At the Global Good Awards, selecting a venue is about more than just decor and location. It’s important that the venue and its management reflects the ethos of GGA – focussing on social and environmental impact. It’s why we chose BMA House for both our 2018 and 2019 awards. However, there are a number of amazing venues across the UK which have gone above and beyond to ensure the development and management of the location has sustainability at its core.
Using parameters such as the building’s prioritisation and management of waste, water and carbon emissions, as well as its social impact on the local region, we have compiled a list of venues that we’d recommend. Here is our list of seven great green venues around the UK.
BMA House, London
BMA House has been the home of the British Medical Association since 1925 and was the winner of the Greenest Venue at the Hirespace Awards in 2018 thanks to its innovations in social and environmental impact. Through their ‘corporate sustainability and health group’ and ‘take the stairs campaign’ designed for the 500+ staff members, they have strived to improve staff wellbeing and make choices that reduce each individual’s carbon footprint. The BMA House’s efforts go beyond just staff, encouraging paperless and video conferencing and recommending only sustainable suppliers to those hiring the space.
The Grade II listed building is one of only five venues to be given Gold accreditation in Green Tourism in 2017. On top of these accolades, the venue has made considerable efforts to conserve water and energy waste and has on-site caters with menus that use only local ingredients, and work with RSPCA freedom food accredited suppliers and fair trade growers for tea and coffee.
EarthSpirit Centre, Somerset
Located close to Glastonbury, nestled between two nature reserves, the EarthSpirit Centre embodies mindful social and environmental impact through its operations and activities. In addition to the 7 acres of protected land, the various buildings offer spaces for conferences and classes, as well as a workshop, spa, glamping facilities and a B&B. If not grown on site the food is locally sourced and organic where possible.
The buildings of the EarthSpirit Centre are covered with solar panels, and heated by a number of hot water and biomass boilers. In fact, they use the UK’s only Austrian made Hargassner biomass pellet boiler, which is 95% efficient and produces virtually no carbon emissions. They also use thermal insulation and heat exchanges throughout the buildings to ensure maximum energy efficiency. In addition, an on-site grey water treatment plant reuses all shower and basin water (topped up with rainwater) to flush the centre’ toilets.
Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Edinburgh
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has arguably one of the most ambitious and successful sustainability programs in the UK, with policies and programmes implemented throughout every part of the venue’s operation. The EICC’s Plan-it green™ Sustainable Events Programme, couples low carbon and low cost operating efficiency with sustainable event management counsel.
The venue works towards the Scottish Government’s Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and has a ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ program which is continuously being optimised by cutting down on waste food and packaging. They aim to increase products sent to compost by 70%. Even with its vast and versatile event space, kiosks, catering and day-to-day management, the EICC is both conscious of the venue’s impact through monitoring and actively innovating in order to see the venue ran more effectively and efficiently.
The Crystal, London
The Crystal, a Sustainable Cities Initiative by Siemens, is located in the heart of London’s business sector in Docklands. It is the venue of choice for sustainability events, having hosted Guardian Sustainable Business Awards, The Annual Ecosummit, and the Sustainable Events Summit.
Its accreditations include having achieved Outstanding’ in BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and ‘Platinum’ for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In addition to this, it boasts that it releases 70% less CO2 emissions than comparable buildings in the UK.
The Fairmont St Andrews, Fife
Winner of the AA’s Eco Hotel of the Year 2018–19, The Fairmont St Andrews commitment to maintaining the land and surrounding areas. They as the Fife Coastal Path, is demonstrated through the ongoing maintenance around the property as well as quarterly beach cleaning. The Fairmont is also a local employer, with 75% of staff from Fife and a further 20% from Dundee.
Recent investment in the hotel’s systems has led to a sharp reduction in water and energy consumption. A new initiative has seen the recycling of 250kg of the hotel’s soap and hygiene products which are donated to humanitarian organisations through Clean the World.
British Airways i360, Brighton
The world’s tallest moving observation tower, this small (ish) venue, rises 162 metres high above the coast of Brighton. Designed by Marks Barfield Architects, designers of the London Eye, the i360 serves as more than just a ‘nice view’. The landscape visible from the i360 makes it a key location for wildlife and environmental observation as well as providing education to the community.
There has always been a focus on sustainability at i360. During the building phase, the 5300m3 of shingle that was removed to embed the base was repurposed to restore local coastlines damaged by storms. Alongside, significant insulation, low energy lighting and natural ventilation, the i360 only uses green energy with the energy generated from the elevators providing 50% of the energy needed for the ascent.
Known as ‘The Home of Cricket’, Lord’s is little known for its endeavours in being a sustainable venue. In 2017, Lord’s started to run on 100% renewable energy generated from wind turbines. They also introduced a reusable cup scheme, use paper straws and increased the number of water fountains to encourage the used of refillable bottles.
Pelham’s, Lord’s newest development for business meetings and receptions, follows in the footsteps of Lord’s. They have installed a rainwater recycling system, green walls and roof as well as solar thermal panels that generate hot water and electricity.
Honourable Mention: Bloomberg HQ, London
This office isn’t a venue but deserves a place on this list for a variety of reasons. It was named the UK’s Best New Building by the Royal Institute of British Architects. It was also awarded Outstanding by BREEAM.
Bloomberg’s new European-HQ based in London is a demonstration of Bloomberg’s Founder’s ethos: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This impressive office incorporates contemporary design with green technology making it “the most sustainably-designed office in the world” and setting the bar high for future office developments.
Interesting in entering the Global Good Awards in 2019?
It’s not too early to register your interest in entering for 2019. Entries open on 2nd January.
Anyone wishing to be part of the Global Good revolution and this unique awards programme can contact Founder, Karen Sutton: karen@GlobalGoodAwards.co.uk