UK-GBC office upgrade is an exemplar for sustainable refurbishment Share this article

The UK Green Building Council has refurbished its London headquarters, with a design team drawn from its membership to challenge industry thinking as to what is achievable in a small scale fit-out.  

Cundall, Sweett Group and Sturgis Carbon Profiling joined architectural practice Barr Gazetas to work closely with the client and leaseholder, The Building Centre, on refurbishing the 162.4m2 space. The organisations responded to a demanding brief for a workplace that enhances the health and productivity of the co-located UK-GBC and World GBC teams, and delivers excellent environmental performance.

Julie Hirigoyen, CEO of the UK Green Building Council, said: “We’ve set some stretching targets for our small office upgrade, in keeping with the ambitious nature of our mission - to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment. We’ve selected a design team who have not only demonstrated the solutions-oriented expertise needed for this unusual project, but who are enthused by working collaboratively.

“One of the requirements of the brief was a commitment to sharing the challenges and insights from this project with our members and the wider industry. Of course, UK-GBC is in a unique position to benefit from the good practice and generosity of its own members, which has so far proven outstanding. So whilst we recognise the project may not be replicable in its entirety, we hope the integrated design approach will inform other organisations however small to aim high on the sustainability of their fit-out.”

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

Targets include:

  • 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.

Cundall provided the lead designers, Barr Gazetas, with advice on sustainability, health and wellbeing and MEP services for the new fit-out. Where possible, we reused and enhanced the existing systems, whilst improving the environmental and energy performance of the space.

Simon Wyatt, Associate Director commented, “We are excited to be working with such a committed client, with the opportunity of creating a truly unique space for the UK-GBC staff to flourish. We are able to apply the lessons learned from our own recent fit-out at One Carter Lane, which has been designed to the WELL Building Standard™ and is likely to be the first project in Europe to be certified, whilst simultaneously achieving SKA Gold and BREEAM Excellent ratings."

04 Jul 2016

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