Guest Blog: Jonathan Hey – Discover Sustainable Design Concepts with Westbury Garden Rooms

Discover Sustainable Design Concepts with Westbury Garden Rooms

Haddonstone takes sustainability very seriously, ensuring that our manufacturing processes do not negatively impact the environment and carefully balancing the management of finite natural resources with future sustainability.

Similarly, Westbury Garden Rooms are another company that have taken great steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and have successfully made changes throughout their entire business.  With the environmental climate being in its current state, we wanted to see how the Essex-based company have made themselves a sustainable company by exploring the lengths they have gone to for the environment.

In our latest guest blog, Managing Director Jonathan Hey talks to us about his commitment to sustainable design, his business values and ultimately, his clients.  Jonathan has been at the helm of British design and build company, Westbury Garden Rooms, since he established it over 30 years ago. Through his experience, expertise, dedication and attention to detail, he has earned Westbury a reputation for building exceptionally beautiful timber glazed extensions of the highest quality. Past projects have included orangeries, kitchen extensions and pool houses that stand out for all the right reasons.

  • Photo of Westbury Garden Room's Founder Jonathan Hey

A British, family-run company dedicated to the environment

Homeowners adore Westbury’s ability to completely transform their property with an extension, and where every step is undertaken in-house, it is a brand they can trust. What’s truly remarkable, however, is Westbury’s environmental policy and their devotion to sustainable design. This is still relatively unusual in an industry which has long been associated with bad waste management, unethical supply chains and damaging production processes. While there’s still a lot to change in the design and build industry, companies like Westbury are making a difference.

“With mass deforestation of our magnificent forests, excessive toxic emissions, and constant global warming, we believe that every business should be dedicating themselves to working in a way that reduces their carbon footprint as much as possible,” Johnathan explains.

“With the future of our amazing planet at stake, we’re proud of our green credentials. Our customers have made it very clear that they admire our dedication to reducing our environmental impact and want to support us.”

  • Image of a Westbury Garden Room Orangery with turret topped roof lantern

What materials do you use?

“As a whole, the building industry needs to start moving away from using fossil fuels and non-renewable materials on mass. They produce huge amounts of greenhouse gasses to supply, then just as much again once they have reached the end of their lifespan and are recycled.

At Westbury, we use a modified timber called Accoya, which is an outstanding material when it comes to durability and sustainability. Accoya is one of the few products available that has been Cradle to Cradle Gold certified since 2010. This means that it is CO₂negative through its full life cycle, from the forest to the end of its life when it’s turned to waste.”

  • The Westbury Garden Rooms Quinn Orangery

Why is Accoya so special?

“Accoya is produced from an abundantly available, fast-growing tree called Radiata pine which is grown in certified, sustainably managed forests. Because of its speedy growth rate, it is a highly renewable alternative to slower-growing timbers like tropical hardwoods, and energy-intensive materials such as aluminium, PVC, and WPC.”

“Unfortunately, most sustainable softwood timber materials are found wanting as building materials, which need to be tough and long-lasting. However, the pine is put through a chemical process called acetylation, which gives the wood both superior thermal insulation and astounding durability, making it ideal.  Acetylation generates acetic acid as a by-product, which is then sold for reuse in a wide range of industries including the food industry, meaning there is no waste.”

  • Image of a Westbury Garden Room orangery as part of a Victorian extension

Why do you place so much importance on longevity?

“The most sustainable buildings and landscapes are those that never have to be replaced. By building garden rooms and orangeries designed with longevity in mind, we are not adding to the throwaway culture that causes so many environmental problems. There is nothing worse than a uPVC conservatory, for example, that ends up in a landfill after a few years because it has been poorly made.”

“We understand this and the latest techniques and materials go into the making of every Westbury product, ensuring our garden rooms and orangeries maintain their fine finish for years to come. Structures made from Accoya have a guaranteed long lifespan of up to 50 years, and can then be sustainably recycled after that.”

“We recently went to see one of our older projects that still has an exceptional finish even though we built it over 20 years ago! At that point, we were not even using Accoya, so the fact that it has lasted for so long is a credit to the structure’s design. We hand-finish everything, and we invest in extensive research and machine technology  to ensure that every aspect of our garden rooms is of the highest quality – from the specialist glue that we use to stop any joints from moving, to the last lick of paint.”

  • Image of a Westbury Garden Room orangery at dusk

Speaking of paint…

“Even the paint we choose makes a difference to our carbon footprint. We use Teknos, which is the best paint system available on the market as far as we are concerned, and when applied correctly, a garden room is guaranteed for up to 12  years before it needs repainting. By applying a water-based microporous paint, our timber extensions have an extremely durable and highly protective barrier against weather conditions, moisture ingress, and exposure to high levels of UV and bacteria.”

“This substantial protection ensures an immaculate finish that will give the structure longevity and durability. What’s more, the paints are environmentally friendly with VOC levels significantly below current and proposed legislative levels, and are free of all heavy metal additives. They are exceptionally ‘clean’ so there is no need to use harsh white spirit to wash the brushes after a repaint job.

  • Image of a Westbury Garden Room open plan kitchen and dining area in Norwich

Being green at every stage of the process…

“Innovative thinking and a carefully planned approach have been essential when it comes to successfully streamlining our construction processes in an environmentally friendly way.”

“Without compromising on quality, we are constantly developing and improving our techniques to ensure our workshop’s low-carbon footprint. We think ahead and order materials in bulk to avoid frequent numbers of smaller deliveries, for example. We looked at the number of deliveries we make, and invested in larger vans so we can make fewer journeys and transport more products at once.”

“Within the factory itself, we use high tech machines that cut pieces from timber with accurate precision, so we produce minimal waste and anything left over is burnt in a biomass boiler to heat the workshops during the winter.”

Ultimately, low-carbon footprint extensions are a result of dedicated companies like Westbury that put longevity and durability at the forefront of their designs. Using the most sustainable materials available and streamlining their production processes at every level.

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