Grade II listed block on Regent Street is awarded highest eco rating for its green roof with solar panels and plants designed to attract birds, insects and bats

A refurbished London office, retail and leisure block, incorporating a green roof to attract wildlife to the capital’s West End, is the first Grade II listed building to achieve an “outstanding” environmental rating.

Hailed as the UK’s most sustainable historic building, the Regent Street office scheme, 7 Air Street, comes with an ecological roof incorporating flowers, vegetation, grasses and habitats for insects, birds and bats.

The launch of the green roof, by Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, marks the first pocket of new green space to be delivered by The Crown Estate as part of Wild West End, a partnership between London property owners to promote ecology in the heart of London’s built environment.

Putting on the finishing touches Snow, said: “London’s green spaces are an important part of what makes a great city to work, live and visit.

“Examples like 7 Air Street and Wild West End show that it’s possible to meet our needs for new infrastructure, whilst ensuring the city we develop for future generations doesn’t come at the expense of the natural world we all value so highly.”

The Crown Estate, whose £8.1bn property portfolio is one of the largest in the UK with revenues accruing to the Treasury, aims to incorporate a hectare of green space into its West End developments to make it ideal habitat for birds, bats and insect life.

A recent survey of buildings around Regent Street, Haymarket and Piccadilly Circus recorded the presence of robin-sized black redstarts, common pipistrelle and the rarer Leisler’s bat, pied wagtails, song thrushes and wrens.

The building has received BREEAM outstanding rating, the highest award possible from the industry body which judges best practice for sustainability in the built environment.

It features solar panels, low energy air conditioning, LED lighting and a unique central energy centre, powered by fuel cell technology, which saves around 350 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, while providing power to 500,000 sq ft of commercial and residential accommodation on Regent Street, including the Cafe Royal Hotel and the 20 Air Street office building.

Dr Gavin Dunn, director of BREEAM, said the building had achieved a BREEAM score of 94% and “significantly surpasses the benchmark required to achieve an outstanding rating, which also makes it the highest scoring office building assessed at completion against UK new Construction 2011.”

Alison Nimmo, chief executive of The Crown Estate said: “Some of the key challenges London faces as it seeks to consolidate its position as a leading global city are around improving air quality, reducing pollution and ensuring the natural environment continues to thrive. Integrating green spaces, habitats and energy efficient technologies as part of developments can play a huge role, alongside a focus on encouraging green transport and reducing car journeys.”

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Source: Guardian Environment