5 June 2014

Big eco pay-off as Brighton crematorium upgrades

Woodvale Crematorium is to hold a ceremony on Friday (6th June) to bless its recently refurbished North Chapel, marking the successful completion of a nine month £1.5 million building project. 

Prompted by aging equipment and changes in environmental legislation, Brighton & Hove City Council has invested in the biggest upgrade and refurbishment at the site in twenty years, making major improvements to environmental performance and the customer experience.  

The crematorium remained open for funeral services throughout the project which was designed and managed by the council’s in house property maintenance team.

More efficient cremators are now using significantly less gas, reducing the crematorium’s operating costs and carbon footprint, while state-of-the-art filtration equipment is helping to minimise emissions of mercury and other pollutants from the site, in line with European rules. 

At the same time, Woodvale has switched to efficient gas heating using recycled heat to help keep visitors to the 150 year old chapels warm and comfortable during services.  Other improvements included installing new music and hearing loop systems, redecorating the chapels, building new access ramps at the chapel doorways, and putting in new energy efficient lighting to the driveway.

Brighton & Hove City Council has also taken the opportunity to redecorate and upgrade the beautiful Victorian Extra-Mural Chapel.  With upgraded WC facilities, a new music system and a hearing loop for hearing aid users, this chapel now offers a peaceful and unique setting for customers to hold cremation, burial and memorial services.

Councillor Ollie Sykes, lead member for finance and resources, said:

“I am extremely pleased that Brighton & Hove City Council has worked so closely with the local community in blessing this chapel which has been refurbished as part of these important improvement works at Woodvale Crematorium.

“The new facilities will help us provide the best possible service at what is a very difficult time for friends and relatives. We‘re using the latest equipment so that we remove most of the harmful mercury emissions and expect to save tens of thousands of pounds each year by being more efficient and using less gas.

“At the same time we will also offer improved facilities for visitors so for example we have new hearing loop systems for the deaf and hard of hearing.”

There has been a crematorium at Woodvale since 1928, although the cemetery and chapel buildings date back to 1852. Woodvale is one of the few Grade 2 listed crematoria buildings in the country, and all work was planned and carried out with respect for its unique heritage.  The project was carried out in collaboration with building contractors Kier Construction.

Woodvale handles around 2,100 cremations per year. Woodvale is now 100% abated to achieve strict environmental standards, with mercury emissions from the site being reduced by at least 95% overall.

Overall energy consumption is expected to have dropped significantly.  Initial analysis suggests a saving in gas consumption of up to 40% compared with previous years.

Reduction in energy consumption and costs could be up to £42k per year

Carbon emissions should be reduced by as much as 314 Tonnes per year, representing more than 60% of the total carbon reduction for 2013 / 2014 for all B&HCC’s corporate buildings

The capture and recycling of waste heat to heat the chapels consolidates these energy savings.