The energy we use in our buildings is the second largest contributor to our overall carbon footprint, making it a priority in our environmental agenda.
We set a target to halve our energy consumption by 2017 from our 2007 baseline. Our energy consumption dropped again this year, helping us to hit this - 50% target - an achievement that we’re very proud of. In turn this energy reduction has helped to cut our combined Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions by 77% over the same period - a significant contribution to our total carbon emissions reduction of 29%.
In that time, we’ve invested extensively in renewing and consolidating our buildings across the country, and pioneering new technologies and ways of working.
Our ambitious top-down target and energy policy form the basis for our approach, which includes:
We achieved our certification to the ISO 50001 standard for energy management in 2012, and renewed it this year. The standard recognises that we have a robust system to manage our energy, and guides us in continually reducing the energy we consume.
A key challenge in moving to a low carbon economy is dealing with old building stock. So, with the ongoing upgrade of our UK offices we’re challenging ourselves on the art of the possible. Our London offices at More London and Embankment place, and our Leeds office have all achieved the ‘Outstanding’ rating under BREEAM, the world’s foremost environmental rating system for buildings. This means we now have more than 10,000 of our people located in some of the most environmentally innovative buildings in the UK.
In 2011 more than 5,500 of our people moved into our new office at More London. The building was pioneering in its sustainability approach, and designed to have 58% lower carbon emissions than there would be in a typical building meeting prevailing construction regulations.
It was the first office building in the UK to receive the BREEAM Outstanding rating with a final score of 89.97% - the highest ever rating at the time. We achieved this through paying close attention to the building's design and construction from the earliest possible stages.
For example, we chose a digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) system to reflect and intensify natural light so we only use lighting when we need it. Other energy-saving features include regenerative braking in our lifts, solar water heating on our roofs and LED lights throughout the building. A display screen in our lobby lets visitors and employees know how much energy the building is using.
Much of the building's heat, and almost 50% of its electricity, comes from a tri-generator system that runs on 100% used cooking oil. The oil is sourced from restaurants within the M25, including our own staff restaurant, to keep transport emissions down, and refined by a local supplier. This allows us to cut our use of both gas and vehicle fuel, and to support local businesses.
The building has outperformed its energy targets and the tri-generator is exceeding its original energy production target of 25%, helping the building to achieve the BREEAM ‘in use’ certificate
To find out more about our building at More London, take a look at our video case study.
Following the success of our More London office, in 2014 we finished the two-year transformation of our headquarters office at Embankment Place to bring it up to the same high standards in terms of workplace and sustainability.
We were delighted when it achieved the ‘Outstanding’ rating with the highest ever UK rating of 96.31% under BREEAM, including a 100% score for materials, transport and management. It’s also a first as a refurbishment, rather than a ‘new build’, and we believe it supports the case for retrofitting existing buildings.
We’ve applied many of the technologies and lessons learned from our More London office. Central to this is the tri-generator, which also runs on recycled cooking oil, and we collaborated with our biofuel supplier and London South Bank University to refine it to the European standard for biofuel, EN14214. The tri-generator can produce around 60% of the building’s peak electricity requirements and 20% of the heating load, and emits approximately 40% less carbon than a typical equivalent.
The building also benefits from:
We expect the improvement measures to pay for themselves within four years.
We’re also applying many of the lessons and BREEAM principles to the ongoing upgrade of our regional offices. With the leases for several of these offices expiring, we’ve taken the opportunity to consolidate our portfolio, to reduce our space and energy consumption.
We’ve continued our rolling programme of innovation and investment across of our offices too. This includes upgrading our building management systems to improve the existing infrastructure, moving to automatic metering, installing light sensors and increasing the amount of low-energy lighting across our portfolio.
We’ve also increased the ambient temperatures in our IT equipment rooms, a move which saves energy from cooling while having no detrimental impact on performance. We’ve invested further in voltage optimisation. And we've taken practical steps like turning lights and heating off in our buildings when they're empty.
We continue to work with our suppliers to identify further opportunities to improve how we use energy in our buildings.
We aim to purchase the grid electricity we consume from renewable sources where we can. In October 2015, we moved to a new arrangement with Good Energy. Our purchased electricity is a mix of wind and solar energy, backed by Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificates which are traceable to the source. This arrangement applies to all mainland UK offices that we operate ourselves. In 2017 it accounted for 62% of our total electricity consumption, and 40% of our overall energy consumption.
The trigenerators in our More London and Embankment place offices, use carbon neutral biofuel from recycled cooking oil and have a combined power output of 1.8 megawatts. They provided 10% of the energy in our buildings in 2017.