Exclusive Tour of Horizon House

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On the evening of Wednesday 6th July, guests and Go Green members joined us at Horizon House home to the Environment Agency, for an exclusive tour to explore the fantastic eco-features and sustainable working environment.

The evening started with lively networking between guests, along with a delicious buffet of nibbles provided by 280 Bakes. Liz Parkes who is Deputy Director of Climate Change & Business Services at the Environment Agency kicked off the talks, introducing Horizon House and explaining the transition from their old office, and the positive attitude from staff towards the new building.

Liz continued to explain how staff feel a strong connection with the building. She expressed that she “wouldn’t change a thing about this building!”

Stuart Kotchie & David Matthews

Next to speak was Stuart Kotchie from Harmsen Tilney Shane, who are a commercial interior design consultancy. He talked about the transition from the old, disjointed and inefficient office, which didn’t provide a sustainable working environment. The design of Horizon House focused on an effective and flexible working environment, with better use of space and a unified culture.

David Matthews from Hoare Lea, talked about the technical design of the building. Here are some of the key design features:

  • Health and Well-being: daylight to desk positions.
  • Lighting: high efficiency luminaire rafts, presense dectection, daylight controls.
  • Zero Carbon Technologies: part L U-Values improvements, ground source heat pump, photovoltaic cells, solar hot water.
  • Water Consumption: rainwater harvesting, low flush toilets, aerated taps, waterless urinals.
  • Ventilation: automatic opening windows, free night cooling, combined natural and mechanical ventilation.

See Steve and David’s slides here.

We were then taken on an exclusive, behind the scenes tour of the building. The tour started by looking at a typical floor plan, including hot desking, clear desk policies and height adjustable desks. We also saw the cafeteria, where all produce is sourced from no more than 50 miles from the building.

The top floor is home to the building’s wildflower roof garden. It offered stunning views of Bristol city, and provides a great place for staff to take a break from the office and connect with nature.

The basement offers facilities to encourage sustainable travel, including allocated electric car-parking spaces, vast bike storage, and also shower facilities for staff. We finished the tour in the plant room, where we took a look at the ground-source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting tanks, and back up boilers (that were hardly used!).

We all left feeling impressed and inspired from the tour, and how Horizon House is leading the way in future office building design.