A picture of the entrance foyer of the Moorgate 51 building with reception.

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

New buildings are subject to strict energy efficiency and climate protection requirements, with nearly climate-neutral operation already standard. Yet the situation is very different in existing buildings.

There’s no doubt that older buildings often consume a lot of energy and have high operating costs as a result. Many legacy heating systems are responsible for huge CO2 emissions, and the design of the buildings no longer meets today’s requirements for modern workplaces.

Tearing down these properties and building something new in line with the latest standards may seem the logical course of action. However, extensive revitalisation could be the better option, as shown by the London office building 51 Moorgate, which Deka Immobilien acquired at the end of 2019.

The modern entrance area of the Moorgate building in London. A large rug with the name FIFTY ONE MOORGATE lies in front of the lifts.

51 Moorgate is an important addition to our sustainability-focused portfolio. It is a prime example of successful revitalisation according to the highest environmental standards and offers maximum tenant comfort – a win-win situation for everyone.

Donal Campbell Project Manager Real Estate

A revitalisation project in the heart of the financial district

At first glance, 51 Moorgate in central London looks like a new building harmoniously embedded in the streetscape. However, the office property actually dates back to the 1980s and was completely overhauled from 2018 to autumn 2019. Today, the grade A office building with a leasable area of around 4,300 qm is a prime example of carbon-neutral operation and excellent user quality thanks to its sustainability.

As part of its revitalisation, 51 Moorgate was stripped back to its supporting structure. The roof was completely renewed, and a seventh floor was added as a roof structure to create roughly 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 from solar radiation.

The revitalisation paid off twice, since preserving the building’s structure both minimised waste and saved significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to a new building of a similar size, this equates to around 40% of the total carbon emissions over the life of the property.

Three circular pictures of the Moorgate building in London on a beige background. Other circles including a variety of text are positioned around the pictures.

Sustainability features of 51 Moorgate

  • An icon for CO2 free building technology. It shows two hands holding a globe in white outline against light green background.

    Less CO2 in operation

    In the complex process of revitalising the building, the planners focused their attentions on using low-energy and highly efficient technology. As a result, much has changed inside the building. 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 therefore 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 agreement, the Swedish company has committed to using green electricity.

  • An icon that shows the well-being of the user. Two people are planting a seedling whose roots have the shape of a heart symbol. The outline is white, the background is light green.

    Made for the user

    User comfort was another high priority at the planning stage, alongside energy-efficient operation. 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 open spaces that invite interaction and foster a strong collaboration culture. Interdisciplinary project teams can meet in the office spaces on the upper floors to share their knowledge and expertise. 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

The conversion and fit-out of its office space in 2014 earned 51 Moorgate a BREEAM UK Excellent rating with a score of 81.2%, as well as the maximum number of points for energy, management, materials, land use and ecology. On top of that, 51 Moorgate is the first British office building to gain Platinum WELL certification (v2 Pilot Building Standard) – the highest level of recognition from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI).

IWBI’s certification honours projects with a particular focus on human health and the well-being of tenants and occupants. The standard takes an integrated approach and includes ten performance criteria: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community. Both the office space and the café meet these ambitious requirements.

At the same time, 51 Moorgate 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 optimally protected at all times by controlling the air quality and the number of people in a room, among other factors. Experts from the COVID-19 task force also assess measures aimed at reducing the risk of transmission, for example, as well as other long-term health and safety features.

Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Icon of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 3. To the right of the number is written "Good health and well-being". Below that, a cardiac tension curve and a heart symbol, in white against a green background.

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 fittings.

Icon of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 6. To the right of the number is written "Clean water and sanitation". Below that, a water glass with a downward arrow in white outlines against a light blue background.

6 Clean water and sanitation

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

Icon of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 7. To the right of the number is written "Affordable and clean energy". Below that, a sun with a power button icon in white on a yellow background.

7 Affordable and clean energy

High energy efficiency, use of innovative technology such as air-to-water heat pumps and carbon-neutral operation through green electricity in both common and leasable areas.

Icon of UN Sustainable Development Goal number 11. To the right of the number is written "Sustainable Cities and Communities". Below it, various buildings in white outlines against an orange background.

11 Sustainable cities and communities

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

Icon of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 12. To the right of the number is written "Responsible consumption and production". Below it, an endless loop in white against a brown background.

12 Responsible consumption and production

The decision to overhaul the property rather than build a new one made it possible to save or reuse materials and avoid waste.