Dalby Forest Visitor Centre, for which White was principal designer, won the 2007 Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award: "With uncompromising commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability" designers White Design have created an exceptional building that stood out from a strong shortlist of 18 projects' (judges' comments). It also won the 2007 RICS Yorkshire and Humber award for sustainability. A £2.1m development for the Forestry Commission, the building embodies a range of innovative developments in modern manufacturing methods and sustainable construction. Impact on the sloping site and movement of soil was minimized by cut and fill and a service area created through planted, reinforced banking. Screw-pile foundations reducd site excavation. The main structure is of pre-made, glue-laminated timber frame and pre-made timber wall delivered to site ready for construction and reducing site traffic and disruption. Extensive use of larch cladding grown and milled in the local forest reduces embodied energy and energy in construction and supports local business.
The building also embodies extensive research, development and practical experience built up through earlier projects on energy efficiency. This emphasises the primary need to ensure the natural efficiency of of the building through location, orientation, materials, insulation, fenestration, ventilation rather than bolt-on technical solutions. It maximizes natural light and ventilation with a naturally-ventilated atrium feeding all connected spaces via automatically-opening high-level windows through the 'stack effect'. Thermal efficiency is achieved through pre-insulated timber panels providing a 'super-insulated' external envelope. A photovoltaic thin film array and micro wind-turbine provide electricity. A biomass boiler, run on waste wood from the Forestry Commission, provides carbon-neutral heating. Rainwater harvesting from an inert single-ply rood membrane supplies the large number of public conveniences attached to the visitor centre.