Green Business Awards 2008: Best Construction or Property Business - Winner King's College London

A research-led university, whose academic ranking is among the highest in the world, King's College London also manages a lot of buildings, some of them historic.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

In 2003, the college appointed an environment manager responsible for implementing a three-pronged carbon-management strategy. Since then, it has pursued aggressive environmental targets for new and existing campus buildings, in 2008 becoming the first university in Britain to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing carbon emissions. The judges praised the college for the comprehensiveness of its green construction programme in a physically and politically complex environment.

As a bastion of scientific research, with 19,700 students from more than 140 countries, King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world, situated in the heart of London in a dense and historic built environment.

Under the direction of its environmental manager, the college set specific objectives and targets to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint. It invested in data collection, management and reporting tools to monitor progress against measurable targets.

The college also set a goal to ensure that all its new buildings achieve a Breeam 'excellent' certification, while refurbishments must gain at least a 'very good' rating. Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certifications consider several key aspects of a building's environmental fitness: energy consumption, water usage, pollution, waste, land use and ecology, as well as how it is managed.

A particular achievement over the past year has been the refurbishment of the historic King's Building and the top three floors of the college's Strand Building as low-energy offices. The latter included: solar shading to minimise solar gain; chilled beams; movement detectors for lighting and for heating/cooling to office areas. Eighty per cent of the construction waste for the King's Building was recycled.

In the two years since implementation of the carbon management strategy, the college has reduced its energy consumption by very nearly 9,000 MWh. This has reduced CO2 emissions by 5,000 tonnes, or 97% of the target set within the strategy for 2011. This has been achieved despite an increase in the number of buildings in the college's estate.

The challenges included training, raising awareness of legislation and how the strategy could be carried out within financial and time constraints. Most projects were achieved within existing budgets, apart from a £100k grant from the Carbon Trust's Salix seed-funding scheme. This has enabled the establishment of a rolling fund for investment in energy-saving initiatives with a fast pay-back, the savings being reinvested in the fund.

The college won the 2006-7 Green Gown Award for sustainable construction for the renovation of its Grade 1 listed building on the Strand. It has also achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing carbon emissions - the first university to do so - and has become a Carbon Trust Pathfinder organisation.

King's is now exporting its environmental expertise, initiating, for example, a conference on sustainable environmental management in September 2008. In addition, a King's/LSE sustainable campus project has been shortlisted for the £1m Nesta Big Green Challenge award.

In January 2008, the college launched an energy-awareness campaign. This included a series of attractive posters encouraging students and staff to save energy.

The college has also developed a strategy for low-energy 'thin client' computing technology.

Highly Commended - Morgan Lovell p26

Runners-up - Atkins p24; Blueprint p24

Web Links - King's College London http://www.kcl.ac.uk

Press release on the Green Gown Award http://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/news_details.php?news_id=547&year=2007

Press release on the Carbon Trust Standard http://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/news_details.php?news_id=842&year=2008

Breeam http://www.breeam.org

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