Environmental Award Boost for CPW

Environmental building consultancy Couch Perry & Wilkes is celebrating after winning an international ecological award for its work on the British Horse Society’s stunning new Warwickshire headquarters.

CPW, which is one of the largest dedicated environmental building services consultancies in the UK, has been acknowledged at the prestigious International Green Apple Awards for the Built Environment.

The prize, which grew out of the organisation’s Environmental Best Practice awards that were launched in 1994, recognises companies whose work has sustainability at the core of its ethos. Winners have included Jaguar, Coca Cola, BP and Carlsberg.

CPW advised the BHS on sustainability alternatives at the British Horse Society’s new HQ, which was opened by HRH the Princess Royal in March 2011. Among key considerations to the £3.2 million project was its low energy strategy.

Simon Seaton-Smith, CPW’s Director, who worked alongside Archial Group, one of the UK’s largest architects, to create the landmark building, said he was pleased that CPW’s work had been recognised by the world’s longest-running environmental award, which is run by The Green Organisation.

“We are delighted that our work at the British Horse Society’s new headquarters has received such a ringing endorsement from this esteemed organisation,” he says.

“This was a particularly interesting project for us as there were a number of considerations and challenges.

“Not only was there limited space and close proximity to mature trees, there were also challenges associated with the lighting and power distribution in a ‘doughnut-shaped building’.”

The building, which is located in a Grade II listed deer park at Stareton, Warwickshire, is circular in shape because it was designed to fit around a 200-year-old oak tree, which stands as its unique centrepiece.

The façade is constructed from natural stone, while European oak cladding and sedum were used on the roof. Sedum was used to create an eco-system around the oak tree.

Great care was taken during construction to protect the trees on the site, Simon says. This was achieved not just by fencing off individual trees to prevent workers and machinery from getting too close, but also by hand-digging the foundations where necessary to avoid damaging root systems.

The oak-clad building achieved a BREEAM “very good” rating and exceeded the mandatory air leakage test, an improvement of 82% beyond existing building regulations.

The HQ has also been nominated for a British Council for Offices award, which recognises excellence and innovation in office design. Winners will be announced later this month (May 2011).