Building type Civic
Building age Pre 1800
Location Sproughton
Cost of work £ 141,000
District Babergh
Features Natural Materials,Insulation and Glazing

The Barn is located in the medieval heart of Sproughton Village, close the crossing of the River Gipping. ( see attached map)  It is on a busy thoroughfare taking 6,000 vehicle movements a day. The Barn is an eight bay timber framed construction, the South side of which still has its carpenters’ marks and probably dates from the 17th Century. It consists of one major space 7m x 30 m, and a wing at either end. One wing has a kitchen and small meeting room/ IT suite; the other provides storage, and will house the Community shop from March 2010.   It is used as a community hall for village functions, IT courses, Community lunches, club use, and private hire.

Download the Energy Saving Trust’s case study.

Sustainability Features


In 2009 we removed the weatherboarding, and replaced the plywood lining with a heavier gauge. We then added a layer of Pavatherm insulation. The weatherboarding was then replaced with a small air layer between it and the pavatherm.  The midstrey doors were renewed and fitted into proper frames. Double glazed doors were fitted behind the midstrey doors.

 The insulation we used was Pavatherm, rated as ‘BREEAM A’.  It is made from reconstituted saw mill waste. Refurbishment of the West store has now been completed.

It provides acoustic and thermal insulation. We have decided not to improve the heating in the Barn as a consequence.  The glazing admits natural light. The Barn has no other windows. The refurbishment of the store will house the Community Shop.

Our heat savings per person are about 39%, because we have had more bodies using the Barn each booking, although electricity consumption has risen in line with the number of bookings.  So very small cost savings, but a great increase in income.

The new shop, opening on 25/03/10, is predicted to save 8 tonnes of private car emissions, and the insulation has only saved about half a tonne.


Design Process

We were trying to make the Barn useable all the year round. Since it is a carbon neutral construction, we were interested in developing the Barn in a carbon neutral way. We had to apply for planning permission for every aspect of this work because of the fact that the building is listed. We employed architects from day one.



We got grants from Cut Your Carbon, (£ £83,000) and this was matched with £39,000 from the Suffolk, Creating the Greenest County Fund.  Further to this we have received another £18,000 from Suffolk County Council Enterprising Communities fund, private donations, and various Charitable Trusts.


Green Lifestyle

We had been intending to improve the heating system in the Barn, but now that it’s been insulated, we have decided that we can manage without increasing the heat load. The insulation of the Barn was part of an attempt to fulfil the commitments of Green Sproughton to reduce carbon emissions in Sproughton.

We have carried out two Carbon Footprint surveys and found that the savings across the community have been about 138 tonnes per annum.  We are working up to our third carbon footprint survey.



The building is magnificent and the work has made it more accessible both from a visual and a comfort point of view. If we had lots more money we would insulate the concrete floor!


Suppliers and Professional Services Used

We used the WCP Co Partnership Bury St Edmunds as architects and Stuart Whinney Construction to implement the project.



We have entered the Suffolk Creating the Greenest County Awards.

It often receives media attention from BBC radio Suffolk, and a couple of times from Look East, as well as in the environment pages of the EADT.