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As local authorities continue to grapple with the issue of handling waste in an environmentally sound and cost effective way, waste to energy plants are proving to be a solution that offers a win/win/win approach with lower environmental impact, lower waste management costs and a source of renewable energy. John McMullan, commercial manager at Firestone has more

is just 12.7mm thick but has a compressive strength >800kPA (up to six times that of normal polyiso insulation) and enhances acoustic performance. This not only provided a robust, flat surface, making installation of the membrane quicker and easier, but also added structural strength to the entire roof system. Rob Dale, head of buildings &


new waste to energy plant in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, will burn

all non-recyclable waste, generating sufficient electricity to power 30,000 homes. The ash created from the process will be cleaned on site and sold for use in building materials, completing the environmental pedigree of the site. The state-of-the art facility will be operated by SITA for Suffolk County Council. Designed by TATA Projects based on a concept developed by Grimshaw, the architects behind the Eden project, the waste to energy plant took three years to build, including a thorough testing process. It has a waste processing capacity of 269,000 tonnes per year, with an average throughput of 5,000 tonnes per week. The design and construction process not

only prioritised the environmental goals of the site’s purpose as a waste to energy facility, but also carried that ethos through to all aspects of the specification. As Paul Leighton, site manager for SITA

UK explains: “This facility turns something we don’t want – the waste left after recycling – into something we do – enough electricity for 30,000 homes. “Our expectations for this site were very high; it wasn’t enough for it to simply fulfil its purpose of putting the county’s waste to good use, we also wanted it to be the best in terms of design, technology and operation.” Amongst the materials that helped to deliver this focus on sustainability were the EPDM membranes supplied by


Firestone Building Products for use on the flat roof areas of the boiler room, the tipping halls, the waste bunker, the electrical building, the workshops and the visitor centre and as a lining for the fire reservoir that feeds the sprinkler system across the site.

MEMBRANE TECHNOLOGY “EPDM is an extremely flexible and durable material that enhances the sustainability of a building by offering a long-term solution with excellent UV, chemical and puncture resistance. EPDM has a proven track record, providing more than 50 years waterproofing integrity, explains John McMullan, commercial manager at Firestone. “EPDM also delivers the goals of an eco-

specification. The Firestone RubberGard EPDM single ply roofing membrane has a ‘good’ Green Guide rating and is completely inert with no platicisers” McMullan added. Firestone supplied 7,000m2 of RubberGard EPDM membrane for the roof areas of the plant. A self-adhesive vapour-control layer was laid onto the profiled steel roof deck and mineral wool insulation provided an environmentally- friendly solution to enhance the building’s thermal performance. To improve compression resistance and increase the roof’s durability, the company’s ISOGARD HD cover board was factory-laminated to the upper surface of the mineral wool insulation. A high density polysio cover board, ISOGARD HD

Figure 1: The new waste to energy plant in Great

Blakenham, near Ipswich

architecture at TATA Steel Projects explains: “The longevity of a roof is a major factor in its sustainability because it not only avoids future re-roofing and repairs but also protects the fabric and contents of the building. “Firestone ISOGARD is designed to spread the load on the roof and protect the insulation and substrate below, adding structural strength to the roof. It was therefore used to enhance the life-cycle of the roof, while aiding speed and ease of installation for the EPDM membrane.” With this material adhered to the roof substrate, the contractor cut the 1.5mm thick RubberGard membrane to size and shape, using calculations provided by Firestone to ensure optimum use of materials. The membrane was positioned onto the roof surface and adhered to the cover board, with all splices created using the company’s QuickSeam Tape, a three inch wide double-sided tape that creates an instant bond between each section of the membrane. The flexibility and puncture resistance of EPDM was also key to the selection of Firestone’s GeoGard EPDM geomembrane as the lining system for the site’s fire reservoir. A similar process of cutting, laying and sealing the splices using the company’s QuickSeam system was used to create the reservoir. The Waste to Energy plant in Great

Blakenham is now fully operational and is set to provide waste management and renewable energy generation for homes across Suffolk and Norfolk for many years to come, aided by EPDM membranes that are flexible and durable enough to support the plant’s anticipated service life.

Firestone +32 2 711 44 50


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