Performance in detail - Sustainable design


Where Part L is applicable, the building code for carbon emissions, we are designing to meet or exceed the requirements. For developments already in construction, 98.3% of waste is being diverted from landfill and we are tracking our carbon emissions.

In terms of meeting BREEAM targets, all of our current offices schemes are expected to achieve a minimum Excellent rating and our retail schemes to achieve a minimum of Very Good. We are also looking for opportunities to achieve Outstanding, including at our new head office at 80-100 Victoria Street, SW1, where Design Stage BREEAM has been awarded at 92% Outstanding under BREEAM Fit Out 2014.

BREEAM table 2016


We are working to ensure that the reduction of embodied carbon is embedded in our design development process across the company. We carry out embodied carbon assessments to inform the selection and procurement of building materials to reduce environmental impacts, focusing on products and materials that save costs and carbon. On projects such Westgate Oxford and our retail scheme at Selly Oak the embodied carbon consultant is an integral member of the design team, working between architectural, structural and services disciplines to ensure all decisions take account of carbon.

At Selly Oak carbon reduction options have been outlined including timber windows and dematerialisation of the cladding design. The combination of these factors should help us to achieve our 15% embodied carbon reduction target for the project, which completes in 2017. At New Street Square, EC4, we carried out an embodied carbon assessment at the early design stage and this has enabled us to make design decisions that saved some 200 tonnes of carbon and reduced material costs in construction by more than £600,000 against original cost estimates.

The embodied carbon consultant’s role develops further after we’ve appointed the main contractor. At this stage of the project there are considerable savings to be made as decisions about which factory or supplier to source from can affect embodied carbon savings. For example, 11,500 tCO2e have been saved to date at Westgate in a joint effort to maximise recycled content and minimise embodied carbon. The role can also extend into fit out, including furniture, fixtures and equipment. At present we are undertaking a lifecycle assessment on our new head office project to explore this. This includes analysis of surface finishes, mechanical and electrical equipment and also loose furniture.


In 2016 we completed a number of schemes that feature substantial improvements to biodiversity management, including green roofs and landscaping at 1 & 2 New Ludgate.

The 1 New Ludgate building has extensive external planting with new terraces to the 9th floor offices. This features bands of perennial plants mixed with ornamental grasses in loose, natural arrangements, and new landscaping to the public realm including six semi-mature trees. 2 New Ludgate will have 575sqm of green Sedum roof that will encourage insect and birdlife in the centre of London. Green roofs are recognised as contributing to reduced heat-island effect and they moderate rainwater run-off. The green roofs and terraces have increased the ecological value of the development by six species when measured under the BREEAM methodology.

The Westgate Oxford development will improve on-site ecology and biodiversity, with the previous Westgate site having offered little green infrastructure or soft landscaping. The extensive landscape design will include planting of native species to promote native and natural ecosystems and biodiversity. A vertical garden of climbing plants will be created at Middle Square to provide green habitat for birds and insects. Bird boxes will be sited within retained trees along Castle Mill Stream, with additional sheltering opportunities created for invertebrates, ensuring foraging places are provided for birds and insects.

We now have 12,900 sq ft of green walls totalling over 85,000 plants in central London, including one of the UK’s largest green walls at 20 Fenchurch Street. These flexible, hydroponic wall systems can be installed in areas with limited space, improving air quality and enhancing urban biodiversity across the city. Some examples of green infrastructure and spaces within our portfolio:

• St David’s Cardiff – a green roof with flora planted to attract and support fauna such as birds and bees
• Bluewater – more than 50 acres of parkland and lakes, with over 1 million trees and shrubs, orchards, lakes and 27 nationally rare and protected species
• New Street Square, EC4 – 2,600 sq ft green wall with 18,000 plants including fern and lavender, which is beloved of bees, hoverflies and people. The wall helps to create an arena for events that add to the area’s sense of vitality and community.
• 62 Buckingham Gate, SW1 – 2,700 sq ft green wall with some 15,000 plants that improves the experience for pedestrians and livens up the façade, helping to create an inspiring work environment and imaginative public realm.
• 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3 – along with one of the UK’s largest green walls, a stunning Sky Garden where colour and flowers flourish all year round. Amongst the flowering plants in the Sky Garden are African Lily (Agapanthus), Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia) and Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) interspersed with fragrant herbs including French Lavender and Rosemary.


The Zig Zag Building

This office scheme on Victoria Street, SW1, provides 187,000 sq ft of high-end commercial office space on an island site. It’s a key part of our transformation of the area. It also encapsulates how designing and managing for wellbeing makes good sense. From private terraces and exceptional light to cycle facilities, changing rooms and a quality of fresh air equivalent to that of a coastal town, it’s a great place to spend your working hours. Customers recognised that the building could help them to attract and keep great talent, which is one of the key reasons why we completed lettings at the asset, well ahead of expectation.

The Zig Zag scheme has also vastly improved public realm, with new space, shops, restaurants and cafés. Ten years ago it would have been almost unthinkable that people might choose to sit out on Victoria Street drinking a coffee or enjoying a glass of wine. Good design has entirely changed the way people feel about and use the location.

Creating better places

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) campaign ‘Better Places for People’ aims to inspire and help companies to consider the wider effect of their property decisions. In particular, it looks at how space can affect the health, wellbeing and productivity of those who work in, use and visit retail and office spaces. We are sponsoring the campaign and see this as an important initiative to better understand how buildings impact upon health and wellbeing.

As part of this campaign, we co-sponsored in 2015 a new report by the WorldGBC – ‘Health, Wellbeing & Productivity In Retail: The Impact Of Green Buildings On People And Profit’. This aims to help retailers make the connections between environmental and economic performance through a more considered approach that draws together both human and environmental factors. It provides an invaluable framework to help companies develop and manage retail space in a way that works better for everyone.

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