Engineers win top environment award

Ekspan employees on the site of the  Snowdonia pipeline project that has secured the Sheffield engineering an international green award.
Ekspan employees on the site of the Snowdonia pipeline project that has secured the Sheffield engineering an international green award.
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Structural engineers from Sheffield have fought off major competition to win a top award for environmental practice.

Brightside Lane-based Ekspan beat 500 other nominees from around the world to secure a Green Apple Environmental Best Practice Award for its work on a pipeline that crosses a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Snowdonia National Park.

The award was given in recognition of Ekspan’s outstanding contribution to sustainable development, protection of the natural environment and innovation in environmental best practice.

Ekspan spent seven years working on the project to repair almost 230 pipe supports which carry a pipeline that supplies water from a reservoir across an area of outstanding natural beauty to a hydroelectric plant five kilometres away.

The environmental challenges were huge as the pipeline runs down a remote mountain-side site, crossing steep, uneven terrain and peat bogs that are 1.5 metres deep and is subject to extreme, rapidly changing weather conditions which meant work could only take place between March and September.

Ekspan’s green achievements on the project included avoiding any interruption to the water supply to the power plant, which generates power for local communities – eliminating the need to rely on fossil fuel and the associated 258,000 tones of CO2 emissions a year.

The Sheffield firm reduced the use of raw materials, avoiding the need to construct access roadways that would have required up to eight tonnes of aggregate for every metre of their length.

It also generated minimum amounts of waste material, noise and dust and recorded no instances of pollution during the project.

Ekspan chief executive Matthew Dronfield said: “Problem solving is part of the day-to-day business of a structural engineering company but the Dolgarrog pipeline project presented us with a new set of challenges.

“We were very conscious that the job we completed had to fulfil its practical ambitions and delighted that NPower was able to continue their production of green energy.”