'Beacon for Defence': Chief of Defence Staff opens new low carbon headquarters

The Chief of the Defence Staff has opened the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's (DIO) first low carbon headquarters at Defence Medical Services Whittington in Staffordshire.

Housing 500 staff members, the new HQ reduces carbon emissions by nearly 50% and saves the equivalent energy of driving more than 78,000 miles or flying 28,000 miles.

General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, told Forces News the UK is "leading the way internationally" with sustainability.

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"We're looking really hard at our equipment capability and our military capability more broadly to see how we can make that more sustainable," he said.

"On many of the battlefields that we’re going to fight on in the future, we'll need to be sustainable because we'll be doing it at reach, at distance and the whole logistics system and the way we fight has got to take account of trying to minimise that logistic footprint."

Watch: Defence 'actively innovating' to become sustainable with Army solar farm.

For the grand opening of the new headquarters, the Royal Logistic Corps Silver Stars display team kicked off the event, before General Sir Nick welcomed the building's newest residents.

"I think this building can be a beacon for defence, in terms of how we modernise, and that's really exciting to see," he told those at the building's opening ceremony.

While the building has not achieved net-zero on carbon, it is specially designed to use as little energy as possible.

Graham Dalton, chief executive of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, told Forces News "the next generation of buildings we'll be doing, the ones we're planning now...  will use no energy in operation".

"This one uses a little bit, but a fraction of what we did previously."

Today's building opening comes as part of the attempt by the Armed Forces to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.