The Crown Estate's 7 Air Street Wins Sustainable Building of the Year Energy & Environment Award


Nestled in the heart of one of London’s busiest shopping districts, The Crown Estate’s 7 Air Street is the first Grade 2-listed building ever to achieve the notorious BREEAM 2011 Outstanding rating and is the highest-scoring office scheme against current BREEAM standards.

Now recognised as the UK’s most sustainable historic building, this 46,000sq.ft office refurbishment – completed in 2015 – forms part of The Crown Estate’s £1bn investment in its Regent Street portfolio.

The seven-floor property’s laundry list of energy efficiency technologies and green initiatives reads like a catalogue of sustainability excellence for building professionals, with no stone left unturned by The Crown Estate’s development and project management team.

7 Air Street is connected to a unique central energy centre powered by fuel-cell technology, which saves more than 350 tonnes of carbon emissions each year while providing power to 500,000sq.ft of commercial and residential accommodation along Regent Street. Low-energy air conditioning, LED lighting and 23kW rooftop solar panels add to the scheme’s energy efficiency initiatives, while and a highly-effective building envelope drastically reduces its heating and cooling requirements.

The building’s outstanding green credentials don’t stop there. Additional sustainability features include extensive bicycle provision to promote worker health and wellbeing; and an ecological roof which is designed to attract insects, birds and bats, and offers workers the opportunity to enjoy outdoor spaces during the day. The species-rich green roof forms part of The Crown Estate’s ongoing ‘ecology masterplan’, which will see the asset management firm deliver a hectare of new green space across its West End portfolio.

For The Crown Estate, this project has preserved and extended the usable lifespan of two listed buildings, massively enhancing occupier appeal and contributing to rental value and let-ability – 7 Air Street was 80% let just eight weeks after its completion, exceeding all expectations.

The Estate has struck a perfect balance between updating a building for the needs of today’s customers; upgrading sustainability performance, and maintaining historically significant features. The organisation has moved beyond the low-hanging fruits of energy efficiency towards some truly amazing low-carbon innovations; considered everything from energy efficiency and staff wellbeing right through to ensuring that construction workers were paid Living Wage or more during development.

In fact, it’s hard to think of any green box this building doesn’t tick, making 7 Air Street the jewel in the Crown Estate’s progress on sustainability.

Judges’ comments

The Crown Estate’s Grade-2 listed refurbishment project pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in green building development. Scoring highly across all criteria, 7 Air Street is a really impressive retrofit development that was delivered within very tough constraints. The Crown Estate demonstrated good use of the latest innovate technologies and took a very holistic approach to this project, which will undoubtedly have a great influence on heritage properties across the country. 


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