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rivergreen centre aykley heads, durham

The Rivergreen Centre has been designed as a low impact building. At every stage, from the orientation to the choice of materials, the aim has been to minimise the effect on the environment. Equally important was the desire to create a visually striking building and a healthy place in which to work.

Minimising water and waste, reducing energy and carbon emissions, using natural or sustainable sources - as well as maximising thermal performance and the site’s biodiversity - have been key to the design process.

At the same time, conventional office requirements have been questioned. There is no air conditioning in the offices, for example; fresh air is provided by passive ventilation systems. Domestic hot water is heated by solar roof panels. A rammed earth wall runs the length of the building, helping to control temperature and humidity. The roof is covered with tiny, colourful plants, and the car park is screened with fruit trees and rose bushes.

The Rivergreen Centre was awarded an Excellent rating under the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) for offices.