Net-zero pledges hindered by lack of ‘green’ offices

Dozens of companies are in danger of failing to meet sustainability pledges because of a shortage of green office space outside London.


Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm, Mazars, an accountant, and Dentsu International, a marketing firm, are among businesses with regional offices that have committed to targets to reduce carbon emissions.


However, there is not one completed office building in the areas where they are based that meets those standards.


Research by JLL, a property consultancy, found that businesses that have set targets occupy 4.4 million sq ft in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and in the Thames Valley. More than a quarter of the space they occupy has a lease expiring in the next five years.


Only an estimated 16 per cent of office stock in those locations are rated good to outstanding when judged by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, a measure of sustainability.


Muse Developments, in Manchester, is seeking operational net zero carbon status for an office building in Salford, that includes a facade covered in plants to remove air pollutants. CEG, another developer, has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions at EQ, an “all-electric” Bristol office building, that will be powered by green energy including solar panels.


“The direction of travel across the industry suggests that demand for sustainable offices will only increase over the coming years as companies adopt carbon reduction strategies and legislation drives change,” JLL said.


In London, a few net zero carbon office buildings have been completed, including Boston Consulting’s new headquarters at 80 Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia. The building, developed by Derwent London, includes central heating and cooling provided from air source heat pumps, significantly reducing carbon emissions compared with traditional gas boilers.


Last year research by JLL found at least 8 million sq ft of new green office space was required in London by 2030 to meet sustainability pledges of companies based there.


The Times (Louisa Clarence-Smith) -

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