The Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture’s (DEFA) headquarters in St John’s has won the top prize at one of Europe’s most prestigious environmental awards.
The 2012 Green Apple Built Environment and Architectural Heritage Awards are the leading international awards honouring excellence in sustainable construction, design and innovation of products and architectural preservation.
The DEFA HQ was awarded the Gold Award under the Local Authority Section and then went onto win the Overall Winner Award.
These awards are run under the auspices of the Green Organisation, a not for profit environmental group that is now in its 16th year. The Awards recognise and reward best practice in both the private and public sectors.
Minister for the Environment, Food and Agriculture Phil Gawne MHK said: “I am delighted that the DEFA HQ has been recognised in this way. The building uses substantially less energy than a conventional building and this is due partly to an early decision by the Department and the design team to produce an environmentally sensitive, low impact building. For example, the use of natural ventilation and daylight are maximised which also make it a very attractive and productive environment for the Department’s staff to work in.”
Ashley Pettit, Principal of APA Architects, the architect firm which led the project said: “This award demonstrates what the Island can do. The managers at DEFA encouraged us to put together a good design team and meet the challenges that will face us in the future. The Island is a great place to live and this building is a great place to work. We should continue to strive for this return from every pound we spend and expect to win such awards.”
Project Architect, Karen Horncastle, now of Horncastle Thomas said: “I am delighted that ‘Thie Slieau Whallian’ has received recognition with these two awards from The Green Organisation. The success of the project is a testament to the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of the DEFA, the whole Project Team and everybody else involved (too numerous to mention!) of which I am proud to have been a part of. The building is the first of its size and type on the Island and I hope that some of the environmental features it incorporates will act as a catalyst for similar projects."
Department of Economic Development political member for Clean Tech and Energy, Laurence Skelly MHK said: “This is a significant achievement and I congratulate all those who were involved in delivering this project for DEFA. It also represents another significant step in helping promote the Isle of Man as a centre of excellence in the development of Clean Tech and an energy efficient future. Greater than 30% of energy consumed in the Isle of Man is used to heat buildings. It is essential that we build properties to a high energy efficiency standard to reduce future energy bills for businesses and homes throughout the Island.”
Dr Ken Milne, Senior Manager for Energy Policy in the Department of Economic Development, accompanied the winning architects to the awards ceremony in London to promote the many benefits of the Isle of Man for businesses in the clean tech sector.
Image Caption: (l) to (r): Ashley Pettit, APA Architects; Trevor Baylis, Inventor & presenter of the award; Karen Horncastle, Horncastle Thomas; and Dr Ken Milne, Senior Manager for Energy Policy, Department of Economic Development.