Medidata is a US-based global organisation specialising in the development and marketing of a cloud-based intelligent platform of applications and data analytics to accelerate the science and business of research. With offices in the US, UK, Japan, China, South Korea and Singapore, the company has a goal to have 90% of its long-term lease offices in LEED Gold buildings.
Pursuing the World’s Most Rigorous Green Building Rating System
WSP provided LEED consultancy and MEP design services for the recently completed fit-out of Medidata’s new UK headquarters in Hammersmith, west London, occupying 2,700m2 of space on two floors of an eleven-storey commercial tower, constructed in 2016. The base building, which has achieved BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification, provided the ideal foundation for the UK’s first office to be certified as a LEED v4 Gold project. LEED v4 is the most rigorous green building rating system in the world which, from improving energy performance to emphasising human health, encourages project teams to operate beyond the status quo.
Challenges of Adapting to a US Standard
Our LEED specialists worked closely with the client and key stakeholders to define a clear and ambitious LEED Gold strategy as well as providing the necessary technical guidance to the design team. “One of the greatest challenges for our team was to inform and support the local UK design and construction teams in adapting to the ambitious LEED Gold standards,” says Juliana Renn, who led the LEED application. “But the collaboration between a highly committed client and a motivated team of experts, all aiming for a common goal, resulted in the attainment of high performance in all LEED categories.”
Water consumption was one area where the LEED requirements exceed those specified by BREEAM, as Juliana explains: “Although the base building already employs best practice design according to BREEAM standards for water demand, the LEED requirements are even more stringent. We had to liaise with our client and the building owner to reduce the mains water demand by modifying the fixtures in the communal toilet facilities as well as installing highly water-efficient equipment within Medidata’s tenanted space. We actually exceeded the LEED v4 baseline for water conservation by 30%.”
Energy and Atmosphere
The Medidata project also achieved an improvement of over 14% compared with the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) baseline requirements for energy performance. Juliana continues; “The team conducted a dynamic energy simulation for the two office floors following the highly detailed ASHRAE methodology while we provided our MEP team with the support and guidance they needed to deliver high-efficiency designs for HVAC and lighting.” All energy sources used in the office floors will be metered, recording and monitoring hourly, daily, monthly and annual energy usage to the Building Management Systems (BMS).
Indoor Environmental Quality
Carbon dioxide monitors installed in the office and meeting areas promote staff comfort, well-being and productivity by improving indoor air quality. Thermal comfort has been achieved according to ASHRAE standards and high-quality lighting promotes occupants’ visual comfort. One innovative feature of the project is the excellent quality views visible not only from regularly occupied spaces but from internal rooms, such as kitchens, thanks to the installation of glazed internal partitions, open corridors and the open plan nature of the space.
Materials and Resources
The project achieved high waste reduction and waste to landfill diversion, and for this the contractor observed the standards required by using a recycling facility with PAS 402 certification. WSP was able to demonstrate to the LEED authorities that this UK standard complied with LEED Gold performance criteria for handling waste. Other initiatives included waste storage and space for a compactor in the common basement of the building and space allocated for recyclables and for battery and electronic waste on both floors. To optimise the environmental performance of products and materials, Medidata salvaged and reused a high proportion (44%) of its old office furniture and carpets were supplied by a manufacturer that provides a take-back scheme. The project has used 28 products provided with environmental product declarations demonstrating that the project has favoured materials for which life-cycle information is available.
Location and Transport
Thanks to its excellent location for public transport, footways and cycling routes, the project achieved all location and transportation credits. Members of staff are allocated 28 cycle parking spaces with access to changing facilities and showers. There are no car parking facilities, further minimising the environmental harms associated with transport.
3D Design Platform
In keeping with Medidata’s profile as a leading IT firm, a futuristic design by the architect, Gensler, includes exposed ceilings above most of the office space. To manage the challenges associated with assuring the appearance and layout of the building services as well as their performance, in addition to adhering to a tight construction schedule, Vishaal Nagpal and his team opted to design the whole project in 3D. “Our engineers worked directly on the 3D platform,” says Vishaal. “This resulted in highly accurate coordination of all the service elements, saving considerable construction time, and achieving the architect’s aesthetic vision.”
Rewards of collaboration
Both Vishaal and Juliana agree that the relationship with Medidata was critical to the success of this project. “Our client spoke very highly of the fact that we were always available for them, despite the different UK/US time zones,” says Vishaal. The reward, Juliana adds, is a satisfied client. “We have received some extremely positive accolades from our client for the quality of our work, for our insistence on achieving the highest standards and our tenacity during the long, drawn-out process of achieving LEED Gold.”
Vishaal concludes; “As a result of our success on this project, Medidata have said that WSP will be their first consultant of choice for further new branches projected for Europe. We couldn’t ask for a greater compliment!”