6 of the Best Eco-Friendly Buildings in the UK

Guest writer Nikki McDonagh takes us through 6 of the most unique and resourceful eco-friendly buildings in the UK

rspb centre

With Global Warming now an ever present issue, it’s important to take care of the environment we live in by being more eco-friendly. Here is a list of some of the best eco-friendly buildings in the UK.

RSPB Environment and Education Centre, Purfleet, Thames Gateway

rspb centre 6 of the Best Eco Friendly Buildings in the UKImage sourced: vHH

This carbon-neutral building already uses sheep wool for insulation and nearly all materials were locally sourced, as expected of an environment centre. Two transparent roof cones allow daylight into the building and also glow in the dark, acting as beacons for people trekking back across the marshlands late at night.

Honingham Earth-Sheltered Social Housing Scheme, Honingham, Norfolk

Imagine paying just £3.80 per week for the running costs of your home, well that’s what this housing scheme offers. There’s no standard heating or cooling system and the structure has zero carbon emissions. The houses are earth-sheltered, meaning the north, west and east walls are covered by an earth mound, giving the building its own insulation cover.

Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, North Yorkshire

dalby forest 6 of the Best Eco Friendly Buildings in the UK

Image sourced: Stuart Shepherd

With a reception desk made of yoghurt pots, old Wellington boots and mobile phones, this visitor centre had to make the list. Old tyres and tubes were recycled to make up the roof cover and the entire building can be recycled at the end of its life. The forest next door supplies wood chips to power the boiler and is also where the wood used to dress the building came from. The government has praised the building for its “uncompromising commitment to sustainability”.

Kingsmead Primary School, Northwich, Cheshire

If you have children and you want them to be green minded, Kingsmead primary is the school for them. The school building itself is designed as a learning tool to teach pupils more about the environment. They’ve got displays for the solar panels which show the voltage stored, as well as an electronic meter that shows how much rainwater has been collected by the inverted roof. They’ve also installed a system, run on renewable energy, that automatically opens and shuts the windows, skylights and blinds, allowing fresh air to flow through the building and shading pupils where necessary from the sun.

The National Trust Headquarters, Swindon

national trust 6 of the Best Eco Friendly Buildings in the UKImage sourced: Roger Cornfoot

You’d naturally expect the National Trust to have an environmentally aware building and living up to the expectation, they occupy one of the greenest offices in the UK. 30% of its annual electricity used is supplied by an of array photovoltaic panels on the roof. Eco-friendly materials, such as PVC-free linoleum and water-based paints were used on the interior of the building. There are some innovative and impressive ideas here too, like the carpets in the building being made from wool from the Trust’s flocks of Herdwick sheep and the ventilation snouts on the roof which come from recycled beer cans.

Adnams Brewery, Southwold, Suffolk

adnams brewery 6 of the Best Eco Friendly Buildings in the UKImage sourced: Robert Walker

The dirty little secret to the success of Britain’s greenest warehouse is cannabis. Or rather, hemp, which as it turns out is an excellent green construction material because it is fireproof, doesn’t biodegrade and is unattractive to vermin. At the brewery, it was used with lime as cavity wall insulation for the main warehouse.


Nikki McDonagh is a copywriter for leading estate agents chartered surveyors Fisher German. http://www.fishergerman.co.uk

Edited by Helen Kinsella

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