Our Thoughts
Tue, 04/06/2024 - 12:00
· 2 min read

Tower 42: A Story of Continuous Improvement

Tower 42 once stood isolated on London’s skyline. As the UK’s tallest building between 1980 until 1991, the Richard Seifert & Partners-designed icon forged a path that other tall buildings would follow.

Tower 42 now sits in a cluster of tall buildings, but it is again forging a path as governments and institutions attempt to bring architectural icons into a lower carbon era. BNP Paribas Real Estate experts are working with the landlord and tenants of Tower 42 to lower the building’s operational emissions, going beyond legislative targets to position the property as a low carbon pioneer. “Instead of just carrying on as we have done for decades, refurbishing floors when they come empty, more landlords are starting to make decisions with an eye on the horizon,” says Tanya Whetstone, a director in our building consultancy team. “It’s really a case of ensuring landlords are making the right long-term decisions now, and are spending their money where it really counts.”

Brand new buildings with the best sustainability credentials receive the most attention, but there is now growing awareness among occupiers that existing buildings can offer a more sustainable option. The construction industry is responsible for up to 40% of UK emissions. Around 50,000 buildings are demolished each year and, while 90% of the resulting waste is recovered, it is often recycled into less valuable products and materials, according to reporting by Architects Journal. That means 35% of the whole-life carbon of a typical office development will already have been emitted by practical completion, according to the RICS.

Occupiers are increasingly buying into the stories that existing buildings have to offer, and are often surprised by what’s possible, Tanya says. Tower 42 is now fully electrified and has green energy tariffs, and more upgrades in the pipeline. Last year state-of-the-art electric Air Source Heat Pumps were installed at Tower 42, replacing traditional gas-powered boilers and water-cooled chillers. The Tower is now fossil-fuel free and powered by 100% green energy tariff electricity. “We bring everyone together – M&E consultants, facilities management, asset management, and legal advisors all with a view to understanding the factors that will impact a pathway to lower emissions, like the landlord’s legal obligations,” Tanya concludes. The aim is to provide the right advice about efficient spending so we can futureproof the asset for the next generation.”

Read the next article, Beyond the Headlines: Five Perspectives on Decarbonisation or discover more from our ESG in Perspective magazine. 

Tower 42: A Story of Continuous Improvement