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Building for Tomorrow - how does Bristol's office market shape up?

In the year that Bristol celebrates being European Green Capital, Jeremy Richards looks at how Bristol's office market shapes up in terms of sustainability

Bristol has a pretty good track record. Back in 2010,  the Environment Agency took  70,000 sq ft at Horizon House in what was then the UK`s greenest office building boasting, ground source heat, PV solar panels and rainwater collection. Perhaps one might expect this given the nature of the occupier but the letting was a commercial deal  which made sense for both developer and tenant.

Jeremy RichardsThe recession naturally saw a lull in property activity but now Bristol can once again point to market leading sustainable green buildings. 2 Glass Wharf at Temple Quay, the 98,000 sq ft office building, developed by Salmon Harvester is rated very good in terms of sustainability.  It uses the harbour water in its cooling system and has secured its first tenant in PWC who themselves are driving the sustainability agenda amongst corporate business.

However, the most recent and strongest message that sustainability pays is evidenced in the development of 66 Queen Square. The site was purchased by Skanska with the express intention of building Bristol’s greenest building. As a consequence, the historic Queen Anne House has not  only been retained but also integrated into the development and long term energy saving features including photovoltaic panels, LED lighting and water saving fittings have been incorporated. The building is targeting  BREEAM excellent and an EPC rating of A.

The design and green credentials of 66 Queen Square was a key part of KPMG’s decision to relocate there later this year. It’s no coincidence that both Skanska and KPMG are lead sponsors of Bristol’s European Green Capital.  Equally, the building has recently secured a market leading price and no doubt its future proofed features were a major consideration for the Investor.   

These new office buildings in Bristol are a good showcase but the real challenge for the UK’s property industry is the 98% of older buildings which need to be refurbished or redeveloped. The built environment accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions, success in this area is key if the industry is going to build a more sustainable environment. The conversion of many office buildings into  hotels and residential, is important as it retains the embedded energy within the original structure.

At JLL, we have recently launched our own sustainability plan - ‘Building for Tomorrow’ - in line with campaigns such as M&S’s Plan A and Hammerson’s ‘Positive Places’. Our aim is to become the most sustainable property consultancy in the UK. 

We are seeking to build a business that will meet tomorrow’s client needs,  staff aspirations, the competitor landscape, and tomorrow’s societal expectations. Building for Tomorrow gives us this platform and helps us all to work together in building a better future. Meanwhile we are upgrading our own workplace across the UK so we practice what we preach!