Located in Wallingford, Red Kite House is an Environment Agency office, owned by HR Wallingford Ltd. The development was favoured by the Environment Agency as its new office and so it was able to influence its design. The venture aimed to produce a building that serves as an example of ‘best practice in sustainable office development’. It provides 30,000 sq ft of office space.
Natural Cooling and Ventilation: to maintain a suitable inside temperature, the building is designed to capture the wind and use natural airflow. It achieves this through its curved shape, orientation and roof-mounted turbines.
Rainwater Harvesting System: rainwater is collected and stored below the ground, and is used to flush toilets. Up to 8,000 litres can be stored; any more than this is directed to a nearby reed bed.
Sustainable Drainage System: whilst the ground needs drainage to prevent flooding, it is also important to consider that rainwater entering the ground can take contaminants, such as oils, with it. To address this, pervious blocks were used in the car park to allow rainwater in, and in addition a geotextile membrane to trap any pollutants as mentioned.
Solar thermal panels were installed on the roof of the building, these panels provide about 40% of the hot water demand. Photovoltaic cells are installed on the south-facing canopy of the building and save about 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Awards and Achievements
Red Kite House has been granted a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ and was awarded the ‘Best bespoke office development outside central London’ in 2005.
With this project, the architects, designers and engineers from HR Wallingford Ltd, along with the Environment Agency, have demonstrated that a small increase in building costs can result in much reduced carbon emissions and greater resource efficiency. It could be seen as a model of best practice in achieving a sustainable building.
Page last updated: 20 August 2010