Deborah visits Financial firm UBS

The global bank invited Deborah to their ground-breaking new headquarters at 5 Broadgate, which is located close to Liverpool Street Station. The state-of-the-art structure signals an exciting era of energy efficient architecture in London’s financial district. The certified BREEAM Excellent building won Edie’s Sustainability Leaders Awards 2018 in the Sustainable Building of the Year category earlier this month.

Eschewing the towering glass building design traditionally found in the city, UBS has opted to bring environmental concerns and social responsibility to the fore with its innovative new ‘groundscraper’ headquarters.

Housing more than 6,000 people, UBS’s new home at 5 Broadgate is a steel-coated, 12-story building with UBS projecting that it will produce 65% lower carbon emissions than the previous two buildings on the site. Through its sustainability measures, UBS predicts that it will reduce energy consumption by 53% compared to the legacy estate, with  a further 18% reduction by 2020.

During her visit to the future-proof workspace, Deborah spoke to Energy and Environmental Manager Paul Prendergast, who explained the different measures put in place to reach the company’s sustainability goals.

A huge part of this is how the building uses renewable energy, some of which is from the 850m² of photovoltaic panels – the highest number of panels on any commercial building in London, amounting to the electricity consumption of 10 British households. Deborah was also impressed with the rainwater harvesting system, which will reduce mains water use by 1.7 million litres per annum – enough to fill half of an Olympic swimming pool! The solar thermal panels, which are used to heat water, will save around 60 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Any waste produced by the building will be re-used as recyclable material, biogas, compost or energy.

Even throughout its development, 99.7% of construction waste was diverted from landfill through reuse and recycling. Planners made sure to leave 177m² free for a green roof space when constructing the building, planting many beautiful trees for an onsite habitat creation as well as pots of herbs for the building’s canteen.

Alongside the amazing performance of the building, levels of natural light and access to views and features have been crafted to support the wellbeing and productivity of the UBS team. Since moving into their new building, employees have cited 84% satisfaction compared to 64% pre-move.

As an active supporter of a number of environmental charities and initiatives, Deborah believes that UBS has set a new benchmark for workplace design at 5 Broadgate.

She said: “I was so impressed to see the initiatives taken by UBS at their new home in London. It’s so important that we all do everything we can to reduce our environmental impact! To see a large organisation take responsibility and create so many positive environmental changes is fantastic, and I hope to see others do the same soon.”