Climate Action

UK property developer targets first net zero carbon commercial building

Landsec, the FTSE-100 property developer, is progressing plans for what aims to be the UK’s first net zero carbon commercial building.

  • 31 July 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

Landsec, the FTSE-100 property developer, is progressing plans for what aims to be the UK’s first net zero carbon commercial building.

The Forge, previously known as 105 Sumner St, SE1, a 139,000 sq ft office development in Southwark aspires to be the first commercial building to be both constructed and operated in line with the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) net zero carbon buildings framework.

There is not currently a building in the UK that has been verified in line with UKGBC’s framework that is net zero in both construction and operation. 

Construction activities account for a large part of the development industry’s scope 3 emissions and include supply-chain emissions arising from extraction of resources, the manufacturing of products, and the transportation of materials and the assembly of a building.

The Forge will be one of the most innovative construction sites in the capital. Landsec, along with tech-led design practice Bryden Wood, and design development and prototyping company Easi-Space, have together been awarded funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to deliver what will be the world’s first ever office building using a platform-led approach to design and construction.

Mark Allan, Chief Executive, Landsec, said: “Our target is to be a net zero carbon business by 2030. That means we have to start making changes to the way we do things now. We know that property companies have a vital role to play in addressing the climate emergency. We’re clear, therefore, that our sustainability strategy must be deeply embedded in our development programme and we will continue to be ambitious in our approach.”

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at UKGBC, said: “40% of the UK’s carbon emissions are attributable to the built environment and so as a sector, we need to be pursuing aggressive rates of decarbonisation. The Forge is a ground-breaking development and testament to Landsec’s desire to tackle the climate crisis head on. Developers, construction firms, architects and occupiers must start working together at scale to deliver buildings like this that minimise whole life carbon and contribute to meaningful progress in the battle against climate change.”

Landsec say all its future developments will be built to, and operate in line with, UKGBC’s net zero carbon buildings framework.

In November, the property developer became the first UK REIT to align its carbon reduction target to a 1.5°C pathway of global warming. The externally approved science-based target will see Landsec reduce absolute carbon emissions by 70% from a 2014 baseline over the next ten years.