not always used when it’s produced.”

When Greencroft Two is complete, it is estimated that, overall (new solar and existing on-site wind turbines combined), the business will generate over 7 million Kilowatt hours per year of clean, renewable energy.

“We estimate we have spent about £10million on renewables since we started in 2011, with wind turbines, solar panels and heat pump technology. This building will be around £15million to complete and we estimate we have spent around £3million more than it would otherwise have cost to add the sustainability features.

“We’re a family business so if we can do it, then the big companies certainly can, being carbon neutral is just the beginning.”

[i] 1.5 billion litres of wine sold in the UK in 2019

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