WWF UK opens new Sustainable HQ and Visitor Centre

Nov 8th 2013 -- Annette McGill

The World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF) has achieved exceptionally high environmental ratings for its new £20m HQ building.  WWF's "Living Planet Centre" in Woking was opened by Sir David Attenborough this week.

The building features open plan work place for 300 WWF staff. It also has a 150 seat conference venue, education facilities and exhibit space.

A key aim of the project was to deliver a building constructed to extremely high environmental standards.  The Centre was built on a brownfield site, and the materials for construction were sourced responsibly.

The most eye-catching feature of the site is an arched timber roof.  The roof has photovoltaic panels for solar energy and extensive glass to maximise natural light. Four recycled aluminium wind cowls will provide natural ventilation.

The water management system includes rainwater harvesting and recycling. Recycled materials were used throughout and all the wood was sourced from managed forests.

Sir David said: "It’s a fantastic eco-building that shows not only how it’s possible to use our planet’s resources wisely, but also helps us all connect with the natural world and brings WWF’s vital work around the globe to life for us, right here and now."

The building has achieved a sustainability rating of 90.5% under the BREEAM environmental assessment method. BREEAM ratings use performance measures to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use.  The system measures include energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.

Key features which contributed to the Living Planet Centre's high BREEAM rating include: 

  • 80% recycled aggregates by volume used throughout the construction
  • 98.9% of building elements classed as responsibly sourced by BRE
  • BREEAM Outstanding at design stage, with a final target BREEAM rating of 90.5%
  • 99% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • 42% reduction in embodied carbon in materials through design and procurement choices.