King’s Cross Masterplan
King’s Cross Central is one of the largest recent redevelopments in London spanning 67-acres. The under-used industrial wasteland has been transformed providing new homes, shops, offices, galleries, bars, restaurants, schools and even a University.
Sweco has played a major role in the majority of the projects within the Masterplan as one of the incumbent Services and Sustainability Consultant commissions in and around the buildings.
Sweco was instrumental in establishing the King’s Cross Central Argent Brief for the masterplan. In collaboration with Argent and recognising their aim to push boundaries, we ensured a market-leading and future-proofed set of targets which have led to the King’s Cross Central site setting the benchmark for sustainability and low energy design for the last decade.
We assessed the potential benefits of the site wide CHP district heating network and drove the targeting of ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM ratings for all buildings. We also set down a framework of how this ‘Outstanding’ target could be attained with no added cost beyond that of targeting an ‘Excellent’ rating.
To date, King’s Cross Central has the greatest concentration of BREEAM Outstanding Buildings in the World. Specific projects were also awarded numerous accolades such as the highest BREEAM Outstanding for a Mixed-Use project, the 1st BREEAM 2011 Outstanding, the 1st BREEAM 2014 Outstanding, 1st BREEAM Outstanding for a Fit-out and a number of our projects have won BREEAM Project of the Year Awards at the coveted BRE annual event.
Several of our King’s Cross Central projects have also won numerous awards in recognition of their sustainability credentials:
- Building Awards – Sustainable Project of the Year
- Guardian Sustainable Business – Built Environment Impact Award
- RIBA (London Regional) – Regional Sustainability Winner
- Construction New Awards – Sustainable Project of the Year
- Civic Trust Awards – Special Award for Sustainability
Energy Modelling and Utilities
Our Energy Strategy solutions which we established early on became the recognised framework which all consultants had to follow on future projects. Our Peer Review and constant challenging of the ESCO Energy Centre designers, led to a re-think and re-check of the utilisation factor (number of hours the low carbon CHP system would run to serve the base loads across the masterplan) every time we made a Planning Application.
When we submitted our first project for planning, the Utilisation Factor was 52% of the year. Our constant challenging and assistance with establishing more accurate load profiling as the masterplan developed has led to this percentage increasing to over 75%.
To put this into context, through simply re-calculating, we were able to far exceed our carbon reduction targets through passive and energy efficiency solutions along and could remove ALL our Photovoltaic requirements. Saving Argent the capital cost of expensive PV panels and also enabled the roof-scape to be better utilised.
The Camden Council HQ building, which still holds the highest BREEAM rating for a Mixed-Use Public Sector building, was specified with Displacement Ventilation. The feedback following a number of POE assessments and staff questionnaires shows a very high level of occupant satisfaction and the internal asset management teams also provide positive feedback given the simplicity of the passive system and not having to deal with numerous terminal unit issues on-floor.
Rather than settle for green or brown roofs to satisfy the Planning requirements, we worked with the architects, ecologists and engaged with the planners to establish ‘useful’ greening of the King’s Cross commercial roofs. Landscape architect competitions were held and roof-top gardens accessible to all the commercial tenants were designed. From KPI feedback and POE, these roof-top gardens are seen as key benefits to tenants well-being. Rather than keeping with a single services system solution which is often then replicated on each and every building, we explored each building on its own merit. Thereby tailoring the most appropriate, cost-effective and sustainable solutions possible for each project.
Sweco’s sustainability and energy strategy framework established early for the first projects delivered in the Masterplan is still relevant and informing the strategies for last remaining projects being designed now. As well as providing guidance on the delivery of the UN SDGs, our input into the future proofed and market leading brief has seen us still satisfy and actually surpass a number of legislative changes and more stringent energy and carbon targets.
Whole Life Carbon
Our most recent focus, on projects which we are designing for Argent, has now been to embed our knowledge and framework for achieving the RIBA Climate Change Emergency targets for Operational Energy Demand and Embodied Carbon. This has enabled an approach to quantify whole life carbon to enable carbon reduction and the uptake of circular approaches.
Argent is keen to utilise our expertise on the last remaining plots at King’s Cross and to help them establish a new future-proofed brief for some of their latest ventures such as their Brent Cross Masterplan. Given our wider expertise in Europe for ‘All Electric’ systems and our in-use Sweco designed offices in Europe which are bettering the RIBA 2030 energy targets, we have a wealth of actual in operation metered data and a framework of solutions which we are now actively advising upon and helping to steer the next generation of masterplans/buildings.