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Urban Insight

Sweco Group


Buildings are responsible for about 40% of global energy consumption, and about one third of greenhouse gas emissions. By improving the energy performance of buildings, we can reduce energy consumption, emissions and costs and contribute to achieving net zero ambitions in the built environment through optimal energy management.

Sweco played a key role in net zero mixed-use redevelopment plans for Colechurch House in London Bridge

Current challenges related to energy security, energy prices and the mitigation of global warming make it clear that energy efficiency has a significant untapped potential in reducing both emissions and costs in the built environment. Today, the imperative to upgrade the energy efficiency in buildings has never been stronger.

In Europe alone, more than 220 million existing buildings – or 75 per cent of the building stock – are energy-inefficient, according to recent statistics from the European Commission. Buildings constructed today will be around for 50 years or more. Reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions in new buildings and decarbonising existing buildings, via low carbon retrofits, is therefore paramount.

Adding to the climate benefits of energy efficiency, analysis from the World Economic Forum shows that the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy in buildings could save €3 billion in human health benefits from improved air quality between now and 2030.

Buildings are at the centre of people’s life, work, and leisure. Implementing active energy efficiency measures in the planning and design of new buildings as well as during the renovation and retrofitting of existing buildings in a circular-first society has significant impacts in the energy and carbon emissions reduction, in cutting energy costs and improving the health and wellbeing if the inhabitants.

Engineering the energy efficiency in buildings

Energy efficiency is at the core of Sweco’s advisory expertise. In close collaboration with property owners and developers, Sweco’s energy experts take a multidimensional approach to steering construction and development projects towards energy-efficient end results.

With each project, Sweco’s experts consider the client’s project-specific goals and the most energy-effective options. The projects apply the latest technology, renewable energy and innovations that have been shown to work in practice. We keep an open mind when creating solutions covering the entire lifespan of a building. The appropriate and efficient use of energy, as well as energy recycling, steer us towards the target of reaching net zero buildings.

Local energy systems

Sweco helps clients develop local, distributed energy systems from planning to implementation. The first step is a local energy assessment, with which we compare different implementation options, for example, in terms of their lifecycle costs and climate goals. We also review the possibility of utilising waste and condensate heat, so that energy can be stored and recycled as efficiently as possible. Local energy systems such as renewable generation sources and energy storage reduce the operational costs, include the ability to sell excess electricity back to the grid, improve energy reliability and reduce the carbon footprint of the building.

Demand-side and peak load management

Energy management is increasingly important at a national level, because the use of renewable energy sources is on the rise and there is more fluctuation in the energy generation than before. Demand-side management reduces energy consumption, which saves costs and lowers the carbon emissions. The demand-side management of individual buildings allows the national energy production to be appropriately managed, which in turn reduces the occurrence of peak loads, improves the security of the energy supply and reduces the emissions from power generation.

Sweco helps achieve net zero redevelopment targets in Colechurch House, London Bridge

Following the news that the CIT’s Colechurch House in London Bridge has been given local authorities’ approval for redevelopment, Sweco has been assigned a key role in the net zero mixed-use redevelopment plans of the property. The Colechurch House project will include office space alongside a public park and a new home for the Southwark Playhouse theatre.

In addition to net zero carbon, Colechurch House has a predicted carbon reduction of 55 per cent below a typical office building, and a 75 per cent reduction in operational energy. Embodied carbon targets are also set to fall well below industry expectation.

Featuring renewable energy initiatives and gardens on every floor, the 48,500 square metre scheme will also exceed the current minimum standards for carbon reduction, targeting carbon savings of 55 per cent relative to standard UK building stock.

A data-driven approach to unlocking net zero buildings

Sweco’s energy experts use digital tools in their complex calculations and visualisations of climate-related risks and costs for new construction projects as well as existing buildings. Sweco’s self-developed Carbon Cost Compass service provides construction and property developers the opportunity to make the most optimal design choices for climate and economically sustainable buildings. Sweco recently won first price for the service in the Business Arena Tech Awards category “Most Innovative Real Estate Actor”; and the service is now nominated in the CIO Awards as “Sustainable Project of the Year”, and for Environment & Development’s Environmental Strategy Award in Sweden.

Compliance with green buildings certifications and standards

Use of renewable energy, low energy consumption, ventilation and control of heat and cooling systems, lighting quality and steering, smart metering and the implementation of monitoring and control systems are amongst the embedded requirements for achieving green buildings certifications and standards. Sweco’s building service systems consultants create comfortable indoor climates in buildings and facilities with the seal of quality demanded by international certifications such as BREEAM, LEED and WELL.