Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks store highlighted by UK’s innovation agency the Technology Strategy Board in its comprehensive and independent post-occupancy evaluation (POE)

London, UK, 09-10-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — UK’s innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board, commends first-year performance of M&S sustainable learning store

Marks & Spencer’s (M&S) Cheshire Oaks store has been highlighted by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board as a “star project, with core business benefits aplenty” in a comprehensive and independent post-occupancy evaluation (POE)*.

Funded by the Technology Strategy Board’s Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) grant, the report evaluated the performance of the store in its first year. Key highlights include:

  • 42% reduction in energy use compared to an equivalent store – against a target of 30%;
  • 40% fewer carbon emissions than an equivalent store – against a target of 35%;
  • Excellent building insulation, with less than 1°C of heat lost overnight in winter – compared to 9°C in other store environments;
  • The rainwater harvesting system supplies a third of the store’s water – against a target of 25%;
  • A net increase in biodiversity on site, with 88 plant species such as white willow and wild cherry;
  • Feedback from Cheshire Oaks customers and employees using the ‘Building Users Survey’ (BUS) methodology placed the store within the top 1% of all buildings for “design” and “image to visitors”, top 5% for user satisfaction and top 7% for improved employee productivity against the BUS 2011 benchmark of 66 other buildings.

The findings and recommendations of the report will be shared with the industry to help meet the UK Government’s targets for improving the sustainability of buildings. The successes of the store’s design and construction strategy will enhance M&S’s ongoing sustainable property development, with the most successful sustainable elements at Cheshire Oaks now part of the standard specification for new M&S stores.

Clem Constantine, M&S Director of UK & International Property & Store Development, said: “At Cheshire Oaks we aspire to encapsulate the latest and very best of M&S design, technology and customer experience so we’re encouraged by the findings of this study.

“Plan A is central to M&S’s property development programme, and the results of Cheshire Oak’s POE have highlighted the importance of learning from stores that are not only sustainable and part of the communities in which they operate but also create a connection with our employees and customers too.”

Ian Meikle, Head of the Low Impact Buildings Programme at the Technology Strategy Board, said: “M&S Cheshire Oaks is one of our star projects, with core business benefits aplenty.  M&S is fully committed to improving the performance of its Cheshire Oaks store.  The performance results are outstanding, as are staff and customers measures of satisfaction.  M&S is taking a leadership position in demonstrating that good, energy efficient design is good for business.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister Gregory Barker said: “Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks store is a fantastic example of what can be done to become more energy efficient.  It’s great to hear that the innovative design features put in place since the store’s launch in August last year have cut carbon and saved money on energy bills.”

Launched in August 2012, M&S Cheshire Oaks is the second biggest M&S store (behind Marble Arch in London) with over 148,000 sq ft of selling space over two floors. It is M&S’s fourth sustainable learning store. These stores aim to build a strong bank of knowledge and experience in sustainable learning practices. They form a key part of the retailer’s Plan A commitment to support continuous improvement in its property development programme.

Plan A is M&S’s eco and ethical programme which aims to make M&S the world’s most sustainable major retailer.


– ENDS –

Notes to Editors:

The Technology Strategy Board

The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency.  Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.  Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit

Building Performance Evaluation (BPE)

The Technology Strategy Board’s Building Performance Evaluation grant is helping organisations like M&S deliver higher performing buildings.  The UK has too many buildings which often have energy bills more than twice than intended at design stage.  This grant has helped over 100 building projects identify the causes of these poor performance problems. This involves investigating aspects of procurement processes, design practice, construction, technologies and operational management which have worked well and those which have led to underperformance in operation compared with design expectations. BPE provides the feedback loops which enable the building industry to take proper account of outcomes, and deliver procedures and actions, which can help to close this performance gap in the future.

Post Occupancy Evaluations (POEs*)

POEs are a systematic, best-practice gauge of a building’s performance, from the perspective of the people who use them. It incorporates the following elements:

  • Analysis of the building’s design, delivery, maintenance and aftercare procedures and processes;
  • Review of building services, energy systems and usage;
  • Building User Surveys gathered from customers and employees over the year;
  • Benchmarking analysis against comparative M&S peer stores. 

Full detail on the POE methodology can be found at

Building Use Surveys (BUS**)

BUS is an industry-recognised research methodology which presents a qualitative view of built environments from the perspectives of a range of different users. Aimed at understanding how Cheshire Oaks is performing in terms of occupant comfort and satisfaction, a combination of written surveys and focus groups at Cheshire Oaks and the control store were conducted to gather the results.

For further information, or request images or interviews, please contact:

Christopher Kang, Marks & Spencer 0208 718 1967

Rod Alexander, Technology Strategy Board 07500 051 101

More details on the report findings:

  • Energy reduction: Cheshire Oaks is even more energy efficient than its original design predictions, using 21% less electricity and 60% less heating fuel than initial estimates. This equates to 42% more energy efficiency than the benchmark store, and 29% more efficiency than the design team’s predictions.
  • CO2 reduction: Cheshire Oaks is 40% more carbon efficient than a similarly-sized store, making it the most carbon efficient full line M&S store to date.
  • Insulation: A very high standard of insulation achieved through careful detailing during design and construction as well as the use of bio-composite Hempcrete panels. Building air tightness was found to be 70% better than required building regulations, losing less than 1°C of heat loss overnight in the winter (compared to around 9°C in other store environments).
  • Biomass boiler plant: The biomass boiler supplies nearly three-quarters of Cheshire Oaks’ heating but at the same time reduces the store’s comparative heating demand by 66%. In one year this off set 36.7 tonnes of CO2, translating into a 79% reduction in carbon emissions.
  • Rainwater harvesting: On average, the store’s rainwater harvesting system accounts for 1/3 of the building’s water supply – against a target of 25%.
  • Biodiversity: The site’s Biodiversity Action plan resulted in a net increase in the variety of plant species compared to the original scheme.
  • Holistic building approach: The holistic design approach to Cheshire Oak’s features was credited as enabling “more energy efficiency and lower carbon emissions per square foot than a benchmark M&S store”. 

Cheshire Oaks store’s eco-features include:

  • Glued laminated (Glulam) timber: Over 1,400m3 of 100% FSC-certified glulam timber (engineered softwood) has been used in lieu of steel in the whole of the roof and first floor. This aesthetically attractive and environmentally-friendly material not only uses a 1/5 of the energy used in typical steel manufacturing and a tenth of concrete, but it also absorbs CO2 too.
  • Tradical® Hemclad® external wall panels: The external walls of the store use over 226 pre-fabricated Tradical® Hemclad® panels.  This bio-composite material made with hemp and a lime binder offers a number of advantages over traditional brick and block building materials: 
  • Very low energy costs in use;
  • Thermal inertia;
  • Negative embodied carbon;
  • Recyclable and produced in the UK;
  • High performance fire resistance. 
  • 99.5% FSC certified wood: Cheshire Oaks achieved FSC project certification (TT-PRO-003615) with 99.5% of the timber used in the shell build provided from FSC-certified sources. It is the largest standalone store build such a high level of FSC certification in the UK.
  • BREEAM rating: The store has achieved a BREEAM Excellent (BRE Environmental Assessment Method – the leading and most widely-used environmental assessment method) rating for the shell and fit-out.
  • Biomass Boiler Plant: The store’s heating is provided via heat reclamation and a biomass boiler, which uses agricultural, forest, urban and industrial residues and waste to produce heat with less effect on the environment than fossil fuels.
  • Sustainable landscaping: The landscape plan promotes a wide range of native flowers and wildlife, tailored towards the local area biodiversity action plan.  Significant preconstruction ecological studies and works were carried out to minimise the impact of the development on the land.
  • Living green wall: M&S’s largest and most varied greenwall provides natural insulation and encourages biodiversity by attracting native birds and insects.
  • Zero waste: The store delivered zero construction waste to landfill.
  • Harvested rainwater: Harvested rainwater supplies all the toilets and irrigates the store’s ‘living wall’, reducing mains water usage compared with a conventional similarly sized store;
  • Electric vehicle charging points: the store has two electric car charging points available in the car park.

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