Closing the Performance Gap in One of the UK’s Most Sustainable Buildings

20/11/2020

When DWS, a leading European asset manager, forward purchased* one of the UK’s most sustainable buildings, the company took early action to ensure 2 Redman Place’s design credentials translated into outstanding performance in use. Together with developer Lendlease, managing agent Savills and the occupiers, DWS is working proactively to close the performance gap before it emerges – optimising efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and improving the customer experience.

*DWS acquired 2 Redman Place on behalf of a real estate fund.

BREEAM Outstanding building

Soft Landings collaborative approach

Progressing towards net zero carbon

Supporting wellbeing and productivity

Situation

DWS has long recognised the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and sustainability is an integral part of what they do and the foundation on which they build success for their clients. Within the real estate business, this includes a commitment to a 50% carbon intensity reduction across its European office portfolio by 2030 (more here) and signing the BBP Climate Change Commitment to deliver a net zero carbon portfolio by 2050 (more here).

A previous BBP case study details Lendlease’s involvement with the development of 2 Redman Place. Located at International Quarter London, the 33,626m2 building achieved one of the highest ever BREEAM scores in the UK for a commercial building and is targeting WELL certification. 2 Redman Place is the new home of Cancer Research UK, the British Council and FNZ.

DWS acquired 2 Redman Place as a forward purchase in June 2018. They recognised that action would be needed to ensure the building performed to its design potential for sustainability; many UK buildings have a huge performance gap between how well they are designed to perform and how they operate in real life. This gap covers a range of metrics, including energy efficiency, water consumption, waste generation, air quality, and thermal, visual and acoustic comfort. DWS’s early involvement, continued monitoring and goal setting are helping ensure that the performance of 2 Redman Place lives up to everyone’s expectations.

Hugo Vere, Head of UK & Ireland Real Estate Asset Management: “In 2 Redman Place, we have a building that has been designed and constructed to an exceptional standard. However, this does not guarantee real life performance; it is the way it’s operated that ultimately determines its impact in terms of customer experience and the environment. Therefore, as asset managers, it is crucial that we undertake all possible measures to ensure our buildings function in the best way for occupiers, for the broader community, and for our planet.”

Actions

Early Engagement

DWS worked closely with developer Lendlease for over a year before practical completion, bringing in a multidisciplinary team from CBRE as development monitors and engaging Savills as property managers nine months before practical completion. All parties collaborated on Soft Landings, which is a BSRIA-led building delivery process, to ensure all decisions are based on improving the building’s operational performance.

Through this process, the property management team received extensive training from the development team before practical completion, gaining a deep understanding of the building and systems. They also had time to develop guidance documents on operating the building to its design potential, produce a robust fit out and occupier guide for the building, and were able to influence commissioning decisions where they saw issues. This all enabled the team to ‘hit the ground running’, so the building could perform to a high standard from the moment it became operational.

Smart Building Approach

2 Redman Place is equipped with a sophisticated Building Management System (BMS), the core element to any concerted smart buildings approach. Empowered by the high grade BMS and their extensive training pre-completion, Savills were able to interrogate and optimise performance for efficiency and wellbeing from day one.

Early into operation, they also added software to the BMS that monitors air flow in the fan coil units (FCUs) and air handling units (AHUs) and identifies where there are flow issues. They quickly pinpointed and addressed low flow issues and now carry out reviews twice every month. Whilst in many other buildings similar issues would require full third party surveys to diagnose and could go unnoticed for months or even years, such issues at 2 Redman Place are now generally addressed within 48 hours and fully in-house. This is just one element of an in-depth, data-driven maintenance programme ensuring the smooth and efficient running of HVAC systems.

Meanwhile, 2 Redman Place also employs an active façade system involving automated blinds that operate within a triple glazed closed cavity façade system to effectively control solar gain and limit cooling load. A crucial element in the success of this system has been occupier engagement, as outlined in more detail in the Challenges and Achievements section below.

Data supports more than just energy efficiency. Air quality sensors installed in the reception area are monitoring humidity, air pressure and CO2, protecting and enhancing people’s comfort levels and wellbeing. This data is linked to the building portal, which occupiers can access via their devices and on screens in reception. Occupiers have responded positively to this initiative and are now exploring opportunities to introduce similar initiatives in their areas with property management. This smart building upgrade is a great accompaniment for the wellbeing features inherent in the design, including floor-to-ceiling glass for high levels of natural daylight, façades and ceilings optimised to minimise indoor ambient noise, and 1,250m2 of green roof space, contributing to a space that produces a high quality occupier experience.

All these regular and robust information flows enable the site team to make quick and well-informed decisions in the ongoing operation and maintenance of the building, and convert the high quality design into real performance.

Goal Setting

Establishing goals is also crucial to shape programming, engage stakeholders and close the performance gap. Key performance indicators that DWS and Savills are monitoring at 2 Redman Place include:

  • Carbon Reduction: DWS’s 50% carbon intensity reduction goal by 2030 for its European office portfolio, compared to a 2017 baseline, and its BBP Climate Change Commitment to deliver a net zero carbon portfolio by 2050, provide medium and long term goals for the portfolio and a bias for action for everyone involved. 2 Redman Place leads the way in this regard, and the team is exploring potential routes to achieve net zero status in the near term.
  • Waste management: DWS and Savills have installed a system that weighs all waste streams. Occupiers only pay for the waste they generate, rather than this being apportioned by floor area through the service charge. As part of the Soft Landings process, Cancer Research UK provided access to waste data from its previous head office, which informed the waste strategy. Waste management partner Grundon has provided training days for occupiers and their cleaning contractors. There have also been waste awareness days in reception. This has all contributed to the site team meeting their goal of a recycling rate of 75%, up from 45% initially, with 100% of waste diverted from landfill.
  • RISE: Savills is monitoring and managing these indicators through its RISE certification process, along with areas such as customer experience, occupier engagement and innovation. When 2 Redman Place has been operational for longer, an independent third party will audit and certify the building’s performance. DWS is also working with Lendlease and its property managers towards WELL certification, and towards ISO 14001 accreditation and BREEAM In-Use at 2 Redman Place.

Benefits

  • Progressing towards DWS’s net zero carbon commitment and showcasing its sustainability credentials.
  • Enhancing occupier appeal and supporting occupiers’ sustainability goals.
  • Contributing to the wellbeing and productivity of people working at 2 Redman Place.
  • Reducing environmental impacts, including cutting CO2 emissions and increasing recycling.
  • Piloting new initiatives, such as air quality monitoring and reporting in reception, and the waste weighing and recharging system, which DWS is now rolling out in additional buildings.

Martin Elmer, Director of Property at Cancer Research UK: “Cancer Research UK enjoy mutual collaboration with both the landlord DWS and Savills. This collaboration has assisted us since the early stages of our move to 2 Redman Place, and has aided us to shape how our space has been set up to ensure we deliver the best service to our colleagues. The performance of the building has been an essential element of this, how the building is maintained and extending to tech solutions and innovations, from air sensors to waste management strategies, and how we can continue to ensure we have an enviable building which operates sustainably at all times. We are very much looking forward to continuing this approach and partnering with both the landlord and Savills moving forward.”

Jessica Hardman, Head of UK & Ireland Real Estate Group: “2 Redman Place shows what’s possible when every stakeholder prioritises design for performance. This includes DWS as asset manager setting high ESG standards and bringing partners together, including occupiers who are forward-looking, developers with the technical expertise to create a building of this quality, managing agents delivering on the ground, and investors who value ESG. We are excited about seeing the results of this collaboration in the coming years, as we work towards a net zero carbon portfolio.”

Challenges & Achievements

ENGAGEMENT

How to engage with occupiers on sustainability?

Occupiers at 2 Redman Place value its sustainability credentials and actively engage with DWS and Savills to ensure the building delivers on its design potential. Lendlease and DWS held workshops for occupiers on the active façade system, which is one of the most visible aspects of the building’s efficiency features and a new technology. Together with Lendlease and the specialist subcontractor, DWS welcomed occupiers on walkarounds, explaining how the active façade system drives the efficiency performance of the building and how controls can be adjusted via control panels on the walls when needed. Property management also conducts ongoing, everyday engagement with occupiers on sustainability and wellbeing performance. This includes regular meetings with occupiers’ office managers, facilities teams, sustainability and best practice departments. They reach a wider occupier audience through the building portal, which provides news and information on a range of areas to people working in the building, including sustainability and wellbeing, along with helpdesk services and feedback tools. Occupiers can access the portal via their devices and iPads on reception, where visitors and occupiers post ideas and feedback.

HANDOVER

How to smooth the handover from construction to management?

In many new buildings, the first few months are the most challenging time. This is when the building team progresses through an important learning curve, discovering how equipment performs in practice and how the building responds to external temperatures and localised climate issues, such as floors that are hotter or colder, where the sun comes in. The whole team at 2 Redman Place commented that this process went notably more smoothly than on other projects, due to the early involvement of the facilities team and the collaborative Soft Landings process, with every stakeholder prioritising design for performance.

For more on 2 Redman Place: Lendlease Creates One of the UK’s Most Sustainable New HQs at IQL

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“Cancer Research UK enjoy mutual collaboration with both the Landlord DWS and Savills. This collaboration has assisted us since the early stages of our move to 2 Redman Place, and has aided us to shape how our space has been set up to ensure we deliver the best service to our colleagues.”

Martin Elmer, Director of Property at Cancer Research UK