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Low Carbon Workplace

Delivering high quality, low carbon offices that are inspiring, comfortable, excellent value for money and leading edge in their energy usage.

Who we are

Low Carbon Workplace is a partnership between the Carbon Trust, fund manager Columbia Threadneedle Investments and property developer Stanhope. Through the Low Carbon Workplace Fund, the 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 carbon emissions. Energy and carbon performance is monitored and assessed against the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard, and occupiers that successfully meet the criteria are awarded with certification to the Standard.   

The Low Carbon Workplace concept was developed by the Carbon Trust in 2010 to break the ‘circle of inertia’ that has prevented many cost effective carbon reduction opportunities in non-domestic buildings from being realised. Low Carbon Workplace delivers refurbished low carbon buildings to occupiers who are both motivated and empowered to ensure potential energy and carbon savings are achieved. Occupiers reap the benefits of an efficient, comfortable and environmentally sensitive workplace, and investors and landlords profit from having attractive, ‘future-proofed’ buildings in their portfolios.

What we do

We acquire commercial office buildings and refurbish them into modern, energy efficient workplaces. We then provide ongoing support to occupiers, helping them to minimise their energy costs and carbon emissions.

Acquire, Refurbish, Let

Acquire

We acquire buildings with the potential to become modern, energy efficient workplaces. Specifically, this means they need to have the potential to:

  • Achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of B or better
  • Enable occupiers to achieve specific in-use performance requirements of the Low Carbon Workplace Standard, either in terms of emissions per person or emissions per square metre
  • Become a light, airy and pleasant working environment that will engender employee well-being and productivity

Refurbish

We minimise energy consumption and carbon emissions from Low Carbon Workplace buildings in three ways:

  • Passive measures: Low Carbon Workplace buildings use passive measures wherever possible to regulate temperatures and circulate air without consuming energy. We make the most of existing features such as thick walls and high ceilings. We also introduce new features such as high-performance insulation and glazing.
  • Active measures: We ensure that our buildings’ mechanical and electrical systems consume as little energy as possible. Where possible we use innovative solutions such as capillary cooling matting and chilled beams, which are highly efficient ways to regulate temperatures and circulate air.
  • Measuring and monitoring: We use energy sub-meters and occupancy sensors to monitor energy consumption and compare it with occupancy levels. This helps to identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and optimise performance.

Let

All occupiers of Low Carbon Workplace buildings must sign the Low Carbon Workplace Charter. This signals their commitment to work collaboratively with the Carbon Trust to minimise their carbon emissions. Occupiers receive ongoing support from the Carbon Trust, including:

  • Fit-out advice to ensure their plans complement the building’s low carbon design
  • Move-in support to ensure the building has been properly commissioned and systems are operating as intended
  • Ongoing support including monthly reporting and staff briefings

Energy and carbon performance is monitored and assessed against the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard. Occupiers that successfully meet the criteria are awarded with certification to the Standard.

Our impact

The Low Carbon Workplace Fund delivers strong environmental and financial returns, benefitting investors and occupiers alike.  Our buildings are highly energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. We know this for a fact because as well as achieving leading EPC and BREEAM ratings, they also comfortably outperform industry benchmarks for operational efficiency:

  • Average EPC improvement from E to B
  • BREEAM Excellent status awarded to all buildings
  • 68% more energy efficient than CIBSE’s ECON19 office benchmark
  • 40% more energy efficient than BBP’s Real Estate Environmental Benchmark

See further details on our energy efficiency performance (PDF).

The Fund targets a profit on cost from developments of 15%; and to outperform the IPD Quarterly Index Total Return for the Office Sector by 1%. To date it has comfortably outperformed both targets, making it an attractive option for institutional investors. Further details for potential investors can be found on the Columbia Threadneedle website.

Our portfolio

To date the Low Carbon Workplace Fund has raised over £175m and the portfolio currently comprises eight buildings.

Carter Lane

  • EC4
  • 29,000 sqft
  • Acquired in Dec 2014
  • Currently under development

Grove House

  • Hammersmith
  • 63,000 sqft
  • Completed in Jun 2013
  • Upgraded from EPC E to B

Kew Road

  • Richmond
  • 33,000 sqft
  • Completed in August 2014
  • Upgraded from EPC F to B

Mansel Court

  • Wimbledon
  • 22,000 sqft
  • Completed in Dec 2013
  • Upgraded from EPC C to B

Mount Pleasant

  • Clerkenwell
  • 36,000 sqft
  • Acquired in Jun 2013
  • Currently under development

Paul Street

  • Shoreditch
  • 29,000 sqft
  • Acquired in Jul 2014
  • Currently under development

Premier House

  • Twickenham
  • 41,000 sqft
  • Completed in Aug 2012
  • Upgraded from EPC E to B

Summit House

  • EC2
  • 57,000 sqft
  • Acquired in Mar 2014
  • Currently under development

Low Carbon Workplace Standard


Low Carbon Workplace building occupiers’ energy and carbon performance is monitored and assessed against the Carbon Trust’s Low Carbon Workplace Standard. Occupiers that successfully meet the criteria are awarded with certification to the Standard. 

 

The Low Carbon Workplace Standard assesses three things:

  • Quantitative performance: Workplace carbon emissions are quantified per unit of floor area and per person. Occupiers must either meet best practice emissions benchmarks or demonstrate year-on-year improvements.
  • Qualitative criteria: Occupiers are assessed against a set of broad sustainability performance indicators, together with occupant satisfaction. This assessment provides a holistic picture of the workplace’s overall environmental performance.
  • Carbon management: Occupiers are required to have implemented a carbon management system that embeds energy efficiency and carbon management in the day-to-day activities of the workplace.

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© 2016 Carbon Trust
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