One of the biggest criticisms of sustainable buildings is that they cost too much money to develop.
But just outside Solihull there is this office that puts an end to this argument once and for all.
The Arup Campus on Blythe Valley Business Park cost just over #3 million – equivalent to traditional office buildings of the same size. But unlike any ordinary office, the Campus used clever design to slash its energy bills by a third and transform the daily lives of those that work there.
Housing around 350 people, the engineering consultants' office is packed full with simple but ingenious devices to curb the use of non-renewable materials and cut down on energy use.
Designed by in-house architects Arup Associates, the building boasts natural ventilation, large windows that let in the daylight and is surrounded by meadowland that includes a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for wildlife.
The building has also been designed to be dismantled, rather than demolished, cutting down on building waste.
It also combined 20 per cent recycled materials in construction with many natural, renewable materials. One example is the Western Red Cedar panels which help insulation – ensuring the office remains warm in winter and cool in summer. Indoor plants are also used in a way that improves air quality.
With big changing rooms and plenty of space for bikes, many members of staff choose to cycle to work. But the real wizardry is in the central building management system that monitors the temperature and light in the building and adjusts windows and shutters accordingly.
Every year a business in a typical air-conditioned office building would spend #1.78 per square metre on gas and #12.23 per square metre on electricity.
For a 3,000 square metre office this would cost #5,340 a year in electricity and a whopping #36,690 in gas.
Arup's Solihull Campus uses a fraction of that cutting down on costs and improving energy security. The Campus spends around 87p per square metre on gas and #8.44 on electricity. This would be #2,610 a year on electricity and #25,320 on gas in a 3,000 square metre building.
Peter Braithwaite, director of environmental consulting for Arup said: "There is no point promoting sustainability and then creating a building that is too expensive for others to build.
"When we chose to build the Arup Campus, we wanted to prove that it was possible to create a commercially viable building whilst cutting down on energy use and creating a space that people would enjoy working in.
"It's become quite an iconic building in the area. Local taxi drivers have named it the Chicken Shed which, at first, seemed a bit unfair.
"But the fact is the building is unusual and unique. It's natural that people will to try to find a way to describe it. We're quite proud of the name now!"
So popular with members of staff, Arup has now chosen to extend the building - providing space for a further 300 people.
Mr Braithwaite said: "Some of the sustainability features – natural ventilation, natural light and the meadowland – also make the building a great place to work
"We've been really pleased with the response from staff and it proves there can be many benefits from sustainability."