Lendlease Europe                            SBE0038



Written evidence from Lendlease Europe


Thank you for the opportunity to provide evidence on the Sustainability of the Built Environment. Where appropriate for Lendlease to comment, we have set out our response to the questions raised in the Inquiry.


We hope you find this useful and should you wish to discuss anything further, we would be happy to do so.




Lendlease is a leading international property and infrastructure group, with approximately 13,000 employees globally and a development pipeline of >£20bn in the UK.


We have a track record in sustainability and recognise that, in order to minimise the impact of climate change on livelihoods and ecosystems around the world, global temperatures must be prevented from rising above 1.5°C.


We have set a target to be a 1.5°C aligned company, which means we will achieve:

          Net Zero Carbon by 2025 for Scope 1 emissions, produced directly from the fuels we burn, and Scope 2 emissions from the power we consume.

          Absolute Zero Carbon by 2040, eliminating all emissions, including Scope 3 generated indirectly from our activities, without the use of offsets.


We are proud to be a signatory to the UNFCCC Race to Zero.


Lendlease operates an integrated business model, encompassing Investment, Development, and Construction and as a result, our carbon commitments span the whole property lifecycle. Our response to this inquiry draws on our experience with tackling carbon emissions, and wider sustainability topics.


For more information on how we intend to decarbonise our business, please take a look at our Lendlease Europe Roadmap to Absolute Zero Carbon.




Paul King

Managing Director, Sustainability & Social Value

Lendlease Europe




How can materials be employed to reduce the carbon impact of new buildings, including efficient heating and cooling, and which materials are most effective at reducing embodied carbon?


In line with the rest of the built environment industry, the majority of Lendlease's carbon emissions come from Scope 3 sources, for example, the embodied carbon emissions generated from the production and transportation of materials we use in construction. Considering that 11% of the world’s emissions arise from the manufacture of building materials, it is essential that these emissions are eliminated if we are to reduce the severity of climate change.


Lendlease’s Scope 3 emissions are included in the company's global target to be Absolute Zero Carbon by 2040. Therefore, to eliminate these emissions (without the use of carbon offsets) we will need to transform our business through new ways of working, including adopting new design approaches, and collaborating with our supply chain partners, tenants & residents to transition to zero.


To reduce the carbon impact of new buildings, it is necessary to reduce both the amount of material used and the carbon emitted in material production. Lendlease is tackling this in a number of ways, including setting embodied carbon budgets and recycled content requirements in our key project areas - and ensuring these are reflected into our design briefs. These budgets take into account learnings from baselines already established across our different building types as well as independent benchmarks such as the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) 2020 targets for embodied carbon (kgCO2e/m2) as well as institutions such as RIBA.


In this response we will outline how we are striving to reduce our impact in three areas where substantial amounts of embodied carbon emissions are typically encountered: structures, facades and building services.


Reducing Embodied Carbon in Building Structures


When assessing the percentage of embodied carbon emissions of new buildings, the greatest share of these are caused by the construction of the ‘superstructure’. Steel and concrete are two of the main materials that are often seen as integral to many building structures. These materials have a very high level of embodied carbon. At Lendlease, we are committed to working with our supply chain to encourage lower carbon production of these main materials whilst promoting the use of an inherently low carbon material, timber.


The production of primary steel is traditionally through the use of coal used in blast furnaces. This process is currently contributing approximately c.7% of all global carbon emissions. Moving away from carbon-intensive steel-making will require substantial changes in manufacturing processes and will only be achieved through the development and deployment of new fuels, low-carbon technologies and process innovations. However, this will require significant investment and therefore demand for low-carbon steel must be high to catalyse the change required.


In 2019, Lendlease was the first built environment company globally to join ResponsibleSteel, a multi-stakeholder initiative to drive demand and supply of responsible sourced, low carbon steel. In 2020, Lendlease was one of the first eight companies to join SteelZero, an initiative which aims to harness the collective purchasing power and influence of its members to demand that global markets and policies shift towards responsible and clean production and sourcing of steel.


Using less steel is another way of reducing the carbon impact of a building structure. To use less steel, we will mandate the reporting of member utilitation throughout our structural design process. We have also been able to join up supply chain knowledge to the early design process to encourage the use of high strength steel wherever possible, yielding reduced mass of steel and embodied carbon.


Concrete is another of the built environments most carbon intensive and widely used materials and one that Lendlease commonly uses for structural frames. It’s reported that concrete contributes up to 8% of global CO2 emissions. There are a number of ways to reduce carbon in the production of concrete – predominantly by replacing cement, the key source of carbon emissions. Geopolymer concrete, where cement is replaced by a chemical binder and construction waste products, saves a significant amount of carbon compared to a Portland cement alternative. We would like to encourage the use of geopolymer concrete as much as possible. Longer term, there are innovations in concrete which could lead to a greatly reduced carbon impact associated with concrete. This includes mineral carbonation – where cement kiln emissions are reacted with calcium or magnesium to produce a mineral or using magnesium-based cements which has potential to act as a carbon sink.


Timber, as a structural element (both substructure and superstructure), can be employed to reduce the carbon impact of new buildings as it is a truly renewable material; by replacing one cubic meter of another material with wood can result in almost 1 tonne of CO2 being sequestered, and stored, during the life span of a building. It is lighter, requiring less foundation material (typically concrete) and therefore a reduction in associated carbon, and if we can account for the end-of-life use, it can be used to create a truly carbon neutral structure. To really garner this benefit however, there is still work to be done, and Lendlease is contributing in overcoming some of the challenges by engaging in research and designing timber buildings with disassembly and re-use in mind. We need to see a consensus on how to account for carbon sequestration, as the trees are grown, and assumptions made regarding end-of-life, so that we can establish a standardised approach to Life Cycle Assessment, enabling comparisons with other materials such as steel and concrete. Given that methodology, we can also account for the additional material that may be required to ensure timber performs to the required standards for fire safety, acoustics, water ingress etc.



Reducing Embodied Carbon in Façades


Alongside steel and concrete, aluminium is one of the most carbon intensive materials we use. This is primarily down to the production process, which requires large quantities of energy to smelt aluminium, consequently releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Across the built environment sector, aluminium is commonly used in external facades.


Lendlease has been looking at ways to reduce the embodied carbon of materials used in our facades, including aluminium, but also glass and pre-cast concrete. Using high amounts of recycled content in these materials is a keyway of reducing embodied carbon. However, each material brings different challenges, including structural integrity, optical quality, cost, supply chain technological advances and supply chain availability. Our research shows that by maximising recycled content, we can most likely achieve industry best practice 2030 targets for façade embodied carbon, from groups such as the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) as early as 2025.


Aluminium has a diverse carbon factor ranging from 2.2 to 20 kgCO2e/kg. Levels of post-consumer scrap coupled with manufacturing energy sources mean that extremely high carbon choices can be made without appropriate regulation or mandate being in place. The embodied carbon factors that are much higher will come from extrusion plants that have a coal fired energy source and the best embodied carbon factor material from efficient manufacturing plants with renewable energy sources such as hydro-electric power.


Similarly, glass material choices are currently often made with very little attention to the sustainability credentials of the material. Lendlease will shortly be mandating a minimum embodied carbon factor for glass from its supply chain. The reduction in embodied carbon of glass can only be achieved by increasing the post-consumer waste glass content and increasing the renewable energy in manufacture. Unfortunately, the post-consumer waste glass infrastructure in the UK is not in place to meet the capacity required to keep increasing the recycled content and this is something that requires government intervention in the form of regulation and/or incentives to help drive.


Pre-cast concrete technology is advanced such that recycled content as high as 80% GBBS can be used in the raw material. There is a cost premium to increase recycled content and this will be a barrier to use until make this product becomes competitive.


Reducing Embodied Carbon in Building Services


The operational energy of buildings, especially new buildings, is decreasing thanks to improvements in the operational efficiency of new building services systems (resulting from the EPBD and Part L of the Building Regulations) and the decarbonisation of the electricity generation and supply grid in the UK.


To further optimise operational energy, Lendlease has begun to adopt a Design for Performance approach which focuses less on forecasted energy emissions and more on the operational performance of the building meeting the design principles. We are pioneer partners of the Better Building’s Partnership’s (BBP) Design for Performance initiative which will result in our commercial offices targeting a new NABERS UK certification, demonstrating industry leading levels of operational building performance.


Lendlease employs a Fabric First approach to minimise the need for significant plant and infrastructure which adds to the overall embodied carbon of a building, only utilising active Services Systems to manage comfort and wellbeing within widened parameters.


Due to reductions in operational energy associated with more efficient buildings, the embodied carbon of new and refurbished buildings is a greater proportion of the Whole Life Carbon analysis than operational carbon emissions. We expect this trend is set to continue over the coming years. The RICS database indicates that building services contribution to embodied carbon is 6-12% in a new build, high-rise, commercial office. In refurbishment, re-construction and re-modelling projects this could rise to 50% or possibly more.


Also, reductions in embodied carbon are savings that can be made and “banked” now, whereas, operational energy savings tend only to be forecasts of future savings and are subject to constraints that may vary over the operational life of the building (such as change of use, changing of tenants and their operations etc). Thus, reducing embodied carbon is now a priority target for Lendlease as part of our roadmap to Absolute Zero Carbon.


Lendlease has begun to conduct Whole Life Carbon analyses on our own mixed-use schemes. The software is an industry recognised tool that produces results compliant with the international standards ISO 14044 and EN 15978 and it is certified with Quality System ISO 90012. The software has material life-cycle inventory carbon data that is compliant with EN15804 and uses regionalised carbon data for the UK primarily which allows the reporting of all life-cycle modules.


With the publication of CIBSE TM65 and the associated tools, the product database will grow, and a new level of granularity will be available to evaluate different products and materials. In the short-term, detailed, product-specific information from manufacturers will allow analysis during the final stages of design and construction. In the medium/long-term, this detailed information will be aggregated to enhance the tools employed during the earlier stages of design to allow earlier and better-informed development decisions.


To reduce embodied carbon in building services, Lendlease will:

         Measure and quantify embodied carbon using the latest standards, tools and mechanisms available to us

         Install less


         Install efficiently


         Prioritise maintenance-free and low maintenance equipment and systems


         Set project targets


         Share lessons learned to accelerate change


What methods account for embodied carbon in buildings and how can this be consistently applied across the sector?


The industry has started to better align with the measurement of embodied carbon throughout the property lifecycle. Lendlease, like many other developers and contractors, use EN15978:2011 as a verified standard to measure Whole Life Carbon emissions. This includes those of embodied carbon. Many systems and tools continue to be built to measure Whole Life Carbon emissions and embodied carbon using this method. It would be sensible for there to be a review of the efficacy and accuracy of these tools to ensure there is alignment with the EN15978:2011 standard.


The EN15978:2011 accounting and measurement methodology is becoming more suitable and consistent to compare buildings. For example, it has now been adopted by the Greater London Authority, amongst others, in London planning policy. However, work is needed to ensure that the inputted data is correct. Specifically, for the products and materials marketed by the supply chains. There needs to be an increase in the development and accuracy of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). This is to allow for the embodied carbon of materials to be captured and formally recorded – effectively in the form of a Materials Data Sheet. Increasing the number and accuracy of these documents will transform the supply chain to deliver lower carbon products. Therefore, helping to maintain competitive advantage.


Should the embodied carbon impact of alternative building materials take into account the carbon cost of manufacture and delivery to site, enabling customers to assess the relative impact of imported versus domestically sourced materials?


Yes – where within the scope and boundaries of the proposed development’s Whole-Life Carbon (WLC) assessment. For any alternative building materials introduced during its technical design stage and/or proposed within its developed carbon reduction strategy, the prospective suppliers shall be assessed on their ability to provide relevant information with respect to fabrication methodology, factory location, energy use type, treatment of waste etc. during their product manufacture stage [A1-A3]1. It is important that the project’s carbon budget is then updated accordingly and included in the tender documentation to ensure that the competing contractors understand the WLC requirements, the goals and process of delivering and monitoring carbon reductions during the development’s construction process stage [A4-A5]. Effectively, this process shall be developed to enable project teams assess the relative impact of any alternative materials sourcing options available, but also needs to be tailored to engage with, but not burden, the supply chain.


  1. As per EN 15978:2011 Sustainability of construction works - Assessment of environmental performance of buildings - Calculation method.


How should re-use and refurbishment of buildings be balanced with new developments?


From a carbon perspective, refurbishing and repurposing buildings is preferable to demolition. However, a lot of buildings at the end of their usable life have not been designed for flexibility and repurposing. This means that even refurbishments can result in extensive redevelopment projects and many inner-city buildings ultimately need to be demolished because they are too inefficient for future uses. A simple example of this being low-rise, previously light industrial land-uses.


New build developments are now being designed with low carbon in mind. Further thinking is also emerging to make these new buildings resilient to change - to allow for constant adaptation and a more circular economy. It is important for the entire carbon calculation to be considered on a development site. This is to ensure that each option (refurbishment, demolition, new build) is fully understood and balanced alongside other development aspirations. For example, more efficient land-use, increased housing, or more preferential use classes.


How well is green infrastructure being incorporated into building design and developments to achieve climate resilience and other benefits?


At Lendlease, we understand the importance of protecting and restoring the natural environment by enhancing biodiversity; connecting the built to the natural environment.  


Under the new Environmental Bill, developers are obligated to deliver a Biodiversity Net Gain of 10% on projects. To do this many will adopt green infrastructure. Importantly, green infrastructure can enhance wildlife habitats, and provide mental and physical health benefits to users (e.g. residents, customers, and the local community). Now more than ever there is a need for green infrastructure, partially attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is likely that developers will increasingly look to incorporate it.


Lendlease Europe sets out multiple Sustainability minimum requirements relating to nature and pollution. All our developments must incorporate these requirements into their design. These standards enable people and nature to flourish together – through green infrastructure and soft landscaping. They also help to increase resilience to climate change and provide an opportunity for carbon sequestration.


Examples of our minimum and best practice requirements relating to green infrastructure include:


Our minimum requirements are reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure that they represent industry best-practice.


Examples of green infrastructure installed on Lendlease developments include:


Lendlease also recognises the important role that green infrastructure can play in delivering climate-resilient benefits. Climate-change poses many risks to urban landscapes, for example flooding and urban heating. Green infrastructure can help to mitigate these risks by absorbing rainwater and providing natural sources of shade to mitigate the heat island effect in cities.


Lendlease will look to use green infrastructure, where appropriate, to mitigate climate risks. This is part of our wider commitment to undertake climate-related risk assessments on all major European projects, as set out in our Roadmap to Absolute Zero Carbon.


May 2021