The RO Group will shortly start work on a substantial refurbishment of Silbury House with the intention of making it the most sustainable office building in Milton Keynes, already the greenest city in UK and also well on its way to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Inspired by the many projects of the city’s Sustainability Team, such as its Energy Mapping Report, Cycling Strategy, and Display of Energy Certificates project, the RO has embarked on a large scale, standard setting venture to introduce new technologies developed in the UK to overhaul its Silbury House property into a best in class green office building.
The RO has a long and committed history to business in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area, where it has invested for over 30 years having developed three neighbourhood centres in North Furzton, Shenley Brook End, and Newport Pagnell, as well as two convenience stores. The Group also owned and operated two Jigsaw Day Nurseries, a scheme of 25 light industrial units, and a small office development at Eastlake Park. More recently, on the outskirts of the city, RO acquired a multi use farm near Beachampton, where it has gained planning consent for a 5MW solar park, planted several hundred cricket bat willow trees as well as leasing part of the farm for 80MW of battery storage.
At Silbury House, located in the heart of Milton Keynes, the RO has an eye to the future, and the city’s status as a leading light in sustainable urbanism. The building will excel in heating control, water saving, and energy use reduction. Cambridge-based award winning proptech company InferSens will install sensors to measure water usage to control and reduce use. Power sockets from measurable.energy in Reading will indicate when energy is being supplied from renewable sources, encouraging use when energy is green, and enable the likes of computer monitors and printers to be turned off during out of office hours, and even fridges for a few hours each night, all with the intention of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.
In addition to the tech installed, the building is targeting BREEAM Excellent and EPC A, will incorporate recovered and reused flooring, encapsulate c. 40% less embodied carbon (when compared to the RIBA 2030 target), and will install on-site PV solar power generation and electrical vehicle chargers. Heat recovery VRF air conditioning and RESET air quality monitors will also be included.
Silbury House will break new ground in Milton Keynes in occupant wellbeing, and will work towards achieving Fitwel accreditation. The Fitwel scheme is the world’s leading certification system that optimises buildings to support health and wellbeing. Everything in Silbury House will be designed to create an inviting environment that improves occupant health and productivity. Employee wellness is an increasingly high priority for all modern businesses and Fitwel certification not only puts employees’ health and wellbeing at the heart of the workplace, but will also provide employers with formal recognition of these benefits.
Edward Rowlandson, Group Managing Director, commented: “Our redevelopment of Silbury House demonstrates our commitment to producing the best possible commercial property with the highest standards of environmental and wellbeing excellence. The city’s extraordinary environmental goals surpass legal requirements, aligning with the UK’s net zero and other environmental targets. We aim to do the same at Silbury and modernise the building to meet the highest standards. I am extremely proud of the long and successful association that our organisation has had with the city and the surrounding area and we look forward to reporting on the progress that we are making towards a completion that is planned in early 2024.”