The new HQ of a science organisation which helps farmers in developing countries is designed to be environmentally friendly and efficient.

CABI is a not-for -profit that tackles challenges of global concern such as improving global food security and safeguarding the environment.

The science organisation has now started to move into its new high-tech and sustainable offices in Wallingford.

The new corporate office features solar panels, sedum plants growing on the roof and a ‘curtain wall’ to give natural ventilation.

Rooflights also provide natural light to help reduce demand for electric lighting and help lower CO2 emissions.

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Both CABI and developer CALA Homes have also been mindful of landscaping which is sensitive to the location – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – with the planting of cypress trees, native hedgerows, low shrubs, ornamental plantings, perennial flowers and even a meadow to attract a broad range of insects, birds and other wildlife.

The organisation was previously based in buildings which were formerly part of Carmel College, a Jewish boarding school.

However, housing developer Cala Homes offered CABI money to buy the site to build houses.

Oxford Mail:

The move to the new HQ means the 1960s school will be demolished to allow the housing developer to complete the building of 54 more homes, in addition to the 37 already constructed, at the site off Nosworthy Way.

The old CABI headquarters were originally opened in September 1987 by the Prince of Wales, but the building became outdated and was not energy efficient, unlike its new ‘state-of-the-art’ offices.

Former CABI CEO Dr Trevor Nicholls, who was instrumental in bringing the new CABI corporate office to fruition before retiring, said: “On behalf of my EMT colleagues and all CABI staff worldwide let me thank all of our professional advisers, partners and suppliers for their work in helping us achieve this exciting milestone in CABI’s history.

“We now have an office that we can truly be proud of which is fitting for an international organisation, visited by guests and staff from around the world.

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“It is truly in keeping with our mission and values to protect the environment and biodiversity whilst also being an impressive local landmark that will put us on the map more visibly in the community.”

CABI said its commitment to encouraging biodiversity and protecting the environment was highlighted in its new offices.

The design is highly energy efficient with detailed strategies for materials, orientation and structures.

Oxford Mail:

A passive ventilation system has been devised and the design includes a careful selection of materials for the building fabric, which will reduce energy consumption, to embrace the aim of low carbon use in operation.

Recently appointed CEO at CABI Dr Daniel Elger is among the first members of staff to move into the new headquarters, which also serves as the hub for CABI’s publishing business.

He said: “I am delighted to be leading a team of professionals at our corporate office who are working with colleagues in our global network of centres to help millions of smallholder farmers around the world grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases.”

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Scott Brownrigg director Ed Hayden said: “A traffic light system alerts users when the building gets too hot or doesn’t have enough fresh air.

“Turning from amber to red prompts the occupants to open their windows and increase the levels of fresh air in the building. It is designed to rely on communication and cooperation between the building and its users, rather than being heavily M&E driven.”

With the building now complete, staff will begin moving into their eco-friendly new home while following UK Covid-19 guidelines.