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Zurich Insurance opens one of UK’s most sustainable offices in Swindon

Insurance giant Zurich has opened of its state-of-the-art Swindon headquarters: Unity Place.

The new building demonstrates Zurich’s commitment to Swindon where it has a long history as one of the town’s largest employers.

It will play an important role in the ongoing regeneration of the town centre, providing over 1,000 staff with a workspace designed to enhance their wellbeing and the local environment.

Along with input from its Swindon-based staff, Zurich has designed the building to rank among the top 10 per cent of commercial buildings for sustainability in the UK.

It features electric car charging points, plants on every floor, storage for bicycles, improved recycling points, energy efficient LED lighting and a beehive on the roof. It will be powered completely by renewable electricity.

Unity Place also features furniture partly made from recovered ocean plastics and includes bird boxes in surrounding areas to support local wildlife. A multi-faith room and a nursing room will be available to staff.

The building was awarded the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ accreditation for the project design stage, an environmental assessment for buildings covering a variety of categories from materials used, to health and wellbeing. It is aiming to receive a further ‘Excellent’ accreditation upon completion in the coming months.

The last two years have changed the way we work, and Unity Place is designed to reflect this, built with hybrid working in mind. It will continue to be the home of Zurich Community Trust, which was launched in Swindon nearly 50 years ago. Since then, Zurich’s employees have carried out around 3,000 projects in the local area.

John Keppel, Chief Sustainability Officer at Zurich UK, said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of Unity Place, an office designed with the future in mind. We are committed to becoming one of the world’s most sustainable businesses, and this state-of-the-art building takes us one step closer to achieving that aim.”

Councillor David Renard, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “Unity Place is an excellent building both on the outside and on the inside.

“It’s a great addition to Swindon’s skyline and a shining example of what a private business can do to improve the local area.

“The eco-friendly features of the building are something that everyone should be aspiring to and we’re proud to be the home of such a state-of-the-art office.”

Additional features of Unity Place include:

  • Extra cycling facilities will be put in place (including secure storage, a bike repair station, drying room and additional showering facilities)
  • Rainwater will be collected and used to water plants
  • Plastic used in building logistics are being used to make some internal art pieces, visible from the outside on the groundfloor.
  • Builder Skanska re-used rubble from the structures underneath the ground to form the concrete base of the building – saving resources and travel emissions.

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