Meet the Sustainability Leader: Sustainable Building of the Year – UBS

With the entry deadline for edie's revamped 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards extended until 21 September, this feature series will showcase the achievements of the 2018 winners, revealing their secrets to success. Up next: our 2018 Sustainability Building of the Year winners: UBS.

UBS has already surpassed a 10% reduction target for energy consumption, achieving a 17% reduction in 2016. The company would be forgiven for slowing down on this front, but energy consumption represents two-thirds of the company’s global emissions and a six-year programme of unprecedented risk, scale and complexity has seen UBS deliver massive energy savings at its new London headquarters.

In 2010, UBS embarked on a project to create a world-class office facility that consolidates workspace in a much more energy-efficient building at 5 Broadgate (5BG) in London. By the end of 2016, all 6,500 staff members had been transferred to the new headquarters, enabling UBS to decommission six legacy buildings.

The project has boosted productivity and job satisfaction, but the new headquarters is also a real driver for the company’s new sustainability targets for 2020. By decommissioning the six legacy buildings and creating one flagship facility, UBS has reduced the energy profile of the combined legacy estate by more than 50% compared to the business as usual average.

The Integrated Facilities Management team (IFM) at UBS oversaw the project and was immediately faced with the task of aligning the new build to frameworks listed by the Building Services Research & Information Association (BSRIA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Rather than merely comply with these frameworks, UBS decided to build on them by embedding the IFM team throughout the programme’s lifecycle. The team concentrated on delivering a significant reduction in energy, while also aiming to boost user and staff experience and reduce the cost of facilities services.

The building itself attained BREEAM Excellent for the base build and LEED Platinum for the eventual fit-out. In total, the building was designed to be 50% more efficient than building regulations require.

The building is designed to reduce solar gain, which lowers the need for, and costs of, air conditioning. An 850m2 solar photovoltaic array is capable of generating 102,845 kWh of renewable electricity per year. Any wasted heat is also redistributed for underfloor heating and to pre-heat onsite boilers.

Rainwater harvesting systems have also been installed, and a green roof and terraces are located on the building’s exterior to provide improved biodiversity. Energy-efficient LEDs and passive infrared lighting were also installed to reduce the energy consumption of the entire lighting system.

Indoor air quality had been improved through the use of low-emitting flooring, adhesives and paint. 100% of the construction timber was reclaimed, reused or responsibly sourced. All furniture also comes from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.

There are centralised recycling stations installed as part of the project, and there are no bins in the office. These features, combined with improved waste segregation and employee engagement initiatives have created a monthly recycling rate of 90%. Overall waste has been reduced by 21% as well.

UBS is encouraging staff to take public or low-polluting transport to work. There are 520 bicycle spaces and 16 carparks located near the site. Of the 16 spaces, four are for users of electric vehicles.

Overall energy reductions of 21% have been achieved across the London campus, while working with key suppliers has lowered operating costs and delivered guaranteed savings of 2%. These savings equate to £90m over the lifecycle of 5BG.

The 5BG project was delivered on time, to plan and to budget. In fact, UBS delivered £9m in savings in value engineering and by embedding the operational requirements within the same budget.

The 6,500-strong workforce was transferred during an 18-month timeframe. Since the project was completed, UBS had increased the desk to employee ration from 1:1 to 1:1.2, representing a significant increase in flexibility of workspace and reduction in space per head. The footprint of the campus is approximately 22% less as a result.

UBS also set a productivity target, to ensure that all staff members could settle into a working rhythm within 15 minutes of entering the building on the first day. This programme was accomplished without a single exception.

Employee satisfaction in the workplace increased from 64% at the old sites, to 86% in the new building. Since project completion, UBS has agreed to share its learnings with other FTSE100 organisations, through Deloitte and Ernst & Young, so that insights from the IFM team and operating model can be shared.

What the judges said: “With really clear evidence demonstrating real leadership form the client, this a great example of how working with the project team, supply chain and building occupants  throughout the project can drive impressive results.”

edie’s 2019 Sustainability Leaders Award

Now in their 12th year, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards have undergone a major revamp, with a host of new categories and judges, a new Awards venue, and a new Mission Possible theme – making 6 February 2019 the biggest night of the sustainable business calendar.

The entry deadline for the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards is Friday, 21 September 2018. The Awards will then take place on the night of 6 February 2019 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


Matt Mace

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