What makes a sustainability leader? Meet energy management champions British Land

With edie's 2022 Sustainability Leaders Awards ceremony on the horizon, this series showcases the achievements of previous winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: Winner of our Energy Management Project of the Year 2021, British Land.


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What makes a sustainability leader? Meet energy management champions British Land

Ready to follow in British Land's footsteps? Join us at the 2022 Awards ceremony on 30 March in London

In 2020, British Land achieved an industry-leading 55% reduction in landlord energy intensity across its entire portfolio and a 73% reduction in portfolio-wide landlord carbon intensity against a 2009 baseline – marking the culmination of its highly effective energy efficiency programme across one of the UK’s largest commercial property portfolios.

In 2019-20 alone, the energy reduction programme generated £3.7m of gross savings for British Land and its occupiers (£2.8m net), with £18m of gross savings since 2012 (£8m net). British Land is building on this success, working to transform its entire portfolio to net-zero carbon by 2030.

British Land’s 23-strong technical services team, 20 retail operations managers and four departmental managers are responsible for building performance across over 22 million square feet of real estate. This includes around 50 acres of workspace in central London and 40 retail destinations around the UK.

British Land achieved its impressive 2019/20 performance through proactive day-to-day management and by identifying and implementing projects to bring about step-change, building on successful pilots. It has driven progress, working collaboratively with hundreds of occupiers, service partners and consultants.

In 2019-20, British Land led £880,000 of investment to deliver more than 20 energy efficiency projects, forecast to result in additional annual energy savings of 2,250,000kWh. It has overseen £10m of investment in energy efficiency since 2012. British Land’s building teams scrutinise 15-minute and half-hourly energy data daily to identify efficiency opportunities, made possible by the early rollout of smart metering and monitoring systems across the portfolio, with building dashboards for early identification of issues.

Many improvements implemented in 2019/20 continued to be free or low-cost, such as ensuring plant and lighting are always off outside working hours; eliminating heating and cooling conflicts; increasing the intake of external air (for example, night air for cooling on hot days); optimising temperature ranges; installing efficient LED lights and PIR and daylight sensors, and setting lighting to automatically adjust with changing sunlight hours.

In addition to culture change, the business has introduced technological innovations across its portfolio. For example, 2020 marked a tipping point for demand-driven controls becoming standard practice for British Land.

In today’s changing world, buildings need to be intelligent and adaptable, responding to how people are working, shopping and living. Combined CO2, temperature and humidity sensors in each tenancy on all floors in several of British Land’s office buildings now feed data into the building control system. This means fresh air is supplied based on the number of people in the building, rather than on a standardised ratio of workers per square foot. Additionally, HVAC systems are initiated based on actual demand, as opposed to whole building design assumptions.

In addition, using its workplace spine, weather data and occupancy data, British Land supplies chilled water when and where it is needed, rather than being constantly pumped around the building. This all contributes to well-controlled, comfortable and energy-efficient buildings.

A full LED solution was introduced at three retail centres in 2020, with proposals underway for additional centres. The system incorporates the latest LED lamp technology, fully configurable controls and detailed measurement, including advanced maintenance warnings (for example, burn hours, day burning and system health). It also accurately measures daylight hours, automatically adjusting lighting to save energy.

Additionally, the UK’s largest shopping centre solar array was retrofitted at Meadowhall in Sheffield, made up of 3,418 solar panels. This was switched on in 2019, following successful installations at St Stephen’s in Hull and Serpentine Green in Peterborough.

British Land has exciting innovations in the pipeline, including the rollout of air-source heat technology at five sites, on track to complete by the end of 2022, following results at 350 Euston Road, where the company was one of the first organisations in the UK to retrofit air-source heat pump technology on a commercial office building. This reduced gas use by 80%.

The business will also be introducing additional products such as more heat recovery chillers, extra on-site renewables, expansion of condition/reliability-based maintenance, battery storage and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).

British Land sets ambitious corporate energy efficiency goals and provides support to building teams, including independent energy audits. Building teams manage lifecycle costing schedules and planned preventative maintenance, preparing business cases, developing project plans and holding regular discussions with occupiers to gain their buy-in and deliver services efficiently in line with their needs.

This approach is generating impressive financial savings. Through to 2019, British land identified initiatives representing £6.4m of investment which would save £3.7m annually. Through its audits in 2020, it identified further opportunities representing £1.4m of investment which would save £1.2m annually and payback in 13 months.

In June 2020, the business launched an ambitious new goal to transform its entire portfolio to net-zero carbon by 2030, targeting a further 25% improvement in energy efficiency, funded via an innovative transition vehicle.

What edie’s judges said: “This entry serves as an excellent example of how to engage all employees to deliver significant energy savings. British Land made considerable investments that delivered rapid returns. All in all, this entry represents a shining example of sustainability commitment, engagement and achievement.”


Join the celebrations at edie’s 2022 Sustainability Leaders Awards ceremony!

Now in its 15th year, the world’s largest sustainable business awards scheme champions bold and brilliant climate leadership. From the best net-zero carbon programmes through to cutting-edge product innovations – winning an edie Sustainability Leaders Award empowers teams, inspires stakeholders and accelerates sustainable business growth.

edie will be announcing the winners of the 2022 Sustainability Leaders Awards at a live ceremony on the evening of 30 March at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. It is highly recommended that you book your place at the Awards as soon as you are able to (premium tables are limited).

Click here to view a full list of the shortlisted entries for this year’s Awards. 


Sarah George

© Faversham House Ltd 2022 edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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