The Green Kings

Something’s happening sustainability-wise. Offices are going green, football clubs are going green, there’s a massive push towards plant-based diets, Extinction Rebellion are climbing onto tube trains and Greggs have launched a vegan sausage roll to, we understand, critical acclaim.

Brexit aside, the world’s environmental issues are at the top of every news agenda and as many would agree, rightly so.

Take two of the most traditional (and high profile) industries in the UK – commercial property and professional football. Both have woken up to the fact that the – admittedly low – bar needs to be raised where sustainability is concerned.

Football Goes Green

Among the country’s most recognisable brands, the 20 Premier League football clubs have hundreds of thousands people inside their stadiums every season and many millions of followers around the world so what are they doing to help the environment and to send out the message that this is an initiative that everyone can get behind?

The BBC have teamed up with the UN-backed Sport Positive Summit to compile research into the sustainability of all 20 clubs in the Premier League. The statistics reflect the environmental impacts of putting on a football match and initiatives that are under way at clubs and the headline facts are very positive.

Based on a series of eight categories with one point for each, the results show that clubs have increasing ambition, with every club having an active initiative on reducing single use plastic and supporting sustainable transport options for fans. 15 of the 20 clubs have vegan food options available on stadium concourses and 16 clubs have water efficiency strategies in place.

Top of the pile with eight points out of eight are Spurs, Manchesters City and United and Arsenal and the relegation zone occupiers are Southampton, Crystal Palace and Watford.

Take a look at the table here to see what the world of football is doing, but what is the commercial property world doing?

London Goes Green

It won’t come as a massive shock but every year there are more and more people, more and more office space and more and more vehicles, all battling for a finite amount of space. Sam Allcock writing for thelondoneconomic.com suggests that businesses are ‘working alongside energy and sustainability consultants to create low energy, high performance buildings. Companies across the capital are beginning to understand the importance of having sustainability at the forefront of their minds when designing, or revamping, their state-of-the-art buildings. Whether it be to reduce energy costs, motivate staff to become eco-friendlier, or simply protect the environment, becoming a sustainable business is a win-win.’

But what buildings are setting the standard and more importantly, what are they doing?

  1. Bloomberg HQ, 3 Queen Victoria Street, London EC4

Costing £1.3bn and designed by Foster & Partners, Bloomberg’s headquarters achieved the highest-ever Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) score in 2018 and has been dubbed the world’s most sustainable office building.

Set on 3.2 acres between the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral, the c.1.1m square feet building is 10 storeys high and includes a grey water collection system on the roof to recycle water, and vacuum-drainage toilets (similar to those found on planes) to dramatically reduce water usage.

The crowning glory according to Sam Allcock is its ceiling, integrating approximately 4,000 specialised ceiling panels. Each of these help to control the building’s heating, cooling, lighting and acoustic functions, reducing energy usage by over 40%. The building also features living walls, a unique desk set-up for staff and its very own natural ventilation system.

  1. 7MoreLondon, Riverside, London SE1

Completed in 2010, the UK headquarters of PriceWaterhouseCoopers was the first building in the capital and the first major office in the UK to be awarded the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating.

The key issue for the 520,000 square feet building (again, designed by Foster & Partners) was the glass exterior. Great for natural light but also a heat magnifier and to get around it, the architects implemented a biodiesel-fuelled combined heat and power plant in the basement. This not only powers and heats the entire building, but also uses waste heat to power refrigeration systems whenever cooling was required.

The unique design also incorporates interiors that can be heated and cooled by radiance systems using natural air convection. This means that the space becomes a much fresher and healthier environment than when using traditional air conditioning.

  1. One Embankment Place, 49 Villiers St, London WC2

Sitting atop Charing Cross station, it was redesigned in 2006 specifically to improve sustainability and delivered on its promise, taking the accolade of the world’s most sustainable office building back in 2013.

The redesign focused on two key areas. Reducing carbon emissions by 50% and reducing energy use by 25%. To hit these objectives, the building integrated an advanced system which was able to convert recycled vegetable waste into a fuel that could cool, heat and power the building. It also involved installing waterless urinals and green walls and staircases to limit energy and water use.

Once built, the design went on to achieve a BREEAM innovation credit, after obtaining more than 95% of its building materials from responsible sources.

  1. 20 Fenchurch, 20 Fenchurch Street, London EC3

Designed in 2004 by New York-based Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly, the 670,000 square feet ‘Walkie Talkie’ opened in 2010 and incorporates the UK’s largest green wall, as well as a number of roof-mounted solar panels, estimated to generate over 27,000 kWh of electricity each year.

It also features a sky garden on the roof which helps to reduce the level of C02 in the atmosphere.

As a result of installing these features, the building has reduced its carbon emissions by approximately 270 tonnes each year.

  1. RSPB Environment & Education Centre, Purfleet RM19

Protecting birds and the planet was the brief for van Heyningen & Hayward Architects and when the centre was finished in 2006, it received an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating.

It was designed to use renewable energy sourced from a ground source heat exchange pump, and limit water usage with its rainwater harvesting system. It even used sheep wool to insulate the building.

  1. Waitrose, Westfield Stratford City, London E20

It became the first retail building in the world to achieve BREEAM’s ‘Outstanding’ rating in 2012. This was due to the number of environmentally friendly and sustainable features including measures focussing on reducing construction waste, using recycled materials in the building process and ensuring all of its electricity was generated from renewable sources.

The supermarket sends all of its unusable food waste to an anaerobic digestion plant where it can be converted into energy and put back into the National Grid, it uses low carbon lighting and has an innovatively-designed cooling system that recycles cold air from its fridges.

BDG Sparkes Porter & The Environment

We are currently marketing up to 14,000 square feet of fantastic space in Hobhouse Court in St James’s which will be ready in January and the design team are targeting an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating.

Take a look at the specs here.

Talking of space, if you have a property enquiry we can help you with, contact us today on 020 7629 1088 or info@bdgsp.co.uk.