A NATIONAL treasure basked in Woking’s glorious new habitat on Friday, gracing the packed WWF-UK headquarters with his presence for the opening of the country’s most sustainable and eco-friendly workplace.
Wildlife expert and TV presenter Sir David Attenborough was the esteemed guest of honour as the organisation gave the world their first look at the £20 million Living Planet Centre, which strives to emulate the values of the charity by producing a minimal carbon footprint.
Addressing the crowd, he said: “It seems to me that this truly is an historic day. This planet in all its aspects has to be looked after and cared for, and people all over the world have
to recognise a community attitude towards our glorious planet, towards fighting against waste and pollution.
“WWF have been the leader of that change in attitude, in changing the world’s attitude towards the health of our planet.
“This building enshrines that attitude. This building cares what its carbon footprint is. This building has respect and reverence for natural materials.
“WWF is one of the great hopes of the world and this new building not only enshrines that, but projects it to visitors. It is a wonderful building and I believe that people coming here will absorb an attitude to what this remarkable organisation is doing.
“I said this was an historic day, and I’m very proud to be standing here as part of it.”
Sir Attenborough officially opened the site with the ceremonial ‘planting’ of a tree in the main office.
Arriving in Woking having spent two decades at their former Panda House home in Godalming, WWF-UK have been labelled a real feather in the borough’s ever-growing cap.
Designed by Hopkins Architects, the state-of-the-art building has a curved, diagrid roof just visible at the level of the surrounding tree canopy.
With ground-source heating and a system to recycle fresh water, plus a host of other environmentally friendly features such as recycled and locally sourced materials, the awe-inspiring building has been awarded BREEAM Outstanding accreditation – the best possible carbon footprint rating available.
Woking MP Jonathan Lord told the News & Mail he could not recall a finer example of practising what you preach.
He said: “It’s a fabulous building and to have the UK headquarters of the WWF here in Woking is truly fantastic.”