Pictured (L to R) are Wharfedale Property Management director, Tim Munns; LHL Group director, Daniel Bower and Castlehouse Construction Ltd project manager, Kevin Simon
Pictured (L to R) are Wharfedale Property Management director, Tim Munns; LHL Group director, Daniel Bower and Castlehouse Construction Ltd project manager, Kevin Simon

Almost half of innovative energy-saving development pre-let during construction

26 January 2023

Almost half of an energy-saving light industrial scheme, which provides free electricity to occupants, has been pre-let during construction at Thorp Arch Estate near Wetherby.

A total of 40 per cent of the £8m latest phase of Ash Way, which provides free electricity through roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels, was pre-let during the 11-month construction period with a further 40 per cent with solicitors or under offer.

The speculative development of nine light industrial units, totalling 93,409 sq ft, built for estate owner, Patrizia Hanover Property Unit Trust, has been constructed to be operationally carbon net zero for a typical warehouse occupier and is part of moves to tackle climate change. It is the estate’s first scheme with roof-fitted solar PV panels as standard.

The units also feature audible water leak detection systems, PIR (passive infra-red) sensor-operated LED lighting in both office and warehouse areas and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

While the PV panels’ performance depends on available sunlight, the development has been modelled using the government’s standard assessment procedure for its carbon net zero forecasts.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for Unit 21, which has PV panels capable of generating 87,614.35 kWh a year, scored -3 resulting with an A+ banding, the the best rating attainable. EPCs for the other units are yet to be completed. The scheme is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating.

Occupiers are using the new units mainly for distribution and include existing estate tenants, who are expanding, and companies relocating from Leeds, Harrogate, and York and nearby areas.

Wharfedale Property Management director, Tim Munns, says: “Ash Way Phase IV‘s construction started before the Ukraine conflict triggered the spike in fuel prices and cost-of-living crisis and the green technologies will enable tenants to significantly reduce operating costs.

“Businesses attracted to the scheme are interested in its high specification, which includes full fibre with true on-site resilience; PIR operated LED lighting throughout as well air circulation, heat recovery and air conditioning systems for the offices. Occupiers also appreciate the large concrete loading areas, multiple insulated loading doors and EV charging points.

“There is strong interest in the remaining units, which we expect to let soon and will vindicate the speculative development and provide confidence for similar schemes. We try to improve the specification with each new development and I envisage that we will install solar PV on every new unit, potentially with other energy saving technologies.”

The audible leak detection system, designed to conserve water by identifying leaks quickly, is activated when the water flowing through a meter exceeds a pre-set minimum.

The development, built by Castlehouse Construction, Leeds, and managed by property and construction consultants, LHL Group, York, is equidistant between Leeds, Harrogate and York and comprises individual units ranging from 4,031 sq ft to 31,647 sq ft.

The 385-acre Thorp Arch Estate, a former war time munitions factory offering two million sq ft of commercial premises in a parkland setting, is the base for more than 170 businesses, from small enterprises to large plcs, operating in local, national and international markets and employing more than 2,000 people.

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