A West Midland firm is set to become the UK’s first truly carbon-neutral advertising agency when it builds eco-friendly offices near Solihull.
Rees Bradley Hepburn (RBH) has submitted plans to Solihull council to convert farm buildings into a green workspace for up to 250 people.
The firm is working with award-winning York architectural design company Eco Arc on plans which include a biomass fuel electricity generator and solar panels to allow the company to become completely self-sufficient.
RBH expects to move out of its current home in Meriden and into the new premises at Hall Farm in 2010.
Rees Bradley Hepburn managing director Debra Hepburn said: “RBH has always taken the environment seriously and this is the next stage in bringing to life our passion for green issues.
“Rather than simply offsetting our carbon emissions we wanted to go one step further and have a completely sustainable, carbon-neutral business.
“Our brief to Eco Arc also mandated that the design provide the most inspirational working environment for RBH people.”
Ms Hepburn said the decision to invest in the new green offices was not prompted solely by environmental concerns but also by the fact that going green can bring benefits for clients and staff as well.
“When you start out to do something like this, it’s about wanting to make a better world for our children.
“But also it is important for us to help our clients.
“A lot of our them are in the manufacturing sector and by us reducing our carbon footprint, it benefits them.
“They have to measure their whole chain of supply in terms of emissions so agencies like ourselves going green can help there. As well as a client thing, it’s also a staff thing.
“Apart from feeling good about working in a company that cares about the planet, we were very clear that we wanted to develop and provide a beautiful green environment and a place which helped creative ideas flow around the agency.
“We asked the staff what they wanted.
“They said organic vegetable boxes so we have allotments where they can grow vegetables as well as wild flower meadows.
“We are also providing cycles so they can cycle into Knowle in their lunch hour.”
The proposed buildings include locally-sourced Forest Stewardship Council timber.
There will be plenty of natural daylight with roof lights and sun tubes and a reed-bed sewerage system.
Ms Heburn added any surplus electricity from the company’s biomass fuel generator will be sold to the national grid.
Rees Bradley Hepburn is able to finance its ambitious plans through cash reserves it has built up over the last few years.
“We have been in business for 13 years and my business partner and myself have left the money in the business to invest in the future,” said Ms Hepburn.
RBH employs 140 people and clients include Jaguar, Land Rover, Hyundai, Eveden, Hammerson Developments, Bid TV and Staffordshire University.
It was the first communications agency in the UK to receive an environmental accreditation from the Forestry Stewardship Commission (FSC) in 2006.