The Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture’s (DEFA) headquarters has won the top prize at one of Europe’s most prestigious environmental awards. The new HQ, designed by APA Architects, was awarded the Gold Award under the Local Authority Section and then went onto win the Overall Winner Award at the 2012 Green Apple Built Environment and Architectural Heritage Awards. The accolades honor excellence in sustainable construction, design and innovation of products and architectural preservation.
It is not the first award that the new eco-friendly DEFA headquarters has won. It has already been awarded the ‘Excellent’ rating by ‘BREEAM’ for its exemplary design in reducing environmental impact. However the 2012 Green Apple Built Environment and Architectural Heritage Awards, now in their 16th year, recognize and reward best practice in both the private and public sectors.
APA Architects designed the building, which is located on the Isle on Man, to minimize its impact on the environment by maximizing the use of natural ventilation and natural lighting. As more than 30% of energy consumed in the Isle of Man is used to heat buildings, it was essential that the new building was highly energy efficient. It’s designed to look like a Dutch barn and uses mainly natural materials, such as timber and glass, so that it appears to blend into the surrounding landscape.
DEFA are certainly pleased with the results. “I am delighted that the DEFA HQ has been recognized in this way,” Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for the Environment, Food and Agriculture, told reporters. “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.”
“This award demonstrates what the Island can do,” said Ashley Pettit, Principal of APA Architects. “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.”