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Drainage & Plumbing Education

Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), Exeter University


Sustainable Geberit HDPE pipework has been used to construct a 35,000 litre rainwater harvesting system for the BREEAM rated ‘Outstanding’ Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI). Part of Exeter University, ESI leads cutting edge research into interdisciplinary solutions dealing with the problems of environmental change.

At 35,000 litres, the rainwater harvesting system is twice normal BREEAM-compliant size and combined with low water use sanitary ware and automatic shut-off valves, stores rainwater for the building’s toilets. Geberit HDPE pipework is perfect for schemes where sustainability is a consideration. The pipe is made from High Density Polythene, a simple compound of carbon and hydrogen atoms which is harmless to the environment and completely recyclable.

Falmouth Exeter Plus’s Head of Capital Projects, George Lewis, said: “The University of Exeter’s decision to build a BREEAM Outstanding building and to minimise the use of PVC presented a number of design and specification challenges but Geberit’s HDPE system has provided a robust alternative.”

All of Geberit’s products undergo Life Cycle Assessments. Environmental concerns, ranging from climate change to resource use, are considered – the lower the points, the lower the impact on the environment. The Life Cycle Assessment concludes that, from an ecological point of view, plastic and multi-layered plastic-aluminium piping systems have markedly better results than metal pipes including copper and stainless steel.

Responsible manufacturers

One of the other contributing factors to ESI receiving its ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating is the care taken to source products with low environmental impact – the majority of building elements specified achieved Green Guide A or A+ ratings – from responsible manufacturers such as Geberit, certified to ISO14001, BES6001 or SC/PEFC.