Climate protection or maximal user quality? Moorgate 51 proves both are possible

Strict energy efficiency and climate protection requirements have applied to new buildings since January first, 2021. Nearly climate-neutral operation is already standard in that category. The situation is very different in existing buildings. Older buildings often have a high energy consumption and therefore high operating costs. The old heating technology often leads to enormous CO2 emissions, and the design of the buildings no longer meets our current requirements for modern workplaces.

A complete demolition and new construction according to the latest standards might seem the first logical thought. However, an extensive revitalization of the building can also be the more promising solution, as shown by the London office building ‘Moorgate 51’, which Deka Immobilien acquired at the end of 2019.


“Moorgate 51 is an existing building that is now ready for the future thanks to energy-efficient and climate-friendly operation and a focus on health and wellbeing.”

Donal Campbell, Project Manager Real Estate at Deka Immobilien

A revitalization in the heart of the financial district

At first glance, ‘Moorgate 51’ in central London looks like a new building harmoniously embedded in the streetscape. This is deceptive, as the office building dates back to the 1980s and underwent a holistic ‘update’ in 2018 through fall 2019. Today, this Grade A office building with around 4,300 m2 of rental space is one of the sustainable showpieces for CO2-neutral operation and excellent user quality.

As part of the revitalization, the building was stripped back to its supporting structure. The roof was completely renewed and a seventh floor was added as a roof structure. This created approximately 10% more floor space. The new façade is made of natural Portland stone with brass detailing and is designed to carry natural light deep into the interior and regulate heat gain via solar radiation. Preserving the building's structure not only minimized waste, but also saved significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to a new building of similar scale, this equals about 40% of the total carbon emissions over the life of the building.

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Sustainability qualities Moorgate 51

Less CO2 in operation

Renewable energies and innovative technologies are used for heating and cooling. The building is heated and cooled by air-to-water heat pumps: in heating mode, the heat pumps extract energy from the outside air and use it to heat water, which is then distributed to the floors. This also ensures a constantly pleasant indoor climate. In cooling mode, this principle works in reverse. Heat is extracted from the air in the building and released into the atmosphere. Fossil fuels, as with gas boilers, are thus superfluous, which is why the former gas connection could be decommissioned.
Moreover, since the conversion, the entire building has been powered exclusively by electricity generated from renewable sources. This also includes our tenant Skanska. Among other green clauses in its lease, the Swedish company has committed to using green electricity.

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Made for the user

In addition to more sustainability in day-to-day operations through efficient consumption and emission reductions, the architects wanted to create a family atmosphere for Skanska's headquarters where everyone feels comfortable. This is reflected in the open workplace design as well as the numerous, diverse elements that invite interaction and foster a strong collaboration culture. The design includes movable walls, break rooms, lunch areas and kitchenettes on each floor, as well as a special technology-free ‘feel-good’ room. Natural colours and materials were used throughout.

The building is also designed to benefit not only users but also visitors from its sustainable focus. The publicly accessible café perfectly matches the sustainable building concept.

Pioneer and role model for sustainable revitalisation and user comfort.

‘Moorgate 51’ achieved the BREEAM UK ‘Excellent’ status (Refurbishment and Fit-out 2014: Office) after refurbishment with 81.2%. It obtained maximum scores for energy, management, materials, land use and ecology, and is also the first UK office building to achieve a Platinum WELL certification (v2 Pilot Building Standard). This is the highest certification awarded by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).
IWBI's certification recognised projects with a particular focus on human health and the well-being of tenants and occupants. The standard takes a holistic approach and includes ten performance criteria: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Movement, Thermal Comfort, Sound, Materials, Mind and Community. Not only the office space but also the café meet these ambitious specifications.
At the same time, ‘Moorgate 51’ was certified with the WELL Health-Safety Seal. This proves that the building is designed in such a way that the health of the office users is protected in the best possible way at all times, by controlling the air quality and the number of people in a room, among other things. Experts from the COVID 19 task force also evaluate measures to reduce the risk of transmission, for example, as well as other long-term health and safety features.

Implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals:

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3 Good Health and Well-being

Successful WELL certification by focusing on the health
and well-being of users through the use of pollutant-free
materials in interior construction.

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6 Clean Water and Sanitation

Use of water-efficient fixtures and use of rainwater for toilet flushing.

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7 Affordable and Clean Energy

High energy efficiency, use of innovative technology such as
air-to-water heat pumps and CO2-neutral operation through
green electricity in both general and rental spaces.

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11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Modernisation and extension of an existing building in the centre of London.

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12 Responsible Consumption and Production

Not only were materials saved or reused by opting for revitalisation
instead of a new construction, waste was also avoided.

Further insights into practice