Office buildings achieve UK-first carbon status


Five buildings owned by Peel L&P across Greater Manchester have become the first in the UK to achieve ‘net zero carbon’ status, with one property expecting annual energy savings of 60 per cent.

The office buildings, mainly based at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, are part of a suite of 11 properties owned by Peel L&P to be independently verified to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)’s Net Zero Carbon definition.

The certification is based on operational carbon emissions, measures taken to reduce those emissions and use of renewable energy. Any remaining emissions will be offset through a tree-planting project in the North West.

Reducing the energy demand of its buildings was “most important action”, Peel L&P said in a statement. Over the last five years the company has delivered annual improvements in energy efficiency of 3 per cent in its major assets, thanks in part to the work of its appointed ‘Energy Champions’ and its ISO 50001 energy management system.

Example refurbishment

One of the buildings to achieve net zero status is The Vic in MediaCityUK (pictured), which underwent a major refurbishment in 2019. Over £1.1 million was invested in energy saving equipment, including:

•  Low temperature hot water pumps with inverters and bespoke ‘insulation jackets’

•  A combined heat and power (CHP) system

•  A 1MW modular condensing boiler, which will reduce annual gas use for heating by 16 per cent

•  Replacing 450 old fluorescent and sodium-vapour (SON) lamps with LEDs

•  17 high-efficiency motors and variable speed drives (VSDs) on low temperature hot water and chiller water distribution systems

•  4 heat recovery devices with the potential to recover half of the building’s heat from extracted air

•  Replacing the old building management system (BMS) with a modern, web-based platform capable of being controlled from hand-held smart devices.

As a result of these investment, The Vic is anticipating annual energy and carbon savings of 60 per cent.

‘The North can lead the way’

According to UKGBC, the office property sector needs to reduce its energy demand by an average of 60 per cent by 2050 to help the UK achieve its net zero carbon target.

John Alker, director of policy and places at UKGBC, said: “Awareness of the climate emergency is at an all-time high, but we now need to embark on a decade of urgent action. The property sector has a huge role to play, so it is fantastic to see this type of leadership from Peel. This also supports the green ambitions of some of our great cities, showing that the north can lead the way in the transition to net zero.”


Posted under General Interest, Carbon Reduction, Energy Efficiency and Construction on 22 January 2020