Posted: 26 September 2014

Changing where and how we work

Award-winning building design, Smart WorkSpace design, sustainable building.
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At the National Grid House in Warwick, this design has led to a 16% energy saving, created a 30% increase in informal meeting space, and room for 900 additional employees.


National Grid has won praise for an innovative design introduced across its properties to promote collaborative working, improve the workplace for colleagues, and maximise energy savings.

At Warwick-based National Grid House alone, this new approach to design and construction, called Smart WorkSpace (SWS), has led to a 16% energy saving, increased informal meeting space by 30%, and created room for 900 additional employees. Building users are happy, with 86% saying they prefer the new working environment – an industry leading position for National Grid.

Since completion, the site has received praise from companies including Alcatel, BBC, Rolls-Royce and BP for its design, sustainability and operational effectiveness. It was shortlisted for a 2014 national award in Impacts on Workplace and Organisation award by the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).

A similar transformation at Osprey House in Derbyshire, home to 400 National Grid and partner employees, has resulted in National Grid winning the Fit Out of Workplace British Council for Offices (BCO) Midlands and East Anglia Award for 2013.

Energy efficiency was central to the SWS design, with every detail assessed to put sustainability at the forefront.

More efficient use of office space and meeting rooms has encouraged collaborative working and made room for more employees, saving power, lighting and property overheads.

Motion sensors have been installed so the lighting is on only when movement is detected.

The buildings are fitted out with sustainable furniture, made primarily of steel and aluminium, which can be adapted for additional uses and, when no longer needed, disassembled and recycled.

Office furniture that was removed as a result of the refurbishment was sold at bargain prices to colleagues, friends and family of National Grid. The £11,000 raised was donated to charity.

The more flexible working environment, plus additional opportunity for people to work from home, has reduced travel and the associated environmental impacts, as well as saving people money.

National Grid also created a ‘green’ travel plan which included a car sharing scheme and a shuttle bus service to the nearby train station, to minimise the number of cars at the site, reducing carbon emissions and helping ease road congestion.

Simon Carter, National Grid’s Head of Corporate Property, said: “We’ve found that the working environment has a great impact on productivity, which is why we designed the SWS model.

“The SWS environment promotes a motivating, collaborative, modern and sustainable work space. Our designs help our colleagues feel comfortable in the offices and buildings they work in while reducing the impact on the environment. This model now forms our standard office environment.”

Read more:

For more information about the Smart WorkSpace (SWS) model, click here.

For more information on the finalists at the 2014 BIFM Awards, click here.

Gas innovation in full flow
"We’ve found that the working environment greatly impacts on productivity, which is why we designed the SWS model."

Simon Carter, National Grid’s Head of Corporate Property.