Winner — Adnams brewery

As one of Britain’s oldest brewers you would expect Suffolk-based Adnams to have a fairly keen appreciation of the land and of nature’s bounty. And you would be right. So much so that in October the company opened the doors of the £6m distribution centre that it claims is Britain’s greenest warehouse. It doesn’t quite grow its hops and barley on the roof, but not far off it with a host of fleshy plants making up its carbon-eating sedum roof. Not to forget the recycled rainwater for cleaning the lorries and walls made from hemp blocks. We’ll drink to that.

Runners up

Scottish Natural Heritage

When Scottish Natural Heritage moved from Edinburgh to Inverness it ensured its headquarters would set a standard for others to follow by insisting that all materials be A-rated from the BRE’s “green guide to specification”. It didn’t make life easy for its architects, but in reusing the masonry from the original building, SNH ensured its home was green enough to be added to its own list of natural attractions.

British Land

With a budget of £873m to build 3.5 million ft² of office and retail space by 2009 this is the client of the construction industry’s dreams. But British Land believes that that kind of spend buys great responsibility. So it has laid out a sustainability brief that every contractor has to sign up to, it has trained its staff to be BREEAM and EcoHomes assessors, and has been ranked among the leading financial firms by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index since 2002.

English Partnerships

It may have seen its investment soar by nearly three-quarters to £836m and have attracted a third more private sector funding in the past year, but EP is not content to rest on its laurels. All its homes must meet the EcoHomes’ “very good” rating and meet the Code for Sustainable Homes; it has also extended its £60,000 house programme to include six carbon-neutral sites.


This company really should be going “ho, ho, ho” every time it finishes a project as every single one it does is yet another green giant. Since launching its Eco-Template concept for warehouse design, Gazeley has urged its clients to use solar power, wind turbines or simply to build with environment-friendly materials. Next stop is “the shed as power plant”.

Defence Estates

The Ministry of Defence’s Defence Estates has a portfolio worth £15.3bn and in the past 12 months has reached financial close with its contractors on the £12bn, 35-year PFI project to modernise its barracks at Allenby and Connaught. So it’s a good thing that it is to become an “exemplar of best practice” for how sustainability can tackle the causes of climate change.