"Committing to energy productivity will drive us to achieving our long-term targets": Tom Byrne, Energy Manager, Landsec

Reading time: 6 minutes
29 June 2017

Landsec was the first property business to sign up to The Climate Group’s EP100 campaign, pledging to double its energy productivity within 20 years from 2014 levels. We spoke with Tom Byrne, Energy Manager, Landsec to find out how the UK’s largest listed commercial real estate company is achieving its bold targets.

Why did Landsec join EP100 and how does your pledge to double energy productivity fit into your overall sustainability strategy?

Energy productivity is an extremely important topic for Landsec as we design and manage our buildings to be cheaper to run and less damaging to the environment. In 2015 we conducted a study with our key stakeholders and customers and asked them which sustainability issues they thought we should be tackling. Energy and carbon was clearly the most important issue. To address this, in 2016, we set new ambitious goals to reduce both the energy and carbon intensity of our buildings by 40% by 2030 compared to a 2013/14 baseline.

Joining EP100 provided a great opportunity to add an extra level of context to our programme and committing to doubling our energy productivity will drive us to achieving our long-term targets.

Becoming more energy productive will reduce costs for our customers, make our buildings more resilient and will reduce our environmental impact. These are all fundamental to the long-term success of our business.

Landsec is one of 42 companies who have had their science-based targets approved – how do you see EP100 being complementary to this?

I was involved in both setting our science-based target and joining EP100 and I see the two being extremely complementary. Increasing our energy productivity and reducing our demand will be the primary driver for reducing our carbon emissions, especially in the short to medium-term as the UK power grid decarbonizes.

Since setting our target we have seen good reductions in our carbon intensity, beyond our required pathway. Increasing our energy productivity has been key to this and has delivered many of our carbon savings.

What types of energy efficiency measures have Landsec already implemented, and besides a reduction in your energy consumption, could you share some of the other co-benefits that the company has reaped as a result?

We reduce energy consumption via designing efficient buildings and actively managing them in operation. In regards to our active energy management program, we have implemented a number of efficiency measures. Sometimes this is making better use of the equipment we already have by improving controls and usage behaviors. Other times it’s about upgrading to new technologies such as light emitting diode (LED) lighting,

To date we have reduced our energy intensity by 13.2% compared to our 2014 baseline. This is equivalent to a CO2 reduction of 18,589 tons, reducing our customers energy costs by £2.9 million a year.

In terms of taking measures forward we prioritize our largest using assets with 25 accounting for 90% of our total consumption. Last year we identified 64 measures to be taken forward across these buildings which will reduce our entire portfolio intensity by a further 4%.

Are there any other new energy efficiency measures or management changes you plan to make as part of your EP100 journey?

We will continue to ingrain energy efficiency across both our development and property management activities. Aside from reducing energy usage however we also seek to increase the amount of energy produced on-site as well.

We measure energy consumption by the amount drawn from the national grid, and this means that any energy we can produce ourselves helps us to achieve our goals. We are currently in the process of installing our largest solar photovoltaic (PV) system yet at our White Rose centre in Leeds. The 785 kilowatt peak (kWp) system will produce 20% of our electricity demand on-site and will be the largest of its type in the UK. Our long-term goal is to install 3 megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity across our portfolio by 2030.

How does Landsec plan to monitor and track progress on doubling energy productivity?

We have tracked and reported our energy consumption and associated emissions for a number of years. Although our systems are mature we are always improving how data is collected and analyzed.

The move to using half-hourly meters certainly helps us understand our demand and ways we can reduce it. We report our environmental impacts yearly and so keep our customers and stakeholders in the loop as we continue our journey.

Energy efficiency has become a much-desired feature in new buildings, commonly associated with luxury and well-being, as well as better value for money. How do you think your customers will benefit from improved energy productivity across your portfolio?

I believe our customers benefit from our approach to energy management already, and will do so even more as we become more productive. In regards to existing buildings, our customers are seeing their running costs being managed effectively by improvements being made to how their buildings are run. Our management program includes not only our landlord usage but also the usage of our customers where we procure on their behalf. For a standard office building this is all the energy they use.

We see this as a great opportunity to engage with our customers, reduce their usage, trim their costs and help achieve shared goals. In terms of new developments, we are ingraining sustainability into everything we do. Whether it be building for energy efficiency, utilizing low carbon materials or improving employee wellbeing and productivity. We are designing buildings that meet our customers’ current needs and future requirements.

What advice would you give to other real estate companies who are thinking about joining EP100?

I’d advise anyone to review their long-term strategy and challenge it if energy-productivity is not an integral part. Energy productivity not only helps to deliver a better product today but also makes your buildings more resilient to future unknowns such as energy costs and supply.

We already have customers rating their rented accommodation by energy cost efficiency and I believe this is a trend that will only increase in the future. Low carbon is the economy and product of the future and increasing energy productivity is essential to its delivery.

 

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