Last week we held our first ‘Assael Green Week’ to promote a more sustainable future and to engage staff in tackling pertinent issues relating to our environment, carbon footprint, and health and wellbeing.
Since achieving ISO 14001 certification last year, we have ensured that sustainability is fully embedded into our design and business processes. The Assael Green Week was one of our key initiatives, aimed to inspire staff, clients and consultants to have a responsible attitude towards sustainability and help them to understand more about their environmental impact. We lined up a jam-packed programme of events featuring presentations and technical workshops, site visits, activities, and ethical food and drink.
Each day started with mindfulness sessions to teach us about the impact and benefits that mindful thinking can have on our wellbeing. There were also morning and evening yoga classes held in the studio, an evening cycle around Richmond Park, and staff loved using the smoothie bike to create healthy drinks using their own pedal power.
On-location trips included a visit to the BRE Innovation Park to learn about cutting-edge design and low carbon building technologies, a sustainable architecture tour which looked at ground-breaking buildings which are shaping London’s landscape, and a local beer brewing session.
The week also saw the ground floor café area of the studio taken over by presentations and workshops, such as how to tackle London’s air pollution by Battle McCarthy, and an environmental design session with XCO2, specialists in low carbon strategies for the built environment. We also had a permanent showcase of innovative green products; Sky Planters by Boskke, a Living Canvas by ANS, sustainable plaster products by Adaptavate, Cross Laminated Timber panels by KLH, sustainable timber products by Medite Smartply and natural insulation by Black Mountain. We also monitored our energy usage throughout the week using a state-of-the-art system by NetThings, with the data displayed on the big screen so we could all see how much energy we were consuming as a practice.
The highlight of the week was Assael’s Eco Evening, a Pecha Kucha-style event with inspirational presentations by both Assael staff and external consultants. The Edible Bus Stop spoke about creating accessible urban spaces, Clara Bagenal George from Elementa taught us about London’s carbon emissions, Tom Holland of KLH told us about building with structural timber, artist Amy Stephens discussed the relationship between nature, architecture and her art, and Dr Mike Wells of Biodiversity by Design discussed biophilia.
Even the drinks and snacks served throughout the week were sustainably-sourced, organic or fairtrade, including kitchen staples such as tea, butter, milk and squash, and we held a collection for Wandsworth Foodbank to help the local community.
We concluded the week with Organic Friday where we presented photos of the week’s events at our weekly Friday afternoon social, all over organic beers and food.
We’re excited about our sustainable future!