BREEAM is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, with 200,000 buildings earning certified BREEAM assessment ratings and around a million registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.
The largest commercial office in Manchester has now become the highest scoring BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ building in the UK with a score of 95.32 per cent.
Designed by 3DReid, The Co-operative Group’s new £115 million low-energy, highly sustainable headquarters brings their 3,500 staff under one roof in a spectacular 500,000 square foot building.
The building, known as 1 Angel Square, has been designed to deliver a 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption compared to The Co-operative’s current Manchester complex and an 80 per cent reduction in carbon. This will lead to operating costs being lowered by up to 30 per cent.
Groundbreaking engineering features, designed by Buro Happold, include a double-skinned façade to minimise heating and cooling throughout the year and underground concrete earth tubes that provide an amount of free heating and cooling for the incoming fresh air.
The thermal mass of concrete helps the building defray the effects of weather. Some 300,000 square feet of exposed concrete acts as a thermal sponge, passively soaking up as much heat and reducing the amount of energy needed to cool the building.
The central atrium is used to extract stale air out of the building, negating the need for large space-hungry extract risers within the cores.
The Co-operative’s ‘Farm to Fork’ principle is embraced in using rapeseed from British co-op farms to produce the fuel for the building’s CHP power plant. The remaining husks of the crop will be recycled into animal feed for beasts also on the Co-operative’s own farms. Excess energy can be supplied back to the grid and utilised by the wider NOMA development, with waste energy being sent through an absorption chiller and used to cool the building.
The designers have addressed the issue of global warming and furture-proofed the building against predicted weather data for 2050 so that the building can cope with a potential three to five degree increase in summer temperature and 30 per cent more precipitation in winter. The building’s fabric and environmental systems have been designed to become more efficient as average annual temperatures rise.
3DReid incorporated a recycling system for used water and a rainwater harvesting system to guarantee low water consumption. A heat recovery system from the atrium will also collect heat from the sun and recycle waste heat.
Other areas of innovation include the implementation of electrical pool car charging points and the development of a building user ‘App’ which relays real time user information on how the building is performing.
It is not just the sustainability credentials that contribute to the building’s ‘Outstanding’ rating. The dynamic architecture, both externally and internally, is striking and is a testament to the collaboration between architect and client. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the stunning internal atrium, which is the same height as the old Manchester wheel, or 13 double decker buses stacked atop one another.
The high quality office space has been specifically designed for maximum flexibilty. The building structure and its mechanical and electrical systems allow occupiers to easily reorganise accommodation and subdivide space ensuring that as needs change, the building stays relevant without excessive refit costs.
The building was completed this month with occupation commencing in January, 2013.
One Angel Square is part of a wider mixed-use development plan called NOMA, which will include premier office, retail, residential and leisure space. The project is expected to cost £800 million and will transform the city’s landscape with construction taking place on four million sq ft of mixed-use land.