I was impressed with the extensive consultation that has taken place with the local communities and the future occupiers. This has been one of my favorite projects to work on
Emmanuel Thomas l Friday, September 08, 2017
ESSEX, London – For the second time in one year, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been decorated with the highest rating for sustainable building design in the world.
The first was received far away in the United States for the grand and unprallel design of its headquarters in New York, where they were honoured with Four Green Globes rating, the highest by Green Building Initiative, GBI for environmentally friendly design.
This time, they have been certified Outstanding the highest rating available according to Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method(BREEAM) the world’s leading sustainability assessment standard.
They got the award for the design and construction methods deployed in construction of the new administrative facility in Britain.
The facility is located about 70 kilometers (43 mi) east of London, in Chelmsford, Essex, and is only the second BREEAM Communities scheme to have received the top rating in Britain.
BREEAM measures the sustainability of construction projects, infrastructure, and buildings in a variety of key categories: energy, health and well-being, innovation, land use, materials, management, pollution, transport, waste, and water.
“Projects then receive ratings of either Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, or Outstanding. In order to approve the Witnesses’ plan for a new facility, the Chelmsford City Council required the project to meet sustainable design targets, one of which was a minimum BREEAM rating of Very Good”, the JWs said in a statement.
Chelmsford City Council senior planning officer of the directorate for sustainable communities, Mr. Neil Jordan said the council is pleased that Jehovah’s Witnesses have not only fully embraced such requirements for this development, but even exceeded the standards expected by the city council.
“The project can now rightly be noted as a source of pride within our city, acting as a beacon for achieving the highest environmental standards,” he said.Besides, the project was also recognized for innovation in green design.
The Witnesses were able to reduce their carbon emissions by 2,250 metric tons (2,480 tons) by housing workers on-site and transporting them using minibuses and other sustainable methods of transport. This garnered the Witnesses a BREEAM Communities “innovation credit,” the first of its kind.
In the words of Mr. Jordan, the project was “instrumental in finding new ways to reduce a carbon footprint, succeeding in gaining accreditation along the way in specific areas never before achieved within the BREEAM Communities environmental scheme.”
Commenting on the project, BREEAM assessor Mr. Pallab Chatterjee said he liked the positive and friendly attitude on the construction site, which he said is very rare.
“The Witnesses sought to include as many of the BREEAM sustainability items into the design as possible. Their focus was to introduce a sustainable design that would bring value to the scheme instead of [simply] achieving BREEAM credits. I was impressed with the extensive consultation that has taken place with the local communities and the future occupiers. This has been one of my favorite projects to work on.”
Andrew Schofield, a spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Britain, states: “For almost 60 years, our administrative operations for Britain have been located in London. However, larger facilities became necessary due to the increased demand for Bible-related literature and materials. We began site preparation on the 34-hectare (approx. 85 a.) property in April 2015 and expect to complete construction by the end of 2019.”