Our award-winning interdisciplinary sustainability team brings together industry leading expertise from a range of focus areas including net zero carbon, building performance, climate resilience, social value, circular economy, embodied carbon and advanced simulation.

Our strong relationships with policy makers, academics and industry partners provide our sustainability consultants with a unique understanding of the legislative, competitor and consumer landscape, which we bring to our work on new build and refurbishment projects across all sectors

We take a ‘whole life’ approach, considering both the embodied and operational impacts of our projects, whilst driving clean construction, future proofing and performance verification. Our team was awarded NCE100 Impact in Climate Resilience Award and in 2018, 2019 and 2020 we won ‘CIBSE Building Performance Consultancy of the Year’.

We were one of the first consultancy practices to sign the World GBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, demonstrating our commitment to invest and lead this agenda. As a practice we also established Engineers Declare, enabling the industry to collectively come together and tackle the global climate and biodiversity emergency.

Our sustainability consultancy services include:



Making a global impact

As leaders in sustainability consultancy our team works on some world leading masterplans including The High Line in New York.

We work extensively with C40 Cities to generate original research, thought leadership, tools and methodologies and pilot these with cities across the world. Our team led a major two-year programme of technical assistance to 25 global cities to assess the air quality, health and economic benefits of climate action. Our sustainability consultants also led a C40 study into the multiple benefits of deep retrofit, including job creation, as well as reduced energy poverty, asthma and cold mortality.

For New York City, we developed the action plan to align the city to principles of the Paris Agreement, reaffirming the city’s commitment to do its part to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Members of our Boston office also contributed to authoring the proposed Net Zero stretch energy code (“E-Z Code”) for Massachusetts, building off the AIA Zero Code.

For Los Angeles County we developed the first Countywide Sustainability Plan and Green House Gas Inventory for the county working extensively with community-based organisations, advocacy groups, County agencies and incorporated cities. We have produced collaborative Sustainability Plans for a number of Universities including University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina and University College London. Our sustainability consultants brought together University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford in a collaborative design sprint on student mental health.

Working with the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA) and Greater London Authority (GLA) we led a technical viability study on connecting existing buildings to 4th generation district heat networks. For the GLA, we also developed the evidence base to set the new ‘Lean’ energy efficiency targets in the London Plan. For Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, we led a tall building energy, daylight and overheating study of 69,000 homes and 17,000 commercial spaces to produce design guidelines for high-rise development. 

Our expert team provides sustainability leadership on some of the world’s largest masterplans, including the Red Sea and KACARE. Examples of our regeneration work includes the New York High Line, Stratford Waterfront at East Bank and the Mayfield masterplan. At every stage of our involvement we ensure responsible decisions are made, putting nature and society at the heart of our approach.

The highest standards of sustainability

One Angel Square, the highest ever BREEAM Outstanding score in the UK at the time of certification.

We have delivered some of the world’s most sustainable buildings including ‘The House’ at Cornell Tech, the world’s largest Passive House as well as the ‘Living Building Challenge’ certified Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Laboratory. Our Living Building Challenge certified Hitchcock Centre achieved net positive energy and water in operation, with 75% of materials locally sourced and the total embodied carbon of all materials offset through a carbon exchange program.

We are Pioneering Delivery Partners for ‘Design for Performance’ and are leading advanced HVAC simulation on Statesman House and 4 Angel Square. We led the net zero energy strategy at Dubai Expo 2020 Sustainability Pavilion incorporating innovative ‘Energy trees’, as well as engineering ground-air earth tubes at University of Exeter Forum. In terms of embodied carbon, our ingenuity saved over 3,300 tonnes of carbon at 5 Broadgate.

Our team of sustainability experts is responsible for some of the UK’s highest-rated sustainable buildings, such as 2 Redman Place achieving a BREEAM Outstanding score of 94%, where rainwater harvesting saves the equivalent of four and a half Olympic swimming pools of water each year. At One Angel Square, the Co-operative headquarters in Manchester we achieved the highest ever BREEAM Outstanding score in the UK (95.1%) at the time of certification.

In the USA, we have a wealth of experience delivering LEED Platinum projects include The Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh and 888 Boylston. Another LEED Platinum project is San Joaquin Villages, which incorporated a comprehensive materials selection strategy including resilient sheet flooring comprised of 50% post-industrial recycled matter. Our Los Angeles office at 800 Wilshire Boulevard is LEED v3 Platinum, LEED v4 Gold and WELL Gold Certified.

Building on success from HKJC Communications and Technology Centre, our Hong Kong office are working towards LEED Gold and LEED Platinum, and WELL Platinum at Spring City 66 in Kunmin, China. In Mumbai, our team led building physics engineering for the LEED Platinum Godrej BKC and the passively cooled Shimoga Processing Centre. Our Berlin team delivered DGNB platinum at the HumboldtHafenEins office building. Our Warsaw office is also WELL Gold certified and helped deliver the BREEAM International Excellent rated, Q22.

An evolving sustainability agenda

David Attenborough Building
We developed a bespoke sustainability framework for the David Attenborough Building refurbishment.

We are also active members of UK Green Building Council and World Green Building Council including advisory groups on Delivering Social Value, Circular Economy and Advancing Net Zero Renewables and Offsetting. We have a strong track record of investment in Engineering Doctorate (EngD) and industrial PhDs to give us leading insights. Many staff globally are members of boards, organisations, and/or visiting lecturers at universities.

With Lendlease, we co-developed the ‘Loneliness Lab’ seeking to improve mental health in the workplace. In Los Angeles we established the “Collective Impact” event series bringing together industry to create more sustainable and equitable communities. In Leeds, our team brought together developers, policy-makers, academics and engineers to see how regeneration be a catalyst for fair and inclusive climate action.

Working extensively with stakeholders for the David Attenborough Building refurbishment we developed a bespoke sustainability framework setting over 50 targets spanning design, construction and operation. At the Urban Sciences Building we developed a similar framework focusing on digital urban sustainability. Further examples of our extensive stakeholder engagement work include Zero Carbon Cornwall and West of England zero carbon workshop.

The practice invests heavily in computational engineering, embodied carbon toolkits, machine learning, parametric modelling, digital twins, and our open-source propriety ‘Building Habitats and Object Model’ (BHoM) enabling seamless interoperability between different software platforms. We used these tools to engineer optimal thermal comfort at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and The Louvre, Abu Dhabi. Similar, at Jabal Omar we undertook extensive computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations and Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI) analysis to optimise pedestrian comfort.

As responsible sustainability consultants, closing the loop is important to us. We have extensive experience in Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE), including our work at 22 Gordon Street, winner of the 2020 CIBSE Building Performance “Retrofit of the Year”, Morphosis offices and the Bower Ashton campus, where we were also Soft Landings champion. At an organisational level, we wrote the POE guidelines for University College London and also authored POE planning policy for Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.

From pioneering ultra-low embodied carbon materials to developing net zero carbon strategies for cities, we are passionate about transitioning to a socially and environmentally just society for all. Find out how we can help you achieve your goals by contacting our sustainability team.

In focus

Delivering net zero carbon strategies

Buro Happold is at the forefront of driving the net zero carbon agenda. Committed to developing and sharing knowledge of this critical issue across engineering and construction, we were among the first signatories to the World Green Building Council Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration. Moreover, Buro Happold has a seat on the steering group for the UK Green Building Council net zero carbon buildings framework definition task group. Our sustainability experts also contribute to the C40 Cities initiative in an advisory capacity.

Our sustainability and carbon management experts help city leaders, developers, building owners and architects create, and deliver, net zero carbon action plans.

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