UK Green Building Council’s HQ claims to set new environmental standards in office refurbishment

uk-gbc-hqBy achieving the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for an office refurbishment in the UK, the new headquarters in Central London for the UK Green Building Council is designed to inspire and encourage employers, landlords and occupiers alike to set the bar high when upgrading their office spaces, according to the organisation. It claims that the project is an exemplar for sustainable office refurbishment and features a range of wellbeing measures. UK-GBC says it hopes that this landmark project will also demonstrate that even a 160m² floorspace can deliver commercial, social and environmental value if each decision is challenged and scrutinised. Wellbeing measures have been incorporated into the design in order to improve staff satisfaction, productivity and overall health and wellness. These measures include: a living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750 percent increase in background fresh air; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimisepollutants from the air.

The design and delivery team led by Barr Gazetas, worked in collaboration with a carbon profiling specialist to ensure that opportunities to reuse, recycle and responsibly source were maximised.

Key stats:

  • 139 kgCO2/m² – Embodied carbon footprint 22% below a comparable “standard” fit-out and the lowest ever recorded in the UK (SCP database, WRAP database)*
  • 48% decrease in carbon emissions from lighting
  • 4% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • 98% of original fixtures and finishes reused or repurposed

The space is designed to accommodate a variety of working styles and agile working choices, including an open plan working area based on hot-desking; a sound-proof ‘telephone booth’ for private calls; a height-adjustable standing meeting table and several softer break-out spaces for informal discussions and social interaction.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of UK-GBC said: “UK-GBC’s purpose is to accelerate the transformation of places so that people and planet can thrive. In refurbishing our own office space, we had a fantastic opportunity to trial and showcase the very best solutions sourced from our membership. I’m delighted at the outstanding results we have achieved – both to minimise our environmental footprint and to improve the wellbeing and productivity of our staff.”

uk-gbc-office-refurbThe office will be subject to a post-occupancy evaluation to assess its operational performance against performance factors such as energy efficiency and air quality. Staff satisfaction will be evaluated through ongoing surveys, the results of which will be compared against data collected prior to the refurb. UK-GBC will also be producing content designed to help built environment professionals learn from the project, with a focus on how the design team’s innovative and collaborative ways of working meant that the project was able to achieve its ambitious goals.

For more information on the development of the office refurbishment project click here.

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