Savills Achieves BREEAM Outstanding In-Use at Kings Place


At Kings Place, Savills has achieved the UK’s highest ever BREEAM rating for property management, on behalf of Deka Immobilien GmbH and WestInvest GmbH. To improve the building’s sustainability performance, Savills worked with Deka, occupiers and contractors at Kings Place on a range of initiatives to promote health and wellbeing, encourage biodiversity, enhance energy efficiency and reduce water consumption. Kings Place is part of a wider programme of BREEAM In-Use certification that Savills is rolling out for Deka. 






Savills Property Management team manages a significant  portfolio of office, retail, leisure, residential  and industrial assets across the UK, ingraining a strong commitment to sustainability.

Kings Place is an iconic mixed-use building on the Regents Canal in London, close to King’s Cross St Pancras. Completed in 2008, Kings Place provides 31,000m2 of office space, let to high profile, blue chip organisations, and 3,500m2 of leisure space, including concert halls, art galleries, a restaurant, café and event facilities.

Kings Place is owned by Deka Immobilien GmbH’s WestInvest InterSelect fund and managed by Savills (UK). Deka requires sustainability certifications, such as BREEAM In-Use, as they are valued by investors and occupiers. Savills is working to achieve BREEAM In-Use across all properties it manages for Deka, as well as at properties for other clients. RPS Group assessed Kings Place through BREEAM In-Use International 2015.

Thomas Vazakas, BREEAM Assessor, commented: “Kings Place’s success in management and operation relies on a proactive and passionate building management team and an excellent relationship between the building management, building users and building owner.


The Savills building management team, Andy Kerr and Sylvain Thouzeau, implemented a series of initiatives to upgrade the building’s sustainability performance and maximise BREEAM credits.

Health and wellbeing

  • Installed new CO2, CO and NOx sensors to monitor and improve indoor air quality, optimising plant operations for both efficiency and wellbeing.
  • Implemented new policies to minimise volatile organic compounds (VOC) and reduce exposure to chemicals and dust from works. This included working with the cleaning contractor to eliminate harmful cleaning products, e.g. installing a high capacity cleaning system (Lotus Pro) that turns tap water into a natural cleaning agent.
  • Added internal planting to absorb indoor pollutants and improve air quality.

Land use and ecology

  • Developed a biodiversity plan to enhance ecological value. This included installing bat and bird boxes, and planting native species, such as quaking grass, field rose, wild daffodil and cornflower, and plants that encourage pollinators, such as blue bugle, chives, chamomile and field scabious.


  • Replaced lighting with energy efficient LEDs in common areas and reviewed the building lighting schedule.
  • Worked with the mechanical and electrical contractor to identify energy saving opportunities and incorporate them into preventative maintenance plans, e.g. fitting energy efficient filters for air handling units.


  • Replaced taps with low-flow sensor taps.
  • Installed a water butt to collect rainwater and re-use it to water the green roof.


  • Switched to recycled consumables for toilets. This also reduced reported blockages.
  • Challenged the window cleaning contractor to create an eco-friendly window cleaning product that would keep windows clean for longer. This also reduced local atmospheric pollution through photocatalytic activity.


Environmental Action Plan sets out annual improvement objectives for areas including energy, water, waste, transport, stakeholders, operational management, land use and ecology, health and wellbeing.
New key performance indicators for environmental, economic and social performance.
Performance reviewed quarterly and key objectives communicated at quarterly occupier meetings.


  • £65k invested in rooftop solar PV array, the system is expected to produce 42MWh of electricity annually and payback within 10 years.
  • £900 BRE fees for measurement and certification.
  • £4,000 for consultancy support time and BREEAM In-Use assessor verification.
  • £550 for annual renewal of certification (certificates are valid for three years).


  • Contributing to an overall satisfaction score of 100% at Kings Place in 2016, supporting the five-star policy for service to occupiers and members of the public visiting the building. Occupiers can provide feedback through interactive display points and this data is regularly reviewed by the management team.
  • Achieving an internationally recognised sustainability standard at Kings Place – supporting the sustainability objectives and credentials of Deka, Savills and occupiers.
  • Enhancing the marketability of Kings Place. For commercial occupiers, certification can be a condition of signing a lease agreement. According to the World Green Building Council, BREEAM certified buildings reported rental rate increases of 19.7% globally in 2013, versus conventional unrated office buildings.

Sustainability upgrades resulted in:

  • 30 MWh of electricity savings per year from LED lighting – cutting costs and CO2 emissions.
  • 12% reduction in water use in toilet areas from low-flow taps.
  • 26% reduction in cleaning chemical usage – supporting wellbeing.

Challenges & Achievements



How to maximise BREEAM In-Use credits?


The project was staged so the building management team had six months to make improvements before the final assessment. All team members were highly engaged and keen to demonstrate that Kings Place performs well. They commissioned technical assessments of air quality, lighting, acoustic levels, ecology and night time light pollution, incorporating the findings into the asset sustainability plan. They also identified improvement opportunities through the preliminary BREEAM assessment, which indicated that Kings Place would score 63% for asset performance and 59% for building management. The final scores were 75% and 95% respectively. Savills is now working to replicate elements of this strategy at Kings Place to improve the performance of other assets.



How to engage occupiers?


The building team and occupiers at Kings Place have worked together on sustainability for several years. This has contributed to a 10% reduction in electricity use and a 35% cut in gas use from 2012 to 2015, as well as an increase in recycling to 78%. Savills initially focused on BREEAM In-Use Part 1 asset performance and Part 2 building management, as these are areas where Savills has management control and direct access to information. Part 3 looks at occupier management. Savills is now exploring with occupiers the potential for a Part 3 assessment. This is more common in single-let buildings, whereas Kings Place is multi-let and mixed-use. However, there is strong occupier interest during meetings, particularly following the success of the Part 1 and 2 assessments. Kings Place occupiers are using the BREEAM Outstanding In-Use in their communications. Occupier engagement has been important in gaining buy-in on planned improvements, such as the installation of a solar PV array on the roof.



How to gather the necessary evidence?


At Kings Place, the team’s strong record keeping meant they could provide all the evidence required. However, in many buildings, documents from the construction phase are simply not available, e.g. for the specification and testing of equipment, and so some credits are missed. This is due to a wider industry issue regarding commissioning and the handover from development to management. BRE is also prescriptive about what evidence is valid. For instance, for energy data, supplier invoices are required, rather than meter readings. Similarly, waste contractors need to confirm in writing where waste has gone; standard waste reports are not enough. A revision is planned for BREEAM In-Use, which hopefully will address some issues. In addition, Savills is working with BRE, Redevco and Longevity on a pilot to establish a methodology to make the whole process more efficient for large portfolios, whilst maintaining robustness. For instance, if the same Environmental Policy is applied across a portfolio of ten properties, once it has been assessed at one property, this could be applied to all ten. More on this project here.

Find out more


Alan Page

Sustainability Consultant


“The BREEAM In-Use assessment and certification scheme takes a holistic approach to review a wide range of environmental and social impacts in buildings and provides a means of determining areas of improvement. We were keen to take this route at Kings Place not only as a challenge but to improve our sustainability performance, drive our services towards an outstanding level and develop our practices beyond the industry standards.”

Sylvain Thouzeau, Building Performance Manager, Savills (UK) Ltd