King’s Cross Estate becomes carbon neutral

11 November, 21

• The King’s Cross Estate, owned and managed by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), today announces it has become carbon neutral.

• Every building within KCCLP’s ownership has been certified as a CarbonNeutral® Development by Natural Capital Partners, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

• Energy supplies to the site are now 100% renewable, through green tariffs and direct agreements with energy providers, and all past embodied and operational emissions from the Estate have been offset through verified carbon offsetting projects.

• In a pioneering move, and to support its long-term commitment to remain carbon neutral, King’s Cross is to plant a series of new UK forests 7.5 times the size of the 67-acre King’s Cross Estate that will more than offset the embodied carbon of new and future buildings at King’s Cross.

• To go one step further, and to help add new renewable capacity to the national electricity grid, KCCLP has also agreed terms for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a renewable energy developer which will see King’s Cross help to fund a new solar farm in southern England.

• Today’s carbon neutral announcement, the creation of new UK forests and the Power Purchase Agreement are major steps in the King’s Cross Estate’s ambitious journey to become net zero as soon as possible.

King’s Cross has today, 11 November 2021, announced it has become carbon neutral. The King’s Cross Estate, which is owned and managed by King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP), has become carbon neutral by achieving CarbonNeutral Development certification for each of the buildings within KCCLP’s ownership.

The certification has been provided by Natural Capital Partners, in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol. First developed and published in 2002, The CarbonNeutral Protocol is the leading global framework for carbon neutrality. It is revised and updated annually to reflect developments in climate science, international policy, standards and business practice.

Energy supplies to King’s Cross are now 100% renewable, through green tariffs and direct agreements with energy providers. Electricity is procured from REGO certified green electricity tariffs and gas is supplied by an anaerobic digestion facility in Scotland, alongside green gas certificates. By switching to 100% renewable gas and electricity, King’s Cross is avoiding 19,729 tonnes of CO2e per annum from being released into the atmosphere.

King’s Cross is home to one of the UK’s most advanced district heat networks and this is now powered solely by renewable energy. The on-site heat network consists of boilers and CHP engines that supply heating and hot water to the 1,120 homes and 2 million square ft of offices, retail and food and drink premises across the Estate. The CHP engines also generate electricity which powers the Estate’s unique district cooling network, providing cooling to a quarter of the buildings on the Estate.

As well as moving to completely renewable energy, King’s Cross has taken the bold step of offsetting 100% of its past embodied and operational emissions. Past emissions totalling 174,145 tonnes of CO2e have been offset through two third-party verified carbon offsetting projects. Both projects have delivered carbon offsetting credits through the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Today, King’s Cross also announces its ambitious plans to more than offset all embodied carbon from new and future buildings on the Estate through the creation of new UK forests. King’s Cross is purchasing c.338 hectares of pastureland onto which more than 600,000 broadleaf natives and commercial pine trees will be planted. These new forests will be capable of removing c.153,000 tonnes of CO2e from the atmosphere over the next 60 years. King’s Cross is working with Tillhill, leaders in forestry management, to deliver this forest and the carbon sequestration will be verified by the UK Woodland Carbon Code (WCC).

To support the UK’s path to net zero, King’s Cross is going one step further and helping to add new renewable capacity to the national electricity grid. KCCLP has agreed terms for a Power Purchase Agreement with a renewable energy developer which will see King’s Cross help to fund a new solar farm in southern England. When operational, this solar farm will supply the equivalent of the baseload annual electricity requirement for the King’s Cross Estate.

The new Power Purchase Agreement will complement the existing Gas Purchase Agreement, signed in May 2021, which saw King’s Cross support a new anaerobic digestion facility in Scotland adding new renewable gas capacity to the UK. At this facility, organic matter is broken down to produce clean ‘green’ gas. King’s Cross is supplied with 100% of the energy created by this anaerobic digestion, which is designed to deliver the baseload gas demand of the Estate.

Today’s announcement of carbon neutrality, the creation of new UK forests, the Power Purchase Agreement and the recent Gas Purchase Agreement are major steps in King’s Cross’ ambitious journey to become net zero as soon as possible. Achieving net zero will mean further improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption across the Estate, through the implementation of smart building technology and working closely with occupiers.

King’s Cross has also signed the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which is a ‘front-runner’ to the UN’s global Race to Zero campaign, the world’s largest commitment from private and public organisations to fight for climate action.

Robert Evans, CEO of King’s Cross and Joint Managing Partner of Argent, said: “King’s Cross has always been a place for people and the planet to flourish. As a mixed-use regeneration of a brownfield urban site, that is built around public transport, walking and cycling, and the creative conservation of historic buildings and spaces, King’s Cross has the principles of sustainability embedded in its DNA. From the very beginning we have worked to reduce carbon emissions and low carbon thinking has been central to our approach. This is demonstrated by early decisions to invest in our district energy network and deliver combined heat and power to the whole Estate, and our development of more BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ buildings than any other destination in the UK.

King’s Cross becoming carbon neutral is a major step in our journey towards being net zero, and it delivers on the aspirations of all those who own, work, live and spend time here.”

Claudine Blamey, Head of Sustainability and Digital Strategy at King’s Cross, added: “This is a significant milestone in our journey to become net zero. We are incredibly proud to achieve carbon-neutrality and our universal approach to our carbon footprint means we leave no stone unturned. This is part of our commitment to set a precedent of best-in-class climate action in the real estate sector and encourage others to use their funds in the most effective manner to have the greatest impact.”

Paul Clark, Senior Investments Director Property UK at AustralianSuper, commented:
“AustralianSuper is proud to have supported and played a part in King’s Cross achieving carbon neutrality. This is an important milestone for the Estate. The initiatives undertaken to become carbon neutral and progress on its path towards net zero show leadership in addressing the urgent issue of climate change. We will continue to work together on a structured approach to reducing the energy consumption of the King’s Cross Estate and enhancing its efficiency that will support these ambitious plans.”

Kirsty Schneeberger, Head of Partnerships at Natural Capital Partners and ClimateCare, said: “We are delighted to work with King’s Cross, helping them take responsibility for their existing and historical carbon emissions, as they journey to net zero. We hope that their approach will inspire others in the space to follow their lead.”

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