Ben Ainslie

Sailing towards sustainability

Land Rover BAR’s HQ will qualify for BREEAM status. Photo credit: Shaun Roster. 
By Anders Lorenzen

Britain is basking in Rio Olympic glory, picking up medal after medal , and only being beaten in the medal table by the US. Meanwhile, the British sailing team, Land Rover Ben Ainslie Sailing (Land Rover BAR)  which is captained by the former British Olympic gold winner, Sir Ben Ainslie, has announced they have received the top sustainable building certification, that is Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) status.
You may be thinking what does sailing have to do with sustainable building?

But the BREEAM status has to do with the team’s UK Headquarters building. Land Rover BAR has the ambition to be the UK’s most sustainable sports team, and it sees this latest development as an important step towards that goal.

The British sailing team would be the first professional British sports team to qualify for BREEAM status.

Several new investments and initiatives have contributed to the fact that they will now be able to operate under the top sustainability certification.  

Solar panels at Land Rover BAR’s HQ. Photo credit: BAR.

One of them is the installation of 432 Solar panels covering 100% of the available roof space on the team’s HQ building, which generates 130 MWh/yr and represents 20% of the energy used by the team. The remaining electricity is also supplied by renewable sources.

One of the other sustainable elements of the building is what is described as The Atrium. Architect, Vivienne Conway, from HGP Architects, explains it: “One of our favourite parts of the building is the Atrium which allows a direct source of daylight to filter through from the top floor down through all levels to the heart of the workshop.  It is also used to draw air up through the building, releasing it through glazed louvres to help regulate internal temperatures; while at the same time, providing visual interest and physical connection between the various functions and teams within the building.”

And Ecologist,Tony Blunden, from Aluco Ecology Ltd explains the building`s ecology: “The team has made a particular effort with this site to provide ecological enhancements that are suitable to the habitat and the marine environment in which the site is situated. This  demonstrates a long-term commitment to establishing a locally relevant enhancement of the species diversity of the site, using best practice and marine ecosystem conservation management.”

Environmental consultant, Phil Ward, who worked on the buildings wrap element, comments: “A gigantic fabric wrap has been applied to much of the building`s façade, its translucency will still admit natural light to the interior while reducing solar glare. It provides a layer of insulation, protecting the building fabric and retaining heat in winter like a coat.”

Simon Guy from BREEAM was full of praise for the team’s achievement, stating: “Congratulations to Land Rover BAR achieving a first in the sailing world with the BREEAM Excellent rating for the Camber Quay HQ. BREEAM is an international standard that rewards exceptional sustainable design and construction – a real recognition of a strong vision and team effort from all concerned.”

According to the Land Rover BAR team, they take their responsibility in the fight against climate change seriously, and it is the core fact behind their sustainability commitments.

And according to Jeremy Pochman, President of 11th Hour Racing, the team`s sustainability partner, he believes the BREEAM status confirms their commitment to sustainability and innovation:  “We are proud of Land Rover BAR’s achievements and progress across the board of their sustainability strategy, which is highlighted in the team’s headquarters. The team’s base is a true testament to innovation, technology, long-term vision and sustainability”.

“By investing in such a progressive structure, Land Rover BAR have demonstrated how smart sustainable design and construction can lead to enormous gains in terms of efficiency – not only as far as energy, but also at a competitive and sporting level”.  

Perhaps the organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympics, who have been criticised for failing to meet several of their sustainability pledges, could take a leaf out of Land Rover BAR’s book.

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