priory rooms exteriorDr Johnson House in Bull Street was demolished in 2001 and the new Priory Rooms conference centre built on the excavated courtyard, adjacent to the Quaker Meeting House. The entrance to the building gives no indication of the imaginative interior (below) and innovative management.

In April last year this site listed the centre’s commitment to Fairtrade refreshments, on site bottling of water in recycled glass bottles, recycling of packaging and paper and selection of suppliers with sustainable credentials. Read on here.

Other environmentally beneficial changes have been made to the Priory Rooms’ services following the 2011commitment by Quakers in Britain to become a low-carbon community.

priory rooms interior
These include the introduction of vegetarian buffets (Mondays only), biodegradable “doggy boxes” for leftovers, toilet twinning to donate latrines across Africa and use of harvested rain water, sometimes called ‘grey water’, to flush the toilets.

rwh tankOn Saturday a group was taken up to the roof to see this new system, which is expected to reduce the use of mains water by approximately 25% per year, helping to minimise The Priory Rooms’ carbon footprint as it removes the energy, CO2 emissions and chemicals that would have been produced using mains water.

The rainwater is channelled into a storage tank holding over 1000 litres of water, similar to the one on the right. It is hoped to increase rain-water harvesting to service other toilet blocks in the building.

We await future developments and would welcome news of other ‘green’ city buildings.