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Eco-features at M&S Cheshire Oaks store exceeds expectations

UK’s innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board, commends first-year performance of M&S sustainable learning store.

Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks store, built by Simons, has been highlighted by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board as a “star project, with core business benefits aplenty” in a comprehensive and independent post-occupancy evaluation (POE).

Funded by the Technology Strategy Body’s Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) grant, the report evaluated the performance of the store in its first year. Key highlights include:

  • 42% reduction in energy use compared to an equivalent store – against a target of 30%;
  • 40% fewer carbon emissions than an equivalent store – against a target of 35%;
  • Excellent building insulation, with less than 1°C of heat lost overnight in winter – compared to 9°C in other store environments;
  • The rainwater harvesting system supplies a third of the store’s water – against a target of 25%;
  • A net increase in biodiversity on site, with 88 plant species such as white willow and wild cherry;
  • Feedback from Cheshire Oaks customers and employees using the ‘Building Users Survey’ (BUS) methodology placed the store within the top 1% of all buildings for “design” and “image to visitors”, top 5% for user satisfaction and top 7% for improved employee productivity against the BUS 2011 benchmark of 66 other buildings.

The findings and recommendations of the report will be shared with the industry to help meet the UK Government’s targets for improving the sustainability of buildings.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Gregory Barker said: “Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks store is a fantastic example of what can be done to become more energy efficient. It’s great to hear that the innovative design features put in place since the store’s launch in August last year have cut carbon and saved money on energy bills.”

Simons Group’s Head of Sustainability, Rosi Fieldson has been integral to the POE process and is delighted with the findings: “The POE is a culmination of many years of hard work, inspiration and commitment from a huge team. The key message has to be that life cycle costing alone cannot do justice to determining how successful a building is rated - how do you value positive people and buzzing bees?”

She added, “My favourite quote from the POE: ‘We’re not used to having a building that people have thought about’. I’m proud to have been part of that thinking.”

The report further highlights the success of M&S Cheshire Oaks, a multi award-winning building and project for both M&S and Simons.

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