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Designing a full net-zero roadmap for UK tower complex

We helped a UK real estate equity firm understand the opportunities to retrofit of a tower complex in London, positioning it as a shining example of sustainable success.

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Given the strong demand for sustainable office space and limited supply, we worked closely with a UK real estate equity firm to retrofit its tower complex in London and give it a leg up to compete in a future net-zero environment.

Designing a full net-zero roadmap for UK tower complex

Doing so will help to retain current tenants, 80% of whom have publicly stated decarbonization plans, and attract new ones with similar goals.

The scope 1 and 2 emissions associated with real estate must be halved by 2030 to align with Science Based Targets, which most of the building’s occupiers are working towards – a discovery made after Colliers was contracted to do a full Net Zero Carbon scoping study. Furthermore, 74% of the net lettable area has lease breaks before 2030 – a notable risk as the building is not aligned with the requirements of most existing tenants.

We investigated the potential for this building to achieve net zero and developed a(n):
 

  • Analysis of current installations and operation
  • Review of gas and electricity usage against industry benchmarks
  • Innovative HVAC model to identify potential energy savings
  • Recommended energy upgrades
  • Pathway to net-zero carbon (NZC)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment

Colliers provided three transition scenarios involving different interventions and investment potential, akin to gold, silver and bronze levels. We determined that the building’s existing heating and cooling systems were inherently inefficient and could not be retained amid a net-zero pursuit. Ultimately, we recommended the middle scenario, which would bring the building’s EPC rating from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ with the lowest transition cost and best-balanced energy usage, annual cost and savings.

Due to the remaining economic life and embodied carbon in the main boilers and chillers, we recommended the retrofit commence later this decade after the assets have been fully depreciated.

Through the NZC scoping study, our client understands the requirements to retrofit this structure to achieve net-zero operations, budget to be set aside, and their likely future energy savings and EPC ratings. These plans will help retain and attract corporate tenants who increasingly prioritize ESG factors in their occupancy strategies.