Sustainability at the focus of Bombay Sapphire’s plans for Laverstoke Mill

Sustainability was vitally important to Bombay Sapphire at Laverstoke Mill. The design of a low carbon, BREEAM assessed, flagship distillery underpinned the design brief, which was supported by the client and design team from the outset.

Bombay Sapphire 470A BRE Group

BREEAM Outstanding (86.81%)
BREEAM Industrial 2008
Architect: GWP Architecture
Civil Engineer: Graham Schofield Associates
Contract Manager: Meller
Assessor Company: GWP Project Services

Green Strategy

Sustainability was vitally important to Bombay Sapphire at Laverstoke Mill. The design of a low carbon, BREEAM assessed, flagship distillery underpinned the design brief, which was supported by the client and design team from the outset.

There was a strong desire to reduce any impact on the existing environment, and ‘cradle to grave’ considerations formed a major part of the design philosophy. This included the recycling and reuse of existing building materials from demolished buildings across the site, and an ingenious idea to reuse spent botanicals from the distillation process as fuel for the biomass boiler – supplying heat and hot water to the whole site.

The use of cutting edge technologies was encouraged by the client. This has seen a multi-functional renewable energy strategy implemented – including a 6kW hydro-electric turbine located in the River Test.

Arguably the most impressive element has been the level of consultation and social responsibility adopted by the design and construction teams. In addition to engagement with a host of local and national bodies, there has been extensive community involvement. This has seen local residents build up a strong relationship with the construction works, which played host to local parish council meetings and local/national media events.


About the Building

The Bombay Sapphire Distillery and Process Buildings, at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, are linked and closely related existing buildings that have been subject to major refurbishment. This has transformed a former Victorian Paper Mill into the new home of Bombay Sapphire Gin, which includes a visitors’ centre and bar.

The five acre Laverstoke Mill is a complex site that includes Grade II listed buildings in a conservation area, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and a section of the River Test, which flows directly through the site. Central to the 2500m2 distillery are three still houses, which accommodate traditional copper stills that use renewable energy from a biomass boiler, photovoltaic array and hydro-electric turbine. The scheme was the first ever refurbishment project to achieve a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating, anywhere in the world. It is also the first distillery to be BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ certified.


“Sustainability is vitally important to Bombay Sapphire. It runs through all that we do, and has underpinned all of our plans for the distillery. As such, we were delighted to achieve an outstanding BREEAM design stage accreditation for the distillery process buildings. BREEAM has kept sustainability high up the agenda and has provided a benchmarking mechanism that feeds into our corporate sustainability policy and key performance indicators. Fundamentally, we also believe building such a sustainable distillery makes financial sense, increasing efficiency and long term operational energy and water use savings, which is why we are heating our glass houses using recovered heat from the distillery and using our spent botanicals to partially fuel our Biomass boiler.” Nik Fordham, Master Distiller The Bombay Spirits Company


The project scored 100% of available credits in the Energy and Management categories and more than 90% of credits in the Water, Materials and Waste categories. There was an additional 5% worth of innovation credits scored for exemplar performance levels achieved.


Environmental Features

  • EPC rating of ‘A’ – CO2 Index of 14
  • Building related carbon emissions less than 4kgCO2/m2
  • Renewable and low carbon energy, provided by a biomass boiler, photovoltaic array and hydro-electric turbine in the River Test, gives carbon savings of 38%
  • The biomass boiler also provides heat and hot water, using by-products from the gin distillation process as a fuel source
  • Key building materials, including bricks and roof tiles, have been recycled and reused from demolished buildings
  • More than 80% of the existing building structure retained
  • Rainwater harvesting and flow restricted water devices specified throughout
  • Ecology and biodiversity in the conservation area SSSI significantly enhanced
  • Part of the works included a major river diversion – the fish were relocated by a team of specialists by hand
  • Contractor site management, CCS and stakeholder consultation reached exemplar levels.


Images: Heatherwick Studio

Related links
Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill

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