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A pilot project to create a ‘green’ workplace in the unlikely setting of a 1960s London office block has been named one of the most sustainable buildings in the UK.

Morgan Lovell’s pioneering development of a sustainable office of the future has taken the fit out title in the 2008 UK BREEAM Awards.

BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a world-leading environmental assessment method for buildings.

As specialists in the design and build of offices, Morgan Lovell set about creating a green workplace at their headquarters - located in Noel Street, Soho - last year.

The company’s in-house team pooled their expertise and eventually achieved the highest BREEAM fit out environmental assessment score in the UK to date for the project, an ‘Excellent’ rating with a total mark of 76 per cent - awarded in March this year.

David Henderson, managing director of Morgan Lovell, said: “We wanted to challenge the common misconception that it is impossible or too hard to green an existing or older building.

“The refurbishment of our own office provided the ideal opportunity to tackle the issue and transform an older office into a model of sustainability.

“It was an ambitious project. The office exists across two floors of a 1960s, seven-storey, multi-tenanted office block - the type of building that would normally be considered an environmental write-off.

“Even the external experts felt that to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating in such an old building would be very difficult, if not impossible.

“Now, the completed project offers a blueprint to help reduce the significant carbon footprint currently pounding the UK from office buildings.

“Almost 50 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions come from buildings and most companies are housed in ‘older’ environmentally unfriendly developments.

“We’ve found that UK businesses often hold the view that to reduce their carbon footprint they need to build a new office – a process considered as massively expensive and out of reach for most.

“16 Noel Street proves you can take an old building and make it ‘green’ without having the cost and upheaval of moving office or affecting the fabric of the building.”

With almost 100,000 buildings certified and over half a million registered, BREEAM sets the standard in sustainable design and is the most recognised measure of a building’s environmental performance.

A spokesman from BRE Global – the body behind BREEAM - said: “The winners of the BREEAM 2008 Awards truly represent the UK’s top examples of sustainable design.”

Find out more about green office interiors at http://www.morganlovell.com/sustainability

Picture L-R: Susan Logan from Esoteric BREEAM assessors, Martin Townsend - Director of BREEAM and Elaine Duke - Morgan Lovell designer

ENDS

Notes to Editors

About Morgan Lovell’s Green Office

Morgan Lovell was placed seventh for having the ‘greenest employees’ in the Sunday Times Green Companies List announced in May 2008 – the new office rated heavily in that success.

Features of the refit include recycled plastic bottles for kitchen surfaces and clay based paints to reduce solvent emissions.

To limit waste, furniture was reused - and products including flooring and furniture sourced as locally as possible with a high recycled content and themselves recyclable. Desks and computers not needed were given to charity.

Lighting, heating and cooling are zoned across the office floors. Sensors deploy lighting in zones only where people are working and lights adjust automatically to the natural conditions so less artificial light is needed. Heat rejected in areas being cooled is used to warm other parts of the building as required.

All of the energy demand is supplied from renewable energy sources, purchased from The Green Energy Company.

Other improvements include the well-being factors associated with working in an office with greater use of fresh air and natural light - and heating that delivers controlled temperatures to small zones. Products were specified with very low or no VOCs, to create a healthier environment.

Finally, a break-out area creates a heart within the office, complete with low lighting, booth-style seating and state-of-the-art high gloss kitchen fittings.

A survey after the refurbishment revealed exceptional levels of satisfaction among employees with a score of 95%.

The new office has been used as a location for a fact-finding visit by members of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) looking at issues surrounding sustainable refurbishment. It has played host to a series of sustainable office seminars, allowing property professionals the opportunity to learn and see first hand how a refurbished ‘green’ office concept works.

About Morgan Lovell

Located in London, Birmingham and the Thames Valley, Morgan Lovell is the UK’s leading office interior design, fit out and refurbishment specialist. With its own teams of designers, surveyors and project managers, the company can design and deliver entire projects, with the benefit of just one point of contact. www.morganlovell.com

It is part of top five UK construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall plc which operates through five specialist divisions of fit out, construction, infrastructure services, affordable housing and urban regeneration.

Morgan Lovell is a licensed BREEAM Offices Assessment Organisation. This means it is now licensed to measure the sustainability score of an office in order to identify ways companies can reduce high energy usage and waste, whilst increasing comfort and satisfaction for users of the building.

Contacts

Press release written by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR Limited. Tel 01538 308685 or 308099. Mobile 07985 129315

jane@shepherd-pr.com





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