Tables made from recycled suits. Air-purifying paint. An E-scooter fleet. Welcome to Glasgow’s first net zero office building. Cadworks-based TLT LLP tell Karen Southern how office life has changed forever.
Cadworks is one of Scotland’s most sustainable and progressive buildings.
And the same ethos can be applied to resident law firm TLT, who have prioritised the health and wellbeing of their employees – and the environment – above all else.
The trail-blazing firm launched a new agile approach to working last summer. Their aim was to create a fully flexible, progressive and inclusive workspace, based on three core commitments:
- More choice for employees to work at a place and time that suits them, their clients and their role.
- Investment in new physical and digital environments enabling employees to connect, collaborate and innovate effectively.
- Supporting that transition through a culture inclusive of different working styles.
Cadworks fits that brief perfectly, thanks to its cutting-edge design, technology and facilities, and the people at TLT were able to design their own office within the building from scratch, as explained by Maria Connolly, head of real estate and future energy.
“The overall aim is to support agile working, so our space features a large communal area for meetings and hot desking throughout,” she says.
“We’ve also invested in technology upgrades in support of home to office interactions. Everything is entirely connected to ensure ease of transition from space to space.”
“The impact on the TLT team has been huge,” adds John Paul Sheridan, Head of Scotland at TLT. “It’s enhanced everyone’s working experience and provided a significant morale booster.”
You could say that Cadworks is the eco-office ‘poster child’, whose impressive list of credentials include:
- 100% of waste diverted from landfills.
- Use of sustainable materials such as air purifying paint, up to 41% recycled glass, minimum of 50% cement replacement in concrete, 100% FSC recycled timber, and up to 80% recycled content steel.
- Regenerative braking in lifts to convert kinetic energy to electrical energy.
- Air source heat pumps.
- LED lighting.
- Electrical car charging points.
- Reporting on energy consumption to monitor and target areas in need of improvement.
- All-electric 100% renewable energy supply.
- Green plant wall in reception.
- Live air quality testing sensors.
John explains: “It’s the first building in Scotland to use Airlite anti-viral paint technology that turns walls into natural air purifiers (with the same air purification power as around three acres of forest).
“The 100% natural technology is anti-viral, anti-pollution, anti-bacterial and self-cleaning, with a protective oxidant barrier that decomposes harmful organic and inorganic substances.
The paint also reduces a building’s solar heat absorption, saving on air conditioning and lowering C02 emissions.
“The lifts have a regenerative braking system which converts kinetic potential energy to electrical energy when the lifts are going down.
“We also have use of an E-scooter fleet and a ‘saddle to seat’ scheme which features the country’s first cycle-in access ramp and bicycle-only parking with 119 bike stations.”
While there are four EV charging points onsite and limited parking for electric cars, Cadworks doesn’t offer traditional parking facilities, as the overall aim is to reduce carbon and create a people-centric, green society. Hence people are encouraged to walk, cycle and use public transport wherever possible.
And no, the innovation doesn’t stop there. TLT has sourced over 100 stationery products containing recycled materials (in many instances, over 50% recycled). Their photocopying paper is PEFC accredited, printers are set to duplex black and white printing by default, and wastepaper is reduced by Follow Me printing.
Maria says: “Along with dry mixed recycling initiatives, we have mains-fed drinking water dispensers, eliminating the need for plastic water bottles. We bottle our own still and sparkling water in our client conference suites and use glasses rather than plastic or disposable drinkware.
“We also use a wide range of catering suppliers with strong sustainability ethics in production.
“Our new furniture uses sustainable materials like cork, felt, rebar, reconstituted polymer and composite panels. Just one storage wall module (based on 2,500mm x 472mm) contains the equivalent of 4,000 bottle tops, 1,600 yoghurt pots, 1,100 cosmetic bottles, 14,000 straws, 2,800 single use plastic cups. “
Maria continues: “Our café tables use 100% recycled textiles from old suits with a biodegradable plastic made of potato or corn starch to make a unique finish.
“All timber used in the new furniture is sourced through Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and responsible supplier schemes. The focus has been on components and materials without chemicals harmful to human health or the environment, which adhere to low VOC emissions
Measuring and monitoring
TLT’s heating and cooling is provided by high-efficiency air source heat pumps with VRF consisting of internal units in the ceiling void and outside units on the roof. Each floor has two separate systems to allow sub-division of the floor.
There’s a DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) lighting control system with graphical front end, which includes energy saving features such as time channel control, presence detection and daylight dimming.
Multifunctional MID approved meters are connected to each distribution board and loads greater than 10kW. All metering is linked back to the landlord’s energy management system (EPMS) to monitor energy usage and charges.
It’s still early days to predict cost savings as TLT haven’t been in situ for long enough to provide an informed answer. But social media is awash with praise from happy employees.
“And am genuinely blown away by the quality of this workspace. The attention to detail, the tables made from recycled suits, the smell (!) and just the feeling you get in is second to none.”
“Today was my first day in the new TLT LLP offices in the Cadworks building in Glasgow. I was not disappointed! It is a smashing place to meet and work with colleagues and clients.”
“What a fantastic space in which to work. Very proud of Team TLT World for all their work and a big thanks to everyone involved in making our first day in the Cadworks such a great experience. BTW, the photos, stunning as they are, don’t really to justice to the spectacular city-wide views. I’m getting a whole new perspective on our beautiful city.”
Does Cadworks represent the future for the working office? “Absolutely,” says John Paul. People today are increasingly, and rightly so, concerned with ESG. People want to work for businesses that are taking the right steps to help improve the environment and our society, whilst also offering benefits to enhance mental health and wellbeing at work.
“One of the ways which employers can achieve this is by paying particular attention to the environment in which they choose to establish themselves. Choosing an office space that delivers on all these fronts will be a win win for employers and employees, as well as the local environment and community.”