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Co-operative Group's New Office Crowned World's Most Eco-Friendly Building

Just prior to its official opening last week by The Queen, One Angel Square — The Co-operative Group’s new head office in Manchester, England — has been declared the most environmentally friendly building in the world. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), an internationally acclaimed system of assessing buildings, gave One Angel Square a score of 95.16% — the highest ever awarded.The accolade came on Thursday, just before Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, toured the 14-story facility and unveiled a plaque marking the formal opening of the building in Manchester’s city centre.

Just prior to its official opening last week by The Queen, One Angel Square — The Co-operative Group’s new head office in Manchester, England — has been declared the most environmentally friendly building in the world. The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), an internationally acclaimed system of assessing buildings, gave One Angel Square a score of 95.16% — the highest ever awarded.

The accolade came on Thursday, just before Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, toured the 14-story facility and unveiled a plaque marking the formal opening of the building in Manchester’s city centre.

The unprecedented award comes as a result of the striking, futuristic structure’s many environmentally friendly features, which include power generated from crops grown on the grocery retailer’s farms; heating and cooling the premises by drawing air below the basement and redistributing it at the earth’s core temperature; and a double-skin façade that acts as a "duvet" to insulate the offices in the winter and ventilate it in the summer.

Euan Sutherland, The Co-operative Group Chief Executive, said: “From the outset the Group set very high aspirations for the green credentials of the new building but for One Angel Square to be recognised as the most environmentally friendly building in the world is a truly remarkable achievement.”

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One Angel Square is phase one of NOMA, a major scheme to redevelop 20 acres of the northern part of Manchester city centre. The 10-year program will create a truly mixed-use district, incorporating office space, residential and leisure facilities.

BREEAM is an environmental assessment method for sustainable building design that assesses buildings’ management, health, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, ecology, pollution and innovation — it is the leading methodology in the UK, roughly equivalent to LEED, which was developed in the U.S.

“This achievement of the highest score ever under BREEAM reflects an ambitious vision and commitment from The Co-operative Group and their project team,” said Gavin Dunn, Director of BREEAM, BRE Global. “They have created a highly sustainable, extremely low-carbon space. An excellent working environment with deep green credentials.”

One Angel Square’s stellar BREEAM score steals the top spot from Bombay Sapphire, which announced in March that its new gin distillery in Hampshire, scheduled to open this fall, was the first to achieve an “Outstanding” design-stage BREEAM accreditation; the distillery’s design plans received a score of 86.81 percent, now the third-highest score ever awarded to an industrial building by BREEAM.

Aside from building sustainable structures, the Co-operative Group has also been working to improve other aspects of its business: In March, the Group committed to reducing the GHG emissions associated with several of its staple food products; and last month, the retailer joined M&S, Waitrose and several other prominent UK grocers in launching the "Stronger Together" initiative, which aims to tackle the issue of modern-day slavery, human trafficking, forced labor and other hidden migrant worker exploitation in their supply chains.

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