UK-GBC Office Refurb project 2016

The UK Green Building Council has refurbished its London headquarters this year, with a design team drawn from its membership and the aim of challenging industry thinking as to what is achievable in a small scale fit out.

The project has achieved the lowest embodied carbon footprint ever recorded for an office refurbishment in the UK. It is an exemplar for sustainable office refurbishment and also features a range of innovative wellbeing measures, delivering a space that is both better for people, and better for the environment. 

UK-GBC hopes that this landmark project will inspire and encourage employers, landlords and occupiers alike to set the bar high when upgrading their office spaces. It demonstrates that even a 160m² floorspace can deliver phenomenal commercial, social and environmental value if each decision is challenged and scrutinised. 

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
  • 99.4% of construction waste diverted from landfill
  • 98% of original fixtures and finishes reused or repurposed

Wellbeing measures have been incorporated into the design in order to improve staff satisfaction, productivity and overall health and wellness. These measures include: a beautiful living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750% increase in background fresh air provision; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimise (and in some cases actively remove) pollutants from the air.

Read the latest press release

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Here's how the project unfolded

In January 2016, UK-GBC put a call out to members who wanted to be involved in the refurbishment of our central London head-office. The UK-GBC team and WorldGBC colleagues had reached capacity and wanted to use the opportunity to increase space as well as the health and wellbeing aspects of the space.

Although this is a very small project, UK-GBC were keen to use and promote the expertise of its members. Members responded extrememly positively and in March, Barr Gazetas were selected as the design-lead for the project.

In June it was announced that Sweett Group, Cundall and Sturgis Carbon Profiling would join architectural practice Barr Gazetas in working closely with the client and leaseholder, The Building Centre, on refurbishing the 162.4m2 space. 

In mid August, Morgan Lovell were appointed as contractor for the project, joining the design team. Generous support and involvement from product suppliers drawn from UK-GBC’s membership is also helping meet the goals of this unconventional project. 

The brief and targets

The brief aimed to balance the health, wellbeing and productivity of the twenty-five regular office users with outstanding resource and energy efficiency and a low carbon approach.  

Targets included:  

  • The carbon cost (£/m2) meeting or exceeding the standard achieved by other comparable fit-out projects, with an aspiration to achieve the lowest measured fit-out carbon footprint in UK
  • 98% of the current fit out to be reused, repurposed or recycled, and a strong emphasis on new materials that are locally sourced with high recycled content and recyclability, each with an ‘end of life’ plan 
  • Air quality maximised in line with the relevant WELL Standard requirements, including the minimisation of VOCs from materials used, and the provision of ample fresh air 
  • Reducing energy used per employee for lighting and small power by 40% by 2020 compared to a 2013 baseline, with the overall performance (including HVAC) should equal or better the REEB best practice benchmark
  • At least a 10% improvement in staff satisfaction with the office environment.  

Project Team

Design Team:

  • Barr Gazetas
  • Cundall
  • Currie & Brown
  • Sturgis Carbon Profiling

Contractors:

  • Morgan Lovell

Key Suppliers:

  • 8point3
  • Adaptavate
  • ANS Global
  • Autex
  • Desso
  • Dulux Trade
  • Forbo
  • Function
  • Mitsubishi
  • Philips
  • Plant Designs
  • Rype Office
  • Spiralite
  • Steelcase
  • Vent Axia

Thanks to:

  • Tass
  • Honeywell
  • Winkworth Sherwood
  • MLM
  • Mobile Compactor Services Ltd

 

The fit out was completed by October 2016. Updates will be posted here on the website and also on social media using #UKGBCRefurb16

If you have any questions, please contact Elinor Huggett

With thanks to members