Eco-efficiency begins at home for this year¹s winner ­ although its projects for other clients are pretty impressive too

Winner: Max Fordham

Sustainability is already at the core of all Max Fordham’s operations and the firm is working hard to become even greener. For example, it is retrofitting its grade II-listed office in London in a bid to make it zero carbon and a working group is pursuing ISO14001 accreditation. It is also pushing hard on internal training in order to boost sustainability knowledge among its staff, with seminars, presentations and an online discussion forum covering energy-efficient design and regulatory changes. Impressive projects under its belt include the RSPB Centre in Rainham, Essex, and the Heelis National Trust HQ in Swindon, which notched up a string of awards between them for their contribution to conservation and regeneration. The firm runs a rigorous recycling policy across its offices and also promotes sustainability abroad with its Developing Countries Group.

Runners up


Arup has spent the last 18 months working hard to spread the sustainability message through its enormous ranks. It has produced a global sustainability plan plus specific strategies for its European and building design businesses. Work has included the Barratt Green House at the BRE’s innovation park – its second project to reach level six of the Code for Sustainable Homes – and advising the government on zero-carbon colleges and sustainable construction. The firm monitors its carbon footprint closely and has boosted recycling rates through green volunteer group OvaGreen

Building Design Partnershi

pOne of BDP’s sustainability triumphs this year was the Leigh Academy in Dartford, Kent, which uses features such as passive cooling and ventilation and earth tubes to achieve an impressively low carbon footprint – a reduction of 30% against Part L. The firm has also hosted group workshops for five schools looking to improve their eco performance in separate projects. Internally, it runs a system of “sustainability champions” to monitor performance in each office and has set a target to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2011.

Faber Maunsell

This firm has achieved a position of influence over the sustainability agenda at both national and local level. This year it has advised the government on the Code for Sustainable Homes, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Building Regulations Part F and L, to name just three projects. Notable construction schemes include City Campus East for the University of Northumbria and the Morrisons supermarket in Kidderminster, which both achieved a BREEAM “excellent” rating. Sustainability training is taken seriously, with eco inductions for all staff and support courses, plus educational materials and a discussion forum on the intranet.

Ramboll Whitbybird

Ramboll Whitbybird treats its offices as laboratories for sustainable techniques – emissions in its BREEAM “excellent”-rated London office are 34% down from last year and 55% below an average office. The company uses 100% renewable energy, saves toilet water with “hippo” bags and carefully monitors staff transport use. A recent questionnaire showed 82% of workers have a low-carbon commute and an office bike mechanic has even been employed to encourage cycling. This dedication to sustainability is equally visible out in the field. Currently on site is a pro-bono library project in Sierra Leone, which is using local architects and contractors to create a valuable community resource.