Sir Ben Ainslie's Land Rover BAR racing team operates from the most sustainable sports building in the UK

Sailing team HQ scoops BREEAM 'Excellent' rating

The Land Rover BAR sailing team, aspiring to become the first British team to win the America’s Cup next year, has scored a different first by becoming the first British sports team to have built a base compliant with highest sustainability standards. 

The team’s futuristic base, opened last year in Portsmouth, has this week been awarded the BREEAM certificate, the world’s longest established certificate for sustainable buildings.

The seven-storey building, which features a massive Union Jack flag in slightly alternative colours, draws all its electricity from renewable resources. It even covers 20 per cent of its power needs with electricity generated by 432 solar panels that cover its entire roof.

During a media event ahead of this week’s Louis Vuitton America’s Cup race in Portsmouth, the founder of the team, four-time Olympic champion Sir Ben Ainslie, said the base was part of his effort to create a lasting legacy of sustainability and inspire sports fans to take care of the environment.

The 74,000 square foot waterfront base, designed by HGP Architects, takes advantage of several design hacks that decrease the amount of energy it needs.

An atrium with a transparent roof stretches from the workshop floor to the top floor, providing plenty of natural light and minimising the use of artificial light. To further decrease the energy demands of illumination, the base is equipped with extremely energy efficient LED lights. Occupancy sensors ensure the lights don’t stay on when no one needs them. These three approaches together enable reducing energy consumption by up to 30 per cent.

"One of our favourite parts of the building is the atrium,” said Vivienne Conway from HGP Architects. “It allows a direct source of daylight to filter through from the top floor down through all levels to the heart of the workshop. It is also used to draw air up through the building, releasing it through glazed louvres to help regulate internal temperatures, all while providing visual interest and physical connection between the various functions and teams within the building."

The natural ventilating abilities of the atrium enabled the designers to ditch a conventional mechanical ventilation system.

Energy efficiency is further enhanced with an insulating wrap that provides protection against the cold but also reduces the amount of sunlight entering the building to prevent it from overheating in summer.

"A gigantic fabric wrap has been applied to much of the building façade; its translucency will still admit natural light to the interior, while reducing solar glare,” said Phil Ward, environmental consultant at Couch Perry Wilkes. “It provides a layer of insulation, protecting the building fabric and retaining heat in winter like a coat."

Demolition concrete was used during the construction to further reduce environmental impact. Further sustainability-enhancing measures include a 1,200-litre tank for harvesting rainwater and a complex waste-management strategy that allows 95 per cent of waste generated in the operations to be either reused or recycled.

In addition to operating from the UK’s most sustainable sports base, the Land Rover Bar team has committed to a plethora of other activities, aiming to not only reduce the environmental impact but also to deliver a positive value.

The concept of a virtual chase boat, which involves transmitting data in real time from the race boat to an onshore control centre, allowed the team to scrap real chase boats - a move that results in the saving of 10,000 litres of diesel each year.

Recycling is the major motto as the team's power boats are made from recycled carbon composites. The team also adheres to a 'no single-use plastics' policy.

The team, which is currently second overall in the America’s Cup World Series behind Emirates Team New Zealand, has been recognised for its activities by the International Organization for Standardization, which awarded the team the ISO 20121 certificate for sustainable management.

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