A unified BREEAM and sustainability record

At Unity, we recognise the significance of delivering Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) ‘Outstanding’ projects. Not only do our partners have an exceptional record of constructing sustainable buildings, but they are also BREEAM pioneers and leaders in our industry. They consistently strive to drive change and innovation and collaborate through knowledge sharing, which will help the UK achieve its net-zero by 2050 target.

Trailblazing partners

Each of our partners has a strong track record of constructing sustainable buildings, demonstrated by dozens of BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Excellent’ certificates between them. Sir Robert McAlpine achieved British Land’s first BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ score with 100 Liverpool Street. The team exceeded expectations by raising the certification from ‘Excellent’, acquired during the design stage, to ‘Outstanding’.

Sir Robert McAlpine also delivered the first BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ building in Scotland and the first laboratory in the UK with the University of St Andrews’ new Biomedical Sciences Research Complex. Sir Robert McAlpine is also aiming for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ score with the new ‘Springfield Village’ development in London, including a new tree-lined public park, mental health facilities, and new housing. 100% of their timber is being responsibly sourced, forming one element of this sustainable project.

Meanwhile, WSP’s best in class BREEAM and Ecology teams were appointed by BRE Global to update their approach to Ecology calculation in 2018, informing BREEAM New Construction 2018 onwards. This changemaking quality is why WSP is playing an integral role on Curzon Street Station as lead consultant shaping a strategy that led to an unprecedented 55 per cent carbon emissions reduction over the 120-year lifecycle. Responding to HS2’s ambitions, the Curzon Street team is pursuing a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, and WSP continues to work with HS2 to push the scheme to an ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Similarly, VolkerFitzpatrick regularly delivers cutting-edge projects. In February 2022, they attained an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM rating for the Apex Park DC10 industrial development in Daventry, which surpassed its contractual obligation, registering a 56 per cent reduction in whole-life total carbon emissions. Apex Park DC10 was the first building in the UK to achieve this rating under the latest 2018 BREEAM New Construction guidance.

Going above and beyond

At Unity, one of our priorities is to deliver work as a partnership to meet our clients high BREEAM targets and net-zero aims. To do this, each of our partners constantly endeavour to develop innovative green technology and solutions to decarbonise their construction operations.

Sir Robert McAlpine provides their clients with a suite of sustainable assets, which have been created through their collective design and engineering excellence. One such aspect if this includes Sir Robert McAlpine’s transition to hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) on all of its sites and announced it would no longer purchase red diesel from April 2022. HVO fuel is produced from plant-based oils and waste. It is one of the cleanest on the market, eliminating up to 90 per cent of net carbon dioxide and significantly reducing nitrogen oxide, particular matter and carbon monoxide emissions. In collaboration with energy specialist Aggreko, Sir Robert McAlpine has also conducted successful hydrogen energy trials to power generator units and fuel cells integrated with battery storage to power tower cranes. This will help the team downsize generators, run operations more efficiently and decarbonise operations.

In the latest Apex Park DC10 BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ development, VolkerFitzpatrick focussed on recycling and reusing, alongside other commitments such as rainwater harvesting, air-source heat pumps and achieving an A+ Energy Performance Certificate. The project supports whole-life sustainability, creating a building “designed for disassembly”, contributing to the circular economy.

In addition to this, VolkerFitzpatrick also met its BREEAM ‘Excellent’ target at the Feltham depot by implementing several innovative technologies across the project to boost sustainability, including solar energy, smart filtration, and dust reduction. Inventive initiatives were also introduced to reduce road movements meaning over 2,300 vehicles were taken off local roads or the equivalent of planting 2,139 trees.

All three of our partners have signed up to the Science Based Targets Initiative Business Ambition to 1.5°C, meaning that they are all committed to setting a science-based target in line with a 1.5°C future.

To achieve this target, Sir Robert McAlpine implemented an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) car scheme for employees, incentivising staff to purchase electric vehicles. In April 2021, WSP announced its intention to achieve net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2040. The organisation also started measuring its climate impact by estimating its percentage of Clean Revenue, 43 per cent in 2020, defined as revenues earned from services that positively impact the environment. VolkerFitzpatrick set an ambitious target to have 20 per cent of its company car fleet transition to alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs) by the end of 2020. The target was surpassed, now more than 40 per cent of the fleet consists of AFVs, and 89 per cent of new orders are AFVs.

Unified by expertise and experience

Our partners are industry leaders, with Sir Robert McAlpine’s Fen Court shortlisted for Environment & Sustainability of the Year at the Construction News Awards, WSP named Most Sustainable Engineering Company by World Finance Magazine in Sustainability Awards and VolkerFitzpatrick winning a Gold Green Apple award for the BREEAM ‘Excellent’ Feltham train depot project.

Therefore, Unity is equipped to deliver BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ projects and set a new benchmark for sustainable infrastructure. The combined, integrated ambitions of our partners permeate through Unity, providing us with the right foundation to deliver sustainable projects.