In a UK first, the largest commercial property development company in the country will work on a zero-carbon commercial property in Southwark, London.
Known as The Forge, the proposed development is designed to be the first commercial building in the UK to be fully compliant with the UK Green Building Council's net-zero carbon buildings framework. This is part of Landsec's ambitious short term project to become net-zero carbon by 2030.
Landsec believes that commercial property companies have a critical role to play in addressing the climate change emergency and tackling Scope 3 emissions. These are the emissions that are created as a result of a company's actions but at a source they don't control and include supply chain emissions arising from manufacture, transportation and assembly of materials.
No UK building has so far been certified net-zero in construction and operation under the UKGBC's framework. Currently 40% of the UK's emissions can be attributed to the built environment and there are calls to aggressively decarbonise the construction sector.
Landsec has already trialled the P-DfMA (Platform for Design, Manufacture and Assembly) consisting of a set of components that can then be combined to construct highly customisable buildings from a single 'kit' of elements. Results were positive, with productivity improved by 55% and a reduction in installation time of 30%. This method is expected to reduce construction costs by a third when compared to traditional methods of construction.
The energy efficient structures produced also had a 20% smaller carbon footprint and used fewer materials and created less waste than traditional buildings. This new approach, implementing MMC through the P-DfMA and facilitated by digital technology has been identified as a critical approach to the transformation of the sector.
Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC, called the development 'groundbreaking' and a testament to Landsec's commitment to tackling the climate crisis head on. She continued: "Developers, construction firms, architects and occupiers must start working together at scale to deliver buildings like this that minimise whole life carbon" and make a meaningful contribution to the sector's response to climate change.
Landsec, the largest listed property company in the UK, had previously pledged to cut emissions by 80% by 2050. The commitment to carbon-zero by 2030 should encourage other UK property companies to make similar green pledges.
The Forge will be the first ever office block to use the platform led approach and Landsec will work alongside design practice Bryden Wood, and design development and prototyping company Easi-Space which has already received a government grant for its innovative work. Landsec has already committed to building all future developments to the same set of guidelines, using the platform technique and the kit of parts approach.
The greater efficiency and productivity of this construction method matched to a commitment to embedding a sustainability strategy at the heart of Landsec's development programme will improve the built environment and prove a useful yardstick for future green commercial developments.