The world of banking is infinitely more complex now than it was 20 years ago. While a bank’s core responsibility is still to maximise return for shareholders, many banks are increasingly aware of their corporate responsibilities and how their business impacts the environment and communities. So, when Barclays was faced moving thousands of employees to its new headquarters at 1 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, the bank realised it had to factor in a range of considerations.

The new building’s positive impact on the environment and the local community was considered an essential part of the success of the project. The business drivers for moving to a new headquarters included:

  • creating a more flexible and effective working environment;
  • improving efficiency; and
  • achieving environmental performance improvements.

  • Environmental benefits

    The environmental benefits of 1 Churchill Place include:

  • reductions in energy use and CO2 emissions;
  • increased waste recycling;
  • reduced vehicle use; and
  • enhanced biodiversity.
  • The site is built on reclaimed land, ensuring no loss of greenfield sites in the area. All the timber is from sustainable resources, with a ban on tropical hardwoods. By moving people from the existing 12 buildings into one new building, energy efficiency has been increased. A number of other energy-efficient features have also been used, including a heat recovery system which uses waste heat to warm the fresh air used to ventilate the offices.

    Other features include a lighting system with daylight and presence detectors and energy-efficient IT equipment. The building is wrapped around five atria to maximise the penetration of daylight. The aim is to cut energy use and CO2 emissions by 15%/square foot in the first year.

    The riverside location has been exploited to transport excavated material and deliver construction materials where possible. By consolidating staff into one building, transport emissions will be reduced due to fewer journeys between Barclays’ sites. A centralised stationery plan will reduce the number of deliveries and reduce paper waste.

    A waste management programme has been in operation during construction, with sorting and recycling taking place onsite and the remainder of waste being taken for recycling by Bywaters. Employees will not have bins under their desks, instead they will use central hubs to stream separate recyclable wastes. The building also has a water bottling plant, which means glass bottles can be reused.

    All discarded furniture from the existing buildings will be collected by waste contractor Green Works, and either reused or recycled. A green roof will be added to the building this year, helping to enhance local biodiversity. An intranet will advise the building occupants how best to contribute to improving environmental performance.

    Accolades for the project

    As a result of these environmental measures, the building has won a number of awards including an Excellent BREEAM for Offices 2002 rating, and Barclays was named National Green Champion for Environmental Best Practice at the 2004 Green Apple Awards. The value of the building’s strong environmental credentials will be felt for many years to come by employees, site visitors and local communities. Even the birds that land on the building’s roof to peck the unusually elevated flora, cultivated specifically for that purpose, will benefit from the building’s green credentials.

    1 Churchill Place is a rare environmental achievement and a testament what can be achieved when environmental considerations are put at the heart of a major project.

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