A long-established leader in sustainability has strengthened its credentials even further with carbon-busting projects in the US and at home

Winner: Hopkins Architects

Hopkins established itself as a sustainability pioneer in the nineties when it created the BREEAM “excellent”-rated Inland Revenue Centre in Nottingham. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and is demonstrating green design across the globe. In February, the US Green Building Council gave a Platinum certificate to a project at Arizona University and a building at Yale University, now on site, is aiming to be carbon neutral. Closer to home, the 7000m2 Luton Innovation Centre, also rated BREEAM ‘excellent’, uses 100% natural ventilation, solar hot water and automatic vents for night-time cooling. Hopkins’ policies towards its staff and communities are also imbued with a commitment to sustainability. For instance, it uses local services, materials and workers wherever possible to help stimulate economic growth and encourages contractors to run training programmes for local people.

Highly commended: PRP

This practice is well-known for its green credentials, and for good reason. It is helping to push the sustainability boundaries with projects such as Sainbury’s Coulsdon, which is aiming to get 10 per cent of its energy from onsite renewables. And its BRE Stable in Watford – an exemplar refurbishment project that will see a Victorian block turned into an education facility – comes as the industry and government is looking for ways to tackle emissions from existing stock. It is also contributing research to the sustainability debate, such as a recent report into international lessons for eco-towns, and has secured ISO14001 certification. Staff are encouraged to help boost the firm’s green image, with an annual competition for innovative waste-cutting ideas.

Runners up

Foster + Partners

Foster’s portfolio demonstrates the breadth of its sustainability skills. From plans for a carbon-neutral, zero-waste community at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, to parametric shading design for the City of Justice in Madrid, its projects are helping to set new industry standards. The practice is trying to include sustainable design at every level – at the Langley Academy in Slough for instance, ducts and pipes are exposed in the plant room so that students can “see” how energy is used. Its office uses 100% renewable energy, recycles 70% of waste and publicly shames staff who fail to turn their computer monitors off at night.

HLM Architects

This practice has been working hard to cut its own carbon footprint. Last year it reduced CO2 emissions by 18.2% across its five offices, boosted use of recycled paper from 40 per cent to 80% and set up video conferencing facilities in all regions – saving 38 tonnes of carbon in the first year alone. It has also produced a report assessing its own sustainability credentials and is an enthusiastic participant in CIBSE’s 100 Days Carbon Clean-up Campaign – coming runner-up in the Best Carbon Saving Campaign category for the last two years.

Sponsored by Arup

Arup is a global firm of designers, engineers and business consultants, providing a diverse range of professional services to our clients around the world. We offer outstanding solutions, innovation and value to our clients by drawing from our vast global experience and delivering this at a local level. Sustainability has long featured in Arup’s philosophy and continues to underpin our work.

We take our role as trusted advisors to the built environment seriously, and extend our knowledge of sustainable practice to our clients and those we work with throughout a project. We are supporting the Sustainable Architect of the Year award at the Sustainability Awards 08 as part of our commitment to encourage sustainability throughout the industry.