Sheds have always had a reputation for being energy-guzzling, which makes the achievements of the year¹s top client all the more impressive

Mott MacDonald
Sponsored by Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald is one of the world’s leading employee-owned management, engineering and development consultancies with over 13 000 staff and work in 120 countries. We are committed to making a positive contribution to the welfare of the communities, environment and marketplace in which it operates and embraces ethical values, community responsibilities, social impacts, sustainability, protection of the environment, prudent use of natural resources, economic advancement and employment.

Working across all sectors covered by the sustainability agenda – buildings, water, energy, education and health, environment, transport and industry – means Mott MacDonald is uniquely place to influence development programmes to promote sustainable thinking and to help improve the well-being of communities.

Winner: Prologis

Shed developer Prologis has pledged that all new buildings in the UK and US will be developed in line with BREEAM and LEED certification. In October 2007, it completed a flagship project for Sainsbury¹s in Northampton, with a low-carbon design that beats UK building regulations by 40%. It also used a carbon management system to record the carbon footprint of every aspect of the construction process, which included emissions associated with the production of components and raw materials, transport and energy on site.

Prologis has adopted a set of waste and renewable energy goals to be achieved across its global portfolio by 2010, which it is already some way to achieving. All new warehouses will use 20% recycled content, and three-quarters of construction waste will be diverted from landfill. Across the portfolio it hopes to generate 25m kWh of renewable energy a year.

Runners up

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra is the government department responsible for championing sustainable development and it has set a clear example with its new offices in Alnwick. The building has just won a BREEAM 2008 award, with an “excellent” rating and a score of 80.72%, despite its rural location limiting the potential for transport credits. The client set targets for the project in a sustainability charter which all parties signed up to, and monitored them throughout the construction and design process. The resulting low-carbon building uses wind turbines, PV cells, solar heating and a biomass boiler, has rainwater harvesting and fittings to reduce water consumption, natural ventilation and daylighting and responsibly sourced materials.

Hermes Real Estate

This investor has got ahead of the game and worked with engineer Hoare Lea to produce energy performance ratings for all its holdings before the EU legislation comes in. It has established its own Sustainability Rating System with consultant Upstream and believes that with further development it could be used by all investors. Hermes has also seized the sustainability agenda within the property market by commissioning research from Imperial College into the likely impacts of climate change and undertaking flood risk assessments on all its properties. Its latest environmental report details progress within 2006/07 – accreditation for the highest level of recycling in its retail portfolio among its peers, a 17% reduction in CO2 emissions at one building and a 68% improvement in collecting energy consumption data.

Lend Lease

A founding member of the UK Green Building Council, Lend Lease this year achieved the first BREEAM “excellent” office refurbishment for its European headquarters. It is one of only two property companies to voluntarily enter the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, committing to a target reduction of nearly 1000 tonnnes of CO2 over five years, and the first property company to install a Big Hanna accelerated composter at a retail development, which should cut waste to landfill at The Meadows in Chelmsford by 90%. Lend Lease has set up a team of sustainability executives, and is devising sustainability KPIs for senior managers, linked to their remuneration. Between 2006/07 and 2007/08 it reduced its carbon footprint across its portfolio by 5% through energy efficiency measures.

Marks & Spencer

M&S’ commitment to sustainability is clearly visible throughout its stores on the “Plan A” billboards. M&S worked with BRE to design a programme for procurement and design, and engaged its whole supply chain in implementing it, winning admiration for its new stores incorporating the best of low-carbon building technologies. But it hasn’t neglected its network of old stores either, showing leadership on the difficult task of measuring its total contribution to CO2 emissions across the UK and Ireland and working to reduce them. It has introduced an automatic energy monitoring programme across its branch network, and during 2007/08, reduced its energy use by 4%.


London landlord Workspace is taking its own responsibilities seriously and also working with customers and suppliers to influence the aspects not directly under its control. It ran a campaign with The Carbon Trust, Thames Water and Envirowise to promote the difference that small changes can make, and worked with charity Global Action Plan to offer free environmental audits to its customers. So far, 40 have been carried out across 15 business centres. In 2007/08 it set 28 sustainability targets, covering its commercial property portfolio and operations, and has achieved or nearly achieved three-quarters of them. In the last year, it has developed a carbon management framework, including a sub-metering policy to improve monitoring of carbon emissions. It reduced energy use at its head office by 10% this year, and water use by 22%, and now recycles 23% of waste across its centres.