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Scottish Parliament hears about Enviroglass

Sita Goudie of Enviroglass addresses the Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built EnvironmentLast night delegates at a special session of the Scottish Government's Cross Party Group on Architecture and the Built Environment heard how Shetland is utilising its waste glass in an innovative way to produce high quality products.

The special session was scheduled to show how using locally sourced building materials is not only good for the environment, but can create skilled jobs and support regeneration – particularly in rural and economically deprived areas.

The group heard evidence from members of Glasgow Caledonian University's Natural Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (NEES) Project; Richard Atkins of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS); and John Easton of SUSTaim, a carbon footprinting consultancy specialising in the built environment. They were followed by Sita Goudie of Enviroglass, who showed how Shetland has developed a unique way to deal with its waste glass to create a building product with a high recycled content.

Using locally sourced natural and recycled building materials, as opposed to higher tech solutions made from plastics and other unsustainable materials, are also much more in keeping with Scotland's architectural and cultural heritage, so securing the future of these industries will also secure the future of the traditional buildings that form part of the Scottish identity.

The meeting was sponsored by Mike MacKenzie, MSP for the Highlands and chaired by Jean Urquhart, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, and supported by Glasgow Caledonian University, the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) and Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS).

Mike MacKenzie MSP said, "I was delighted to help facilitate this meeting not least because there is considerable scope in Scotland for increasing the sustainability of our building practice better utilising locally sourced and sustainable materials, which will in turn help support local economies and help maintain the reservoir of local skills associated with the use of these materials. We have an opportunity to forge a new vernacular with regional distinctiveness which builds on the best practice of the past, deals with the challenges and opportunities of the present day and also looks to the future, embracing our current technology and capability."

Jean Urquhart MSP described the event as "An extraordinarily good and interesting evening" and promised to help the group take forward the unanimous message that the Scottish Government could unlock significant environmental, economic and social benefits by enabling producers and users of sustainable building materials to compete more equally with more modern mass-produced products. She was also very impressed with what is happening in Shetland and is hoping to get to Shetland in the new year to visit Enviroglass.

Sita Goudie, Environmental Improvement Officer with the Shetland Amenity Trust, which manages Enviroglass said: "This was a great opportunity to show how communities such as Shetland can take an innovative approach to overcome a local waste issue and in the process produce an environmentally sound building product. We have just installed new equipment at Enviroglass, which will enable us to increase our pre-cast production by up to 500%. We hope by raising the profile of our social enterprise at national level we can attract new customers and increase our sales nationally."

For more informationon the products and services being promoted by the NEES Project, please download the brochure of Best Practices, available at www.sustainablebuildingmaterials.org