One Angel Square, The Co-operative Group Headquarters



This iconic building is a leading example of our ability to integrate sustainable features from inception to delivery of the project, and beyond.

Sustainable design

One Angel Square has achieved one of the highest ever BREEAM scores of 95.16%. This 16-storey building contains 325,000 sq ft of open plan office space and a large central atrium. Two basement floors include underground car parking, auditorium and fitness facilities.

The Co-operative Group’s vision was to create an iconic headquarters that would be a sustainable workplace. From the outset, the challenge was to deliver a carbon neutral building providing a display energy certificate (DEC) A+ grade performance coupled with the BREEAM Outstanding status. This was accomplished through innovative design features such as the twin skin façade and optimised lighting, as well as a super-efficient power plant and electronic equipment. We minimised our impact during construction through prefabrication and waste reduction, as well as carbon reduction measures.

We used building information modelling (BIM) to create the building before any construction began to highlight any logistic issues likely to arise. This prevented unnecessary wastage of materials and time, making the construction as smooth as possible.

BREEAM score of 95.16%

Tackling climate change

The double skinned façade and soaring open atrium are key to creating natural heating, cooling and lighting. The atrium, for example, floods the building’s interior with light which is reflected by the exposed white painted concrete coffered floors, reducing the amount of artificial lighting required to light the building from 550 to 300 lux.

The on-site Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, fuelled by pure plant-oil grown by The Co-operative farms, provides the majority of the heating and electrical requirement for the new building with surplus energy being back-fed to the national grid.

Other energy efficiency features include:

  • Heat recovery from the IT systems that will also help to heat the building
  • Low energy LED lighting and IT equipment and systems
  • High efficiency passenger and service lifts
  • Earth tubes to bring in cool air via a heat exchanger

The project used a number of initiatives to minimise fuel and power use during construction. Site cabins were heated from a dedicated gas supply instead of inefficient electric heaters. Also, a hire shop was set up on-site which provided materials and tools, saving time and cost, as well as reducing fuel and CO2 emissions.

Reduced the amount of artificial lighting from 550 to 300 lux

Resource efficiency

We used prefabricated elements such as chilled beams and toilet units, which decreased the number of material deliveries, and reduced the waste associated with assembly on site.

Waste pallets were up-cycled to create unique and stylish furniture for use in the building once it was occupied. The majority of the remaining waste was recycled through waste segregation including a can collector and cardboard compactor on site. Cardboard collected on site was recycled at the customer’s recycling facilities which were located adjacent to the site, helping to further reduce carbon emissions and transport costs.

Waste was diverted from landfill


The site was contaminated with Japanese knotweed, an invasive species. Working with a specialist subcontractor we ensured the building footprint was completely free of any rhizomes, ensuring the spread of Japanese knotweed was minimised. Roof top planters and Public Realm planting have been used to help enhance the local biodiversity.

Japanese knotweed was eradicated from site

Sourcing responsibly

We engaged with our supply chain to ensure they were prepared for the high sustainability requirements necessary for a project of this scale. For example, early engagement with the supply chain for M&E, structural steel, pre-cast concrete floors and twin skin façade ensured a robust construction programme, minimising carbon emissions and helped the project to reach its strict targets.

Timber was from chain of custody sources

Community engagement

Driving local benefit was a key theme throughout the project and our approach centred on training, local employment, support for education and local community groups. Our project highlights are detailed below:

  • 32 apprentices benefitted from on-site training
  • We trained over 900 people on-site with basic skills and provided technical and management training for 21 people
  • The site shop was supplied by small local businesses
  • Our local employment initiative, helped to ensure 54% of the workforce was sourced from within the Greater Manchester area
  • We engaged over 1,000 students in the project, which included support for two university projects
  • We volunteered over 712 hours on local community project and raised £21,500 for local charities

712 volunteering by staff

Health and wellbeing

Health and safety was a priority throughout the project and our high standards were acknowledged through industry honours such as the British Safety Council’s (Merit) award at the 2012 International Safety Awards, and three gold awards through the Considerate Constructor’s Scheme.

Considerate Constructor's Scheme Awards achieved


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