Advising on the first carbon-neutral industrial development in London
Orchard Street Investment Management’s Communication Park is one of the greenest industrial estates in the UK
64,000 sq ft
First carbon neutral industrial development in West London
We expect Communication Park’s strong sustainability features to appeal to a range of occupiers who recognise the financial, corporate and environmental benefits of occupying sustainable buildings in strategic locations.
Many of the UK’s aging industrial estates are in need of substantial redevelopment to find their place in a net-zero future.
When commercial property investment manager Orchard Street bought a secondary industrial estate in West London, it had big plans turn it into the first carbon-neutral industrial development in West London
Having worked with JLL for more than ten years, Orchard Street enlisted our sustainability experts to consult and advise on how to reposition the five-unit, 64,000 square feet Steyning Way site and rebrand it as Communications Park.
The team faced several initial key challenges. When the project started three years ago, sustainability wasn’t yet a top priority, especially in the industrial sector. And this was the first net-zero project of its kind in London. Would there be sufficient demand for this type of net-zero unit, even with its proximity to Heathrow airport?
Another challenge was determining the size of the buildings and whether they should be designed as single or multiple units.
JLL had worked with the previous landlords of Communication Park and had extensive knowledge of the site before Orchard Street acquired it.
It was clear the site needed significant redevelopment to meet its new goals. We looked at the design and build opportunities, as well as the potential cost savings and efficiencies for potential occupiers in leasing carbon-neutral, sustainable properties in a heavily used industrial area near a busy airport.
The relevant facts and figures were carefully compiled so potential occupiers could see that although the new carbon-neutral units have a rent premium, the savings from lower operating costs means total costs will be lower over the duration of the lease.
JLL then launched an extensive marketing campaign around the growing importance of sustainable industrial properties. This not only drew attention to their environmental benefits and their operational efficiencies, but also highlighted the value for companies who want to ensure their real estate choices align with their organisation’s overall sustainability goals.
The new multi-let scheme at Communication Park has five industrial warehouse units ranging from 7,566 square foot up to 43,913 square foot.
They feature roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV), which produced 212.10 kWp of electricity, saving 93.37 tonnes of CO2 per year, while bin stores have CO2 absorbing sedum roofs. Cooling is powered by air source heat pumps which is 75% more efficient than conventional HVAC.
For the occupiers’ workforce, there are electric charge points in the car parks, as well as numerous fruit trees and views of the surrounding green space to promote wellbeing.
Orchard Street has completed its first letting at Communication Park to Airbox Fulfilment, a UK-based retail logistics, delivery and fulfilment specialist for retailers that make sustainable clothing. The fact they now operate out of a carbon-neutral facility has inherent value — not just to them, but to their customers whose businesses are built around sustainability.
“Airbox wants to take the lead in sustainable fulfilment and ensuring that this becomes the new norm in the fulfilment industry,” says Jeremy Tan, Airbox Fulfilment MD. “We believe that being environmentally conscious is of primary importance to running a business and it is something we have put as a cornerstone of our operation.”
What’s more, Airbox say they have not had to pay for electricity since occupying the building because both the solar and battery panels have provided enough energy to offset the cost.
Lora Brill, Head of Responsibility & ESG at Orchard Street expects Communication Park’s strong sustainability features to appeal to more tenants who recognise the financial, corporate and environmental benefits of occupying sustainable buildings in strategic locations.