Low Cost, Energy Efficient Buildings

Dale Potts
Grade A office space doesn’t need to cost the 'earth' - as the new Langley Point development located at Bath Row in Birmingham proves.

The new Langley Point development at Bath Row in Birmingham proves that Grade A office space doesn’t need to cost the 'earth'.

Faithful+Gould has worked closely with Trifolkes Stona LLP as Employer's Agents and Quantity Surveyors to help produce high quality, self contained office accommodation.

For an office to be considered Grade A space, it must be end-user ready with lighting, heating and carpet fitted. Washrooms must be tiled and plumbed in and suspended ceilings must be installed.

Attractive Prospects

Due to Langley Point’s use of the latest green technologies, enabling it to achieve BREEAM Excellent status, rent at the building will be low compared to other Grade A offices in Birmingham. This makes Langley Point a very attractive prospect for those keen to occupy low cost, high quality office space.

BREEAM Excellent status is a points based award that looks at the environmental impact of a building including:

  • how a building is managed
  • the health and wellbeing of employees
  • energy efficiency
  • transport links
  • water use
  • building materials used
  • waste
  • land use
  • pollution

Gordon McDonald, director at Faithful+Gould comments: "Langley Point paves the way for greener office space that utilises the most efficient, low carbon technology while still maintaining competitive rent below Birmingham's other Grade A accommodation, around the low £20s.

"Existing office stock from all over the Midlands will soon be finding it increasingly difficult to compete with Langley Point as its modest energy bills and environmental virtues will make it significantly more appealing to let."

Trigram director, Bill Houle comments: "This is the culmination of two years very hard work. Bringing together a like-minded team who shared one vision - a real confidence in the future of the ‘green office’ market. The City Council’s endorsement of our plans supports our belief that this scheme will set a new benchmark standard for City offices."

An artist's impression of the interior of the new Langley Point development

Best Environmental Practice

Faithful+Gould is firmly committed to ensuring their clients are given the best available advice to help minimalise a construction’s infringement on its surroundings and help meet government regulations. Our recently expanded Carbon Management Team of experts are an integral part of any project to enable best environmental practice and to ensure that the most sustainable methods are used during the whole life cycle of the building.

The 44,500 square foot Langley Point has had passive chilled beams installed to regulate temperature in a cleaner, more cost effective way. Often a gripe of occupiers intent on reducing expenditure, conventional mechanical air conditioning has been proven to leading to employees becoming unwell due to exposure of unhygienic air. Therefore, not only are companies losing revenue from employees taking sick days, the systems are hugely cost-inefficient.

Passive chilled beams use the principle of natural heat convection, harnessing nature to provide thermal comfort in the building. The overhead beams act as a radiator, using water to cool hot air below which naturally rises to the ceiling. Once the air is cooled, it sinks to the floor and the cycle will start again.

Due to their efficiency chilled beams are far more cost effective and also emit minimal levels of CO2. As they require fewer people to install and need less maintenance over their longer life cycle, they are a greener, cheaper alternative to orthodox systems.

Green Credentials

In addition, hot water for the Langley Point development is provided using solar panel heating, enhancing further its green credentials.

The versatility of the design ensures that space at Langley Point can be let on a single or multiple occupancy basis, allowing various companies, large or small, to operate from an environmentally responsible base.

However, its not just the design of the actual building itself that makes it so environmentally friendly: “Whilst the construction of the building and the services are an important part in achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating,” adds Gordon. “Great consideration has been given by all involved, to the effect the development will have on the local environment and community."

Sustainable Practice

"The design compliments the location aesthetically as it is a mirror image of the nearby Midland Heart building and is situated near all main public transport routes in Birmingham city centre."

Served by eight bus routes, within four minutes walking distance of Five Ways island, less than ten minutes walk from New Street Station as well as being on one of Birmingham’s strategic signed cycle routes, Langley Point is situated conveniently for those wishing to leave the car at home, cutting their own individual carbon footprint.

This landmark project combining the latest in sustainable practices with competitive prices in rent is sure to pave the way for many other environmentally responsible projects in Birmingham when it is completed in spring 2009.