160-year-old printing press refurbished as low-carbon offices
The Low Carbon Workplace Trust (LCWT) has launched its first low carbon refurbished building in Guildford, Surrey.
According to the Carbon Trust, which works in partnership with LCWT, fund manager Threadneedle Investments and real estate developer Stanhope, the project at the 160-year-old former printing press, known as the Billings, will make the building eligible for certification to the Low Carbon Workplace Standard, a new environmental benchmark specifically designed for businesses.
Investment for the project was provided by Threadneedle taking LCWT's total investment to £100m.
Carbon Trust chief executive Tom Delay said the completed project marks a "first for the UK property market", adding that the new Low Carbon Workplace model will provide businesses with lower energy costs.
He also said the scheme will "drive a huge market for low carbon commercial office space" and will be a "key green growth area".
As part of the scheme, the new occupier of the building Investec Wealth and Investment will be offered energy efficiency advice from the trust to help it achieve up to 60% operational carbon reduction over a Carbon Trust standard of 6Mt of certified reductions.
LWCT said that the building was chosen for the refit thanks to the thermal properties of its high-ceilinged rooms and thick walls.
LCWT managing director Katharine Deas, said: "Low carbon buildings need low carbon occupiers to be able to perform to their design intent in energy efficiency terms.
"Landlords are often criticised for a 'let and forget' mentality, not helping their occupiers reduce their energy costs once they are in the building. We will play an active role in helping our occupiers monitor and reduce their energy usage, cutting their costs and carbon footprint. "
As part of the refurbishment work, low-carbon initiatives such as 'active chilled beams', which use less energy than traditional forms of air conditioning for the same amount of heating and cooling, presence detection and high efficiency fittings to reduce energy from lighting and fittings have been incorporated.
Three other refurbishments are currently being carried out by Stanhope, which said it aims to establish an "industry norm for low carbon refurbishment and operation".