Leave the car at home as you enter Central London’s vibrant new pedestrianised zone and one of the UK’s most successful regeneration projects in recent years. The £500M revamp of King’s Cross has impressive credentials, not least with regards to sustainability. From sustainable architecture to energy systems and improvements to the public realm, the Knowledge Quarter, as the area is now known, even includes three completed buildings in a single square (Pancras Square), which have all achieved the highly-sought after BREEAM “Outstanding” rating.
Read on for five striking sustainable features which firmly mark King’s Cross on the green map.
1. Centralised Heating & Hot Water
Providing close to 100% of the development’s heating and hot water, all new buildings are connected to the King’s Cross Energy Centre. Here a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant has been installed which is 50% more energy efficient than a regular gas powered plant. This district heating network is one of the UK’s largest and means there is no need for conventional boilers in each of its buildings
2. King’s Cross Station Energy
Hidden behind the beautiful lattice of the headline-grabbing concourse roof, is a lesser-known green feature by Sundog Energy. An impressive 2,300m array of photovoltaic panels cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 100 tonnes annually and has saved the station more than £125,000. This is a key step towards Network Rail’s goals of reducing their emissions by 25% per passenger kilometre by 2020.
3. The IOP Building
Just up the road from King’s Cross Station you will be able to find the HQ of the historic Institute of Physics. Not the highest rated building in the area with regards to the BREEAM sustainability assessment rating, but the IOP Building arguably deserves high praise for its innovative use of green technology. 100% of the cooling and heating is a geothermal hybridge system, with a boiler back up. While geothermal energy is often a less popular energy choice here in Britain, this installation is leading the way. The piles used are the first of their kind in the country and the dig needed is significantly reduced, 75 metres as opposed to the typical 200m. This means energy and cost savings all round.
4. Greening the public realm
Over 40% of the development is public space and much of this is green. In addition to the numerous buildings which boast roof gardens, such as at 2 Pancras Square, more than 200m of green walls have been installed, both in public and private sections of the development. More than 400 trees have been planted, a significant achievement and part of London Mayor’s Sadiq Khan’s green rollout which has seen more than 40,000 trees planted in London’s playgrounds and parks.
5. Waste reduction is a high priority
The most recent statistics available for King’s Cross wastage show that in 2014/2015 over 90% of construction waste was diverted from landfill. The same time period saw the local authority achieving zero waste to landfill for the area. The waste from public areas, as well as the buildings, is channelled through three streams. Direct waste is shipped to a materials recovery facility in Sutton whilst the food waste is collected by Bio Collectors who make fertiliser from the organic remains. Lastly the third stream of mixed waste is incinerated in Deptford, generating further energy.
Discover more about King’s Cross Regeneration and Innovation with our informative walking tour. We analyse the development of this “destination station”, and look at how the local authorities have wisely invested to improve the public realm and attract some of the world’s biggest businesses to the area.