Standing the Test of Time

By Matthew Webster
Head of Wellbeing and Futureproofing at British Land

08 Feb 2017

Last night, together with colleagues from British Land and Broadgate Estates, I had the pleasure of picking up the CIBSE Test of Time Award for energy reductions. A massive thank you to all the property teams who are the real stars behind this achievement!

Since launching our efficiency programme in 2009, we’ve delivered training, rolled out smart energy management systems, set challenging targets and piloted a range of innovations. But it’s the Broadgate Estates teams that manage our buildings who’ve made the biggest difference, realising culture change so every property manager and engineer prioritises both efficiency and wellbeing in everything they do.

Together, we’ve cut landlord energy intensity by 38% versus 2009, delivered gross energy savings of £13m to occupiers over the last four years and cut carbon intensity by 40% (index scored). Not only has this reduced occupier costs and emissions, it’s positioned our portfolio well for climate change regulations, like the upcoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards. More here on British Land and MEES.

Importantly, efficiency improvements have run in parallel to increasing focus on the wellbeing of the people who work, shop and live in our buildings. Lighting levels, air quality and temperatures can all impact on health and happiness, as well as on efficiency and emissions. Our Head Office, York House, has served as a test bed for both efficiency and wellbeing innovations before we roll them out. More here.

We’ve cut landlord energy at York House by 55% since 2009 and tested wellbeing innovations. 

Our 2020 target is now to cut landlord energy and carbon intensity by 55% across our entire portfolio versus 2009 (index scored). We’re also working with leading thinkers to develop a target linked to our impacts, as landlord, on wellbeing and productivity in occupiers’ space.

For those interested in achieving energy reductions that stand the test of time, below are some tips.

Active management

Substantial savings can often be achieved through free and low-cost interventions like:

  • Ensuring equipment and lighting are always off outside working hours
  • Eliminating heating and cooling conflicts
  • Increasing intake of external air, e.g. night air for cooling on hot days
  • Optimising temperature ranges
  • Setting lighting to automatically adjust with changing sunlight hours
  • Installing efficient LEDs and motion (PIR) and daylight sensors.

This all sounds simple but, in many buildings we take on, we find that this kind of active management isn’t the norm. For instance, we find heating and cooling both set to the same ‘ideal’ temperature, so they end up competing to achieve this ideal; whereas, with a tolerance of a couple of degrees, they won’t come on simultaneously. Or run times might have been agreed with occupiers in leases and never reviewed, so heating, cooling and lighting are operating when no one is in the building, wasting occupiers’ money and pumping out emissions.

Smart metering and dynamic monitoring are key to active management. Our property teams have access to energy data for 15-30 minute slots and for different plant and areas, so they can easily see if plant is running when it shouldn’t be and take action. For offices, off-site specialists also monitor data, identifying efficiency opportunities for property teams. For retail, automatic alerts and reports flag to local teams when energy use exceeds agreed thresholds.

The Exchange House team has cut landlord energy by 55% since 2009, saving occupiers £1.9m.

Investment in efficient technologies

Through our smart energy management system, we’ve been able to accurately forecast savings opportunities from new technologies. Occupiers often agree to fund these initiatives through the service charge, recouping substantial savings over time. 

Investment examples include:

  • Air source heating and cooling at 350 Euston Road, Regent’s Place, has cut gas use by 85% and is saving occupiers £60,000 annually. More here
  • One of the largest PV installations at a UK shopping centre at St Stephen’s, Hull, fulfilling 1/3 of electricity demand in common areas and cutting annual electricity bills by £30,000. More here
  • Lighting replacement at Meadowhall, Sheffield, one of the first UK shopping centres to go 100% LED in all landlord areas, cutting energy use and providing a better lit environment. More here

Looking forward

It’s going to be a tough job to deliver on our 2020 target – which is the most challenging I’ve seen in the industry – but I’m confident that, together, we can do it. 

Find out more about some of the potential opportunities we’ve identified through Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme audits here.

    The Meadowhall team has cut landlord energy by 47% since 2009, saving occupiers £3.1m.

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