Nobel House

Nobel House is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)'s flagship office and its primary interface with the public. The nine storey building has Grade II heritage listings covering parts of the building. The brief was to embrace best practice project implementation, safety, design, sustainability, energy efficiency, and customer care. Atkins and Faithful+Gould provided a multi-disciplined integrated service.

To achieve an ‘exemplar’ from this refurbishment project. The aim was to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating including high levels of recycling and waste diversion from landfill and carbon emissions 40% better than ‘typical’ benchmarks.

The building achieved the then highest ever BREEAM rating for a project of its type. It was also named Sustainable Building of the Year in 2006 by the RICS. Carbon: Energy performance is 40% better than ‘typical’ (based on Econ 19). CHP: A gas-fired combined heat and power plant provides 25% of the required electrical load, plus hot water and additional cooling through ammonia chillers. Light sensitive automatic controls govern an intelligent electrical lighting system, minimising demand for excess interior lighting. All timber used was FSC certified as sustainably sourced. Paints and finishes with low volatile organic compound ratings were specified to minimise harm to human health. Natural ventilation: The building is naturally ventilated and cooled using a passive stack effect. Materials: A or B ratings in the Green Guide were specified. Recycled content comprised 18% (by value). Natural sheep wool was used as cavity wall insulation. Waste: 70% of all construction waste was reused or recycled. This included 230t of timber, 215t of metals, 180t of hardcore, 18t of cardboard and 12t of plastic. These measures saved approximately 3000m³ of landfill. Water: water efficiency is 40% better than typical. Biodiversity is enhanced through a roof garden.

We have been involved in BREEAM since 1998, and have conducted more than 200 BREEAM assessments.

Related expert