Workman and Hermes – Sustainability Partnership at Crystal Peaks


Property management firm Workman delivers a broad range of initiatives to meet and exceed clients’ sustainability objectives. It puts property owner Hermes Investment Management’s Responsible Property Investment (RPI) strategy into action on a daily basis at 50 properties. At Crystal Peaks Shopping Mall and Retail Park near Sheffield, the partnership between Hermes and Workman has delivered commercial, environmental and social benefits, demonstrating what can be achieved when owners and managing agents work effectively together on sustainability.





Workman is the UK’s largest independent commercial property management and building consultancy firm, with an Environmental and Sustainability Team that works closely with property teams and shares best practice. Hermes Investment Management is one of the UK’s largest institutional asset managers, which aims to deliver excellent, long-term investment performance – responsibly. Workman won Hermes’ Best RPI Property Manager Award 2014.

Crystal Peaks Shopping Mall and Retail Park is an out of town district shopping centre located seven miles south east of Sheffield. Covering nearly 40 acres, it offers over 100 stores and attracts 13 million visitors a year. It has been managed by Workman on behalf of Hermes since 2012. Crystal Peaks won Hermes’ Best RPI Initiative Award 2013, with projects led by Centre Manager Lee Greenwood. Footfall at the Centre has risen by 10% from 2009 to 2014.



  • 100 kWp solar PV (photovoltaic) installation, covering 640 m2 of flat and sloped roofs, with electricity sold to occupiers at a 10% discount on standard rates and the option to sell surplus energy to the National Grid
  • 900 light fittings replaced with LEDs in the malls, management office and car park areas since 2013, through a phased replacement programme, as well as motion sensors and timers installed in 90% of back of house areas and daylight sensors and timers in car parks, cutting electricity use for lighting by 18%
  • Energy efficiency is a key factor for all plant replacements, with recent upgrades due to life expiry including two over-door heaters and two air handling units, as well as upgrades to the building management system (BMS) network and lighting controls, which will enable more responsive and flexible management of heating, cooling and lighting across the site.


To celebrate Crystal Peaks’ 25th anniversary in 2013, the team built on its longstanding community programme to pledge support for 25 local projects through donations, fundraising, volunteering and awareness raising activities.

Ongoing partnerships continuing from this initiative include:

  • St Luke’s Hospice charity shop in the Centre since 2013, with annual sales of over £240,000. When the shop relocated to a new unit in 2015, the Crystal Peaks team piloted the Centre’s first car boot sale to raise funds and awareness for the charity, attracting 93 stall holders and raising £700
  • New Hope Food Bank for those in crisis, with information boards and a weekly food collection at Crystal Peaks since 2013, staffed by volunteers including members of the Crystal Peaks team
  • Westfield School, with games, competitions and activities for local primary schoolchildren at Crystal Peaks in 2013, followed by pop-up shops run by pupils in 2014/15, raising £21,000 for an educational trip to Malawi
  • Crystal Peaks Runners, who meet at the Centre for weekly runs, represent Crystal Peaks at races around the UK and raise funds for charities
  • Beighton Magpies local football club, which Crystal peaks has sponsored since 2013, supporting 30 teams of children and adults, with Crystal Peaks’ Cleaning Manager also coaching one of the youth teams
  • Riverside Stewardship Company volunteering days each month to help clean up the Ochre Dike, which flows alongside Crystal Peaks, linking to Crystal Peaks’ community biodiversity project. More here

Additional RPI initiatives:

  • Recycling cardboard, polythene, paper, glass, aluminium, organic garden waste and some food waste, with new measures being explored to re-use wooden pallets and recycle more food waste
  • Low flush toilets and urinals, as well as online water monitoring, with weekly checks for leaks and monthly reviews of usage in occupier areas
  • Two free electric car charging points used daily, as well as a public transport trial in 2014 to encourage retail staff to leave their cars at home, with 75 people taking part and 92% of those surveyed afterwards saying they would continue to use public transport.

Financials and benefits

Energy efficiency

  • 53% reduction in energy use from 2008 to 2014
  • £433,000 savings for occupiers since 2008 on gas and National Grid electricity
  • 2,900 tonnes less CO2 since 2008, supporting Hermes’ target to reduce CO2 by 40% by 2020 versus 2006
  • £93,000 invested in LEDs since 2011, with payback within four years from energy cost savings and reduced maintenance and replacement costs as the LEDs last five times longer than traditional fittings.

Solar PVs

  • £200,000 investment by Hermes, generating a forecast return of 10% over 25 years
  • £53,600 income for Hermes since 2013, from Feed-In Tariffs and recharges to the service charge
  • 10% lower electricity rates for occupiers on renewable energy, versus National Grid electricity
  • 223,700 kWh of renewable energy since 2013 (6% above target), powering all common areas and reducing National Grid reliance
  • 121 tonnes less CO2 emissions since 2013.


  • £25,000 investment through the service charge for the 25th anniversary community programme in 2013
  • £103,400 in PR value from community investment since 2013
  • Increased footfall and sales, with community activities focusing on the Centre’s primary and secondary catchment areas, e.g. the charity car boot sale saw a 16% increase in footfall on the day and sales up 30% at McDonalds, 18% at Subway and 10% at Sainsbury’s.

Challenges & Achievements



How can managing agents and owners work together effectively on sustainability?


Hermes’ RPI strategy provides the overall sustainability goals and Workman’s property managers take a proactive approach to identifying opportunities on site. For initiatives that require capital expenditure, property managers meet with the relevant Hermes asset manager and review all details, including payback periods. Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) works are funded both through the service charge and by Hermes. Property managers receive monthly building performance reports from Carbon Credentials, which they review with asset managers at monthly meetings. In 2014, Workman also organised a training day by Carbon Credentials for property managers in Hermes buildings, e.g. improving their ability to interpret energy graphs. Hermes also holds annual RPI awards to encourage property managers and others to go above and beyond on sustainability, and publishes an annual RPI Report to share good practice. Hermes’ RPI principles are included in contracts with key suppliers, including Workman, which won Hermes’ Best RPI Property Manager Award 2014. 



How to deliver a PV installation at a shopping centre?


Workman carried out site surveys at Crystal Peaks and obtained costs, following discussions with Hermes. Hermes agreed to fund installations on four south facing roofs. Hermes commissioned Syzygy Renewables to procure and project manage the installations, providing structural and technical consultation, arranging planning consent and establishing the roofs as structurally viable through loading calculations and fixing design. The Workman team at Crystal Peaks led the project on the ground, dealing with the practical requirements of the installer, Sundog Energy. Generation capacity was split across two 50 kWp installations to qualify for the Government’s higher Feed-In Tariff. The installation was the first in Europe to use the Trinamount III mounting solution, which halves the installation time by reducing the number of parts and eliminating the need for traditional mounting rails. From order through to final installation, the project was delivered in six weeks, with timings advanced after it was announced that Feed-In Tariffs would be reduced after July 2012. Tours of the installation have been held for local environmental groups and students. 



How to plan for a car boot sale at a busy shopping centre?


After drafting the terms and conditions, Workman applied to the local authority for a licence for up to 100 stalls. They scheduled the event for a Sunday morning before the Centre was fully open to minimise disruption and impact on trade due to lost parking spaces. All stalls were pre-booked for £5, donated to St Luke’s Hospice. The layout segregated cars from people and gave each stall holder one space for their car and another for their stall. The team liaised closely with retailers, including asking food and beverage retailers to open early. Stall holders donated 100 bags of leftover items to St Luke’s Hospice, and the charity had volunteers collecting and giving out information on the day. St Luke’s Hospice described the day as ‘fantastic’, 98% of stall holders would like to participate again, and several retailers saw increased sales – a win/win for all.

Find out more

Vicky Cotton

Environmental Director



Lee Greenwood

Centre Manager

Crystal Peaks Shopping Mall and Retail Park


Relevant links and downloads

Local Partnership Creates Wildlife Corridor at Crystal Peaks - case study

“Workman has shown a determined commitment to take on Hermes’ ambitious sustainability requirements and implement them across the complex and diverse portfolio they manage on our behalf.”

Tatiana Bosteels, Head of RPI at Hermes Investment Management