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Blocks in yard Sustainability: Thermal Mass

There is now an urgency to design and build structures that can cope with predictions for future climate change. It is therefore entirely appropriate to consider passive technologies that can be used instead of energy intensive air conditioning. Increasingly, design teams are incorporating the use of thermal mass into their structures. All of Lignacite's products have the potential to contribute to a design solution that can prevent overheating and provide a more comfortable internal environment. However, the benefit of thermal mass can be maximised by using fairfaced products, such as Lignacite's AFM masonry. Products in this range offer an unrivalled choice of colour and texture. Because they are intended to be left fair and provide a high level of mass, they are better able to thermally interact with the occupied.

Basic Operating Principle

For many building types including commercial buildings and dwellings, a more sustainable solution to combat the risk of overheating is to utilise high thermal mass elements together with night cooling. This approach, also known as fabric energy storage (FES), typically focuses on the building’s thermal mass optimised by using fair faced blockwork as well as exposed concrete floor slabs. The walls and floors absorb heat, helping to reduce overheating and ensuring a more stable internal temperature. Night time cooling purges the stored heat from the walls and the slabs, preparing it for the next cycle.

Further information

A number of publications are recommended which provide authoritative information on the benefits of incorporating thermal mass into a structure:

  • Thermal Mass – A Concrete Solution for the Changing Climate. Reference TCC / 0505.
  • Thermal Mass for Housing – Concrete Solutions for the Changing Climate. Reference TCC / 0405.
  • Climate Change and the Indoor Environment: impacts and adaptation. Reference TM36, CIBSE, 2005.
recycled wood

Sustainability: Recycled Raw Materials

Lignacite Ltd has a long history to support its commitment to the use of recycled and secondary aggregates in the production of its range of masonry products.

The original Lignacite block, first produced in 1947, used a proportion of graded wood particles as part of its constituents. This is still the case today.

There are social, economic and environmental benefits that can be attributed to the use of recycled and secondary aggregates (RSA), providing of course that the quality of the recycled and secondary aggregates is fit for purpose and meets the published specifications. These benefits are not only conferred on the manufacturer but also society at large.

Examples of the use of RSA’s by Lignacite include furnace bottom ash, crushed glass and graded wood particles. We are continually investing in new technology to allow more use of RSAs in our production.

Sustainability: Environmental Impact of Materials

The production, use and disposal of building materials can account for significant amounts of energy and resources, both within the UK and internationally. One way of assessing the impacts is to consider life cycle analysis (LCA) , an approach that considers the performance of materials and construction elements based on a range of environment impacts from '' cradle to grave''. The most widely used methodology is that developed by BRE in consultation with industry, and used in the Green Guide to Specification.

Green Guide to Specification

The Green Guide to Specification provides over 1200 specifications, including many that apply to Lignacite masonry construction, for use in various building types.

A rating system has been derived that presents extensive quantitative data for materials in a relatively straightforward way. This is based on a rating system of A+ to E, with A rated constructions having the least overall environmental impact.

How the Green Guide ratings are used

When buildings are subject to a BREEAM or a Code for Sustainable Homes assessment, the materials design category considers the environmental impact of materials. Credits are awarded according to the Green Guide rating as follows:

Green Guide RatingCredits
A+ Rating 3
A Rating 2
B Rating 1
C Rating 0.5
D Rating 0.25
E Rating 0

There is a mandatory requirement in the Code for Sustainable Homes that at least three of the five elements (Roof, External walls, Windows etc) achieve a relevant Green Guide rating from The Green Guide of A+ to D.

Some care and judgement is required when selecting a suitable rating to ensure that other design requirements can be met or are not compromised. To place the ratings in some context, the operational impacts of buildings far outweigh the embodied impacts due to materials production and construction by a factor of about 9:1. Other important design aspects consider may include:

  • Appearance
  • Cost
  • Durability including service life
  • Technical performance (acoustics, fire, structural and thermal requirements)
  • Buildability
  • Operational issues (including the benefits of using high mass materials)
  • Maintenance

Green Guide ratings for Lignacite's products

Ratings that can be used to assess constructions using Lignacite's products can be found in the Green Guide to Specification These provide a number of blockwork specifications for various building types, based on generic descriptions of blocks. These include ratings for external, internal and separating walls and for beam and block flooring. The following table links the product brands of Lignacite Ltd to these general descriptions.

Lignacite Ltd brand productsEquivalent description in the Green Guide to Specification
Ashlite, Lignacite solid blocks including GP and SP variations Medium dense solid blockwork
Lignacite Fibo Superlightweight blockwork
Lignacrete solid blocks Dense solid blockwork
Lignacrete cellular blocks Cellular dense blockwork
Architectural Masonry Products, Lignacite Fair Face, Lignacrete Fair Face Fair Face Blockwork


Sustainability: Responsible Sourcingenviro-sourcing-1

Lignacite Ltd has been certified to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products – BES 6001.

This certification means that concrete masonry products supplied by Lignacite Ltd are responsibly sourced, to an independently verified standard that addresses the social, economic and environmental impacts across the entire supply chain.

Under the BES 6001 Framework Standard, Lignacite's products were assessed by looking at existing quality, environmental, health and safety management systems together with other important criteria including:

• Greenhouse gas emissions

• Resource use

• Waste, water and life cycle assessment

• Local communities

• Employment and skills.

The certification also allows for traceability of the product to ensure all areas within the supply chain are operating to high standards.

Not only should this give provide our customers with confidence that our production and supply chains are operating ethically and responsibly, it also allows them to score more credits under the materials section of the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM, which is the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. The universal rating system of BES 6001 enables architects, specifiers and construction professionals to meet sustainability targets more easily.

BRE, which provides research and testing services for all aspects of the built environment, launched the BES 6001 standard in 2008, to provide a level playing field for the sustainability of construction products and provide recognition for suppliers embracing genuine sustainability.

The BES 6001 certification is part of Lignacite's commitment to sustainable development, and complements a range of other ongoing initiatives to reduce waste, water, energy use and CO2 emissions.


Environmental Policy of Lignacite Ltd

Lignacite Limited offers a full range of manufactured concrete blocks for industrial and commercial customers throughout the British Isles. There are two manufacturing sites based at Brandon Suffolk and Nazeing in Essex.  

The organisation ensures that manufacturing potential is maximised through the reuse of otherwise waste materials thus reducing the overall impact on landfill and subsequently minimising the impact upon the environment.

Working in conjunction with our suppliers and customers, we are committed to continually improving our environmental performance by controlling and managing our operational activities and products ensuring that risks to employees, the general public and the environment as a whole are identified and actions taken to minimise or eliminate their effects.

The objectives of our policy are:
  • To comply with legal obligations and relevant other requirements pertaining to the business.
  • To promote environmental awareness throughout the organisation.
  • To maintain a safe and healthy working environment for employees with adequate facilities appropriate to the business activities of the Company.
  • Through the setting and completion of environmental targets and objectives Lignacite Limited will maintain certification to ISO.14001:2004.
  • Protect the Environment & Prevent Pollution
  • Increase Raw Materials use from Sustainable Sources
  • Responsible sourcing of materials though the principals of BES6001
  • Reduce Energy Use and to use low carbon aggregates to enable reductions of greenhouse gases.
  • Reduce Waste
  • Reduce water consumption wherever possible
  • Control and Reduce Air Emissions
  • Recover, Recycle and Re-use waste materials wherever practicable

A. Eastwood

Sept 2016

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Lignacite Ltd
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Suffolk IP27 0AX

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