Stunning and Sustainable: The McLaren Technology Centre
When McLaren first bought the 50 hectares of barren land in Woking, Surrey it was nothing more than exhausted soil from decades of intensive farming.
From the offset, we felt the responsibility to do no further damage. Instead, we chose to breathe life into it. We chose to take on the responsibility of our surroundings and craft an example of true ecological sustainability that would support our future, not destroy it. This is something we feel has been thoroughly achieved.
In 2010 the building earned Carbon Trust Standard certification. In order to keep this highly valued recognition of commitment to the environment we are re-evaluated every two years. Just like our search for new ideas, this is a challenge we rise to with a constantly renewed enthusiasm.
In 2011 McLaren Racing was announced as the first ever carbon neutral team in Formula 1. This was recognised by the FIA who awarded us with the first FIA Institute’s Environmental Award.
In 2012 McLaren was re-instated with the Carbon Trust Standard and in November 2014 became the first ever Formula 1 team to be awarded, and retain, the Carbon Trust Standard for the second time.
So, what exactly is it about the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC), the lake and the surrounding area that makes it so sustainable?
When we say that MTC and the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) are ecologically friendly to their very core, we really mean it. Even the skeleton of the MPC has a planned life cycle; the steel cladding, both internal and external is fully recyclable.
Sunlight is favoured over unnatural light sources. The gigantic glass façade that stretches the entire front view of the MTC means that natural light fills a large area of the building. The clean and natural silvery light that floods the Boulevard and staff restaurant, serves as a daily reminder that McLaren strives to be at one with nature.
In the areas that sunlight just won’t reach, energy guzzling halogens were quickly replaced with metal halide and LED energy-efficient bulbs saving 13,000kWh of electricity per year. Our constant efforts to update technology led to the production of exclusive in-house designs used for energy efficient outdoor lighting.
Generating electricity in any building creates a by-product of heat. However, at the MTC this heat isn’t a by-product for very long. It is captured by the combined heat and power system (CHP) and used elsewhere in the building.
The large flat roof of the MTC is a result of stringent height restrictions, and so in true McLaren style we turned this into an advantage. The roof is not only self-cleaning, it also uses a high-pressure syphonic drainage system to collect rainwater which is then used to refill the all-important lake.
The lake and the building have often been compared to the ancient Chinese Yin-Yang symbol due to their appearance and their harmonious interaction with one another. The lake assists the building’s cooling system by regulating the temperature and decreasing the need for cooling towers.
Hydrocarbon interceptors filter contaminants from the water with help from Mother Nature herself in the form of large reed beds. Seeing as these weren’t designed by us, we can’t quite take all the credit there.
The inspiring rejuvenation of the Greenbelt however, is something that we, along with our army of volunteers can take the credit for.
The aim was to create a natural space in which wildlife could thrive and the public could enjoy. McLaren replaced the unhealthy topsoil, planted 100,000 trees and shrubs, laid down footpaths and introduced public access.
Wildlife that hadn’t been seen on the site for years quickly returned. Within the space of a few months the MTC parkland was the proud home of exotic orchids, skylarks, waterfowls, six species of dragonfly, grass snakes and even kingfishers have been spotted on rare occasions.
To our delight, the otter habitat that was built with the expectation of attracting interest over the coming year was claimed by an otter family within two weeks.
So there you have it, sitting peacefully within the landscape; our green creation that wholly represents McLaren’s promise to take full responsibility for its own Yin-Yang shaped carbon footprint.