A new store taking shape in Knaresborough is set to boast the best green credentials of any furniture retailer in the UK.

And if anyone wants living proof, they need look no further than the roof.

For topping the new 35,000 sq ft Barker and Stonehouse store will be a ‘mini meadow’.

The independent furniture retailer – the largest in the UK– is relocating from its current site at St James Retail Park to its new position adjacent the park.

The move marks a £4 million investment and will create a flagship store for the company on one of the town’s most highly visible retail locations.

The new store’s sustainable features include the living roof – housing self-maintaining vegetation which will provide bio-diversity and the creation of natural habitats – natural ventilation, low energy heating, an innovative heat recovery system and a unique lighting system specially designed by the company.

The construction has attracted a BREEAM rating of “very good” and is the only retail store in Knaresborough to achieve the certification.

BREEAM is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation. It has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance.

Barker and Stonehouse is no stranger to sustainability – the unique lighting system has already been introduced into the retailer’s other stores and has resulted in savings of up to 60% on the company’s annual fuel bills.

The new store, which is due to open on Boxing Day, also boasts maximum insulation and features a host of striking design features, many of which are made from recycled and environmentally resourced materials.

Barker and Stonehouse managing director, James Barker, said: “Investing so much time and effort in the new store is a display of our commitment to Knaresborough and our customers.

“We are always striving to introduce and invest in the latest innovations.  The new Knaresborough store is an example of this and will result in an improved customer experience.

“Customers told us they wanted more responsible retailing and we’ve invested heavily to meet this demand.

“We’ve worked with The Carbon Trust to significantly reduce our carbon footprint in the new store and across all our stores and operations.

“Knaresborough Council and Harrogate and District Council have been outstanding in helping us achieve our goals for this great new store. Their attitude has been really positive.”

Local firm Hares of Snape manufactured and erected the 165 tonnes of steel, which make up the framework for the new store.

Project manager Dennis McLuckie said: “We’ve been involved with Barker and Stonehouse for many years and we’re using local labour and contractors to complete this innovative project within a very tight timescale and we’re making good progress.”

Once open the store will offer customers a new accessories collection sourced from a host of local suppliers, extensive lighting and flooring departments and even more ranges of quality furniture.