Office space in England contracted by an estimated 18m square feet during the COVID-19 pandemic, the single largest shake-up of the sector has ever seen. Unsurprisingly developers reacted warily as occupancy levels remained low, and many older offices which no longer met the demands of a modern employer or stringent environmental standards were decommissioned or transferred to domestic applications. This has been especially pronounced in smaller cities and away from central business districts.
Despite this, rents for prime offices – classified by good location, accessibility, and energy efficiency of the premises – are increasing in all major UK cities. This is being driven by developers reacting to pressure to make more versatile offices spaces, supporting the growth of agile working and greener by supporting shifting work patterns and meeting new environmental regulation. These workspaces demand fully equipped premises – often with reception, meeting rooms, dedicated cloakrooms and shower facilities, break rooms, on-premises cafés and canteens – and a wider working environment that addresses sustainability in line with corporate social responsibility.
With concerns over the rise in emissions – and their effects on the global climate – larger, more forward looking organisations are already realising and embracing the importance and value of embedding sustainability into growth & development strategies. This is distinguishing them from the majority however, which rely on legacy office space. Recent studies suggest more than 70% of the UK’s current office stock will still be in use by 2050, the majority of which currently suffer from a lack of retrofit needed to make them more energy efficient, comfortable, and attractive to workers. These aging buildings will be directly challenged by modern shared working space and should be recognised as becoming a primary cause for employment churn in the near term.
Adveco can help address these growing concerns. As the specialist in the design and supply of sustainable hot water applications we can help address the sustainability of office spaces today. Unless a new build, which will be electrical-based, most refurbishments will look to either improve on existing gas systems or aim to completely replace them with electrical alternatives, typically heat pumps and/or electric heating with a boiler. This has additional implications on operational expense due to higher electricity costs, but carbon emissions can be reduced by 70% compared to previous gas-fired applications. So, we would also advocate the use of solar thermal which can offsets at least 30% of annual hot water energy demands, further reducing carbon, and operational costs whether using gas or electric. Adveco also offers metering for your office site, providing a hot water application design which can help support lower cost sustainability strategies.