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Low Carbon Workplace: Kew Road

Kew Road, a 33,000 square foot office in Richmond, has been refurbished by Low Carbon Workplace.

Introduction

Kew Road is a 33,000 square foot office in Richmond that has been refurbished by Low Carbon Workplace, a partnership between sustainability experts the Carbon Trust, asset manager Columbia Threadneedle and developer Stanhope. The office was originally built in the late 1980s and formerly served as the headquarters of PepsiCo Europe. The refurbishment improved the building’s Energy Performance Certificate rating from F to B and was awarded a BREEAM rating of Excellent.

Since its refurbishment, Kew Road has been occupied by notonthehighstreet.com, the UK’s largest curated online marketplace. notonthehighstreet.com has an ongoing commitment to reduce its carbon emissions and was therefore delighted to be able to occupy such an energy efficient, environmentally sustainable building. As a tenant of a Low Carbon Workplace building, notonthehighstreet.com receives ongoing support from the Carbon Trust, helping to minimise the building’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

With the continued practical support of the Carbon Trust, notonthehighstreet.com has been able to optimise its energy consumption without ever intruding on the day to day working environment. We remain very pleased to be in a Low Carbon Workplace building, which is ideally placed to help our business achieve its overall sustainability ambitions.

Michael Bentley, Facilities Manager, notonthehighstreet.com

The refurbishment

Low Carbon Workplace’s refurbishment transformed Kew Road into a modern, light, desirable office that promotes employee productivity and well-being. The refurbishment also incorporated a range of measures to substantially improve the building’s energy efficiency.

  • A curtain walling facade on the North and East faces has significantly improved the building’s insulation and airtightness.
  • New windows incorporating solar control glazing have reduced the amount of cooling needed in summer.
  • A variable refrigerant flow heating and cooling system allows excess heat to be redistributed within the building from warmer areas to cooler areas, rather than simply releasing it into the atmosphere.
  • Reversible heat pumps pre-heat water to approximately 40°C, which reduces the energy needed by the boiler to heat the water.
  • New bicycle storage, shower rooms and changing facilities enable staff to cycle or jog to work.

The refurbishment also introduced a network of meters and sensors that combine to optimise the building’s performance.

  • Presence and daylight detection sensors ensure that lighting only turns on when needed.
  • CO2 sensors ensure that the ventilation system is operating at an appropriate level.
  • Energy sub-meters and occupancy sensors gather data on how the building is consuming energy relative to how it is being occupied, and identify where improvements can be made.

Fit-out and handover

The Low Carbon Workplace philosophy is ‘better buildings, used better’, which means a building’s refurbishment is only half of the story. It doesn’t matter how well designed a building is or how theoretically energy efficient it is – if it is used badly then efficiency will suffer. Occupiers of Low Carbon Workplace buildings therefore receive ongoing support from the Carbon Trust to help them minimise their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Occupiers are also required to sign the Low Carbon Workplace Charter, which signals their commitment to work collaboratively with the Carbon Trust to minimise carbon emissions.

The Carbon Trust’s support to notonthehighstreet.com began with their office fit-out. A good fit-out is an essential part of creating an energy efficient building, because poorly thought-through fit-outs can conflict with a building’s base design, resulting in unnecessarily high energy consumption. By working closely with notonthehighstreet.com throughout the fit-out process, the Carbon Trust was able to help them create a highly distinctive interior that met their specific requirements without compromising the building’s energy efficiency performance.

notonthehighstreet.com’s move into Kew Road was also helped by their decision to retain the same mechanical contractors for the fit-out and ongoing maintenance that had carried out the main refurbishment. This continuity – in line with BSRIA’s ‘Soft Landings’ framework – helped to ensure a smooth handover to notonthehighstreet.com and minimise the performance gap between the building’s theoretical energy efficiency and its actual energy efficiency.

Ongoing support

A key element of the Carbon Trust’s ongoing support to notonthehighstreet.com is monthly reporting. This includes a summary of how the building consumes energy over a typical 24-hour period relative to its occupancy levels.

The report helped to highlight an opportunity for notonthehighstreet.com to optimise energy consumption during weekends. The nature of notonthehighstreet.com’s business means staff are in the office seven days a week, although typically for fewer hours at weekends than on weekdays. Initially, however, the weekend settings for the heating and ventilation systems were the same as for weekdays.

By making some relatively simple adjustments to the heating and ventilation systems to better reflect the shorter weekend hours, notonthehighstreet.com was able to reduce its energy consumption while still maintaining comfortable working conditions.

Download Low Carbon Workplace: Kew Road Case Study (PDF)

The Low Carbon Workplace currently comprises eight buildings. Further details can be found at www.carbontrust.com/lowcarbonworkplace

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