Some are calling One Angel Square in Manchester ‘the most environmentally-friendly building in the world', and it might be true considering it's the highest scoring BREEAM building. The new headquarters for the Co-operative Group boasts a number of sustainable strategies including a high performance, double-skinned facade, earth tubes for heating and cooling, rainwater harvesting and much more. 3DReid, the architects behind the project, even went so far as to future-proof the building in anticipation of a three to five degree increase in summer temperatures and a 30 percent increase in winter rainfall. The building was completed this year and it officially opened with the help of the Queen during a royal visit.
One Angel Square is a 500,000 sq ft, 14-story building right in downtown of Manchester. Now the largest building in the city, it is part of a larger effort to redevelop the core and is strategically located to Victoria Station, the city’s major commuter hub. 3DReid and the Co-operative Group were aiming high from the start to create a highly sustainable building. With its completion in the middle of 2013, One Angel Square was awarded BREEAM Outstanding with a score of 95.16 percent – the highest ever achieved. The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, visited the office building on November 14, 2013 to officially open it to the public.
Compared to its old headquarters, One Angel Square reduces energy use by 50 percent with an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions. This is achieved through a highly engineered design relying on passive solar, thermal mass, innovative materials and efficient systems. Massing, orientation, solar shading and the double-skinned facade work to provide daylighting without overheating, while thermal mass soaks distributes heating (or cooling). Earth tubes use geothermal energy to provide energy efficient heating and cooling with the help of a CHP biomass system. Water efficient fixtures, rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling all work together to reduce water usage.
Beyond the sustainable building strategies, the Co-operative Group has also instituted operational changes to help reduce their carbon footprint like a green travel program and personal carbon trackers. With the award of the BREEAM Outstanding certification, the project is being heralded as the most eco-friendly building in the world. “This is a fantastic result, not just for the client and the team who worked so hard together to achieve this, but for the industry. There is a common mis-held belief that delivering truly sustainable buildings is expensive and a poor investment,” says Mike Hitchmough, Project Director at 3DReid. “With One Angel Square, we’ve proved on a massive scale that you can design large commercially viable office buildings, even in a regional market, that minimize waste, cost and environmental impact, through teamwork, intelligence and belief. I hope it sets an example that others strive to improve upon. That can only be good for future generations.”
Images ©Dan Hopkinson, Len Grant, Trevor Palin