Kew Road is a 3,888 m2 office in Richmond that has been refurbished by Low Carbon Workplace, a partnership between sustainability experts the Carbon Trust, asset manager Columbia Threadneedle and developer Stanhope. The office, a typical brick clad concrete framed construction incorporating some curtain walling and a steel framed roof, was originally built in the late 1980s and formerly served as the headquarters of PepsiCo Europe. In 2014 the Low Carbon Workplace commissioned a refurbishment which improved the building’s Energy Performance Certificate rating from an F to a B and was awarded a BREEAM rating of Excellent.
All timber used is FSC certified
after refurbishment, EPC Rating went from F to B
The Low Carbon Workplace (LCW) partnership acquires commercial office buildings and refurbishes them into modern, energy efficient workplaces. Occupiers benefit from ongoing support from the Carbon Trust, helping them to minimise their energy costs and CO2 emissions. Occupiers that successfully meet specific performance criteria are awarded with certification to the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard.
Kew Road is a 3,888 m2 office in Richmond built in the late 1980s. Before its refurbishment it had a standard fan coil unit (FCU) system with fresh air make-up and facades with poor thermal and acoustic performance, particularly the windows. The building had an F rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The refurbishment improved the building’s EPC rating to a B and was awarded a BREEAM rating of Excellent.
Since its refurbishment, Kew Road has been occupied by notonthehighstreet.com, the UK’s largest curated online marketplace. notonthehighstreet.com has an ongoing commitment to reduce its carbon emissions and was therefore delighted to be able to occupy such an energy efficient, environmentally sustainable building. As a tenant of a Low Carbon Workplace building, notonthehighstreet.com receives ongoing support from the Carbon Trust, helping to minimise the building’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.
The refurbishment incorporated a range of measures to substantially improve the building’s energy efficiency.
The refurbishment also introduced more advanced controls supported by a network of meters and sensors that combine to optimise the building’s performance:
All Low Carbon Workplace refurbishments include extensive energy efficiency improvements embedded into them. Because of this, isolated return on investment figures solely related to the sustainability improvements cannot be extracted. However, what Kew Road clearly demonstrates is that energy efficiency-orientated refurbishments can be commercially very attractive, with the potential to deliver strong financial returns for investors.
FIT-OUT AND HANDOVER
How to ensure continuity in the handover?
The Carbon Trust’s support to notonthehighstreet.com began with their office fit-out. A good fit-out is an essential part of creating an energy efficient building, because poorly thought-through fit-outs can conflict with a building’s base design, resulting in unnecessarily high energy consumption. By working closely with notonthehighstreet.com throughout the fit-out process, the Carbon Trust was able to help them create a highly distinctive interior that met their specific requirements without compromising the building’s energy efficiency performance.
notonthehighstreet.com’s move into Kew Road was also helped by their decision to retain the same mechanical contractors for the fit-out and ongoing maintenance that had carried out the main refurbishment. This continuity – in line with BSRIA’s ‘Soft Landings’ framework – helped to ensure a smooth handover to notonthehighstreet.com and minimise the performance gap between the building’s theoretical energy efficiency and its actual energy efficiency.
How to continuously identify energy saving opportunities?
A key element of the Carbon Trust’s ongoing support to notonthehighstreet.com is monthly reporting. This includes a summary of how the building consumes energy over a typical 24-hour period relative to its occupancy levels. The report helped to highlight an opportunity for notonthehighstreet.com to optimise energy consumption during weekends.
The nature of notonthehighstreet.com’s business means staff are in the office seven days a week, although typically for fewer hours at weekends than on weekdays. Initially, however, the weekend settings for the heating and ventilation systems were the same as for weekdays. By making some relatively simple adjustments to the heating and ventilation systems to better reflect the shorter weekend hours, notonthehighstreet.com was able to reduce its energy consumption while still maintaining comfortable working conditions.
How to ensure occupier engagement?
The Low Carbon Workplace philosophy is ‘better buildings, used better’, which means a building’s refurbishment is only half of the story. It doesn’t matter how well designed a building is or how theoretically energy efficient it is – if it is used badly then efficiency will suffer. Occupiers of Low Carbon Workplace buildings therefore receive ongoing support from the Carbon Trust to help them minimise their energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Occupiers are also required to sign the Low Carbon Workplace Charter, this serves much the same purpose as a green lease, and signals their commitment to work collaboratively with the Carbon Trust to minimise their CO2 emissions. It also sets out the ongoing support they will receive from the Carbon Trust, free of charge. LCW occupiers that are able to demonstrate they have met specific criteria are awarded with certification to the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard. The Standard was developed to provide a robust and transparent approach to measuring the CO2 emissions associated with workplaces. The key to ensuring ongoing occupier engagement is to make it as easy as possible for occupiers to be engaged; to tailor our approach to best meet their individual needs; and to focus on delivering demonstrable value in terms of cost and CO2 savings.
Occupier Support Manager
Low Carbon Workplace
Michael Bentley, Facilities Manager, notonthehighstreet.com
“With the continued practical support of the Carbon Trust, notonthehighstreet.com has been able to optimise its energy consumption without ever intruding on the day to day working environment. We remain very pleased to be in a Low Carbon Workplace building, which is ideally placed to help our business achieve its overall sustainability ambitions.”