Great Glen House, Inverness


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Scottish Natural Heritage
January 2006
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The first BREEAM Excellent rated office in the UK

Robertson Property developed this environmentally sustainable 6,000m2 headquarters for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Construction was by Robertson Northern, with the project earning the first BREEAM Excellent rating in the UK and the highest-ever rating at the time, with a score of 84%.

SNH was relocating its headquarters from Edinburgh to Inverness and as a development partner, Robertson Property oversaw the delivery of a new building that had to meet the highest possible environmental standards.

Fast facts

  • First BREEAM Excellent in the UK
  • Highest BREEAM rating (84%) at the time
  • End-to-end service from property development to construction and finally building maintenance

Environmental excellence

This innovative project won the BREEAM Office of the Year award for its environmental performance. The building set the standard in practical, cost-effective and sustainable design when BRE auditors awarded it a BREEAM score of 84%. In 2006, this was the highest score ever achieved for an office building since the scheme was introduced in 1998.

This was achieved through:

  • artificial cooling only in server room; offices and meeting rooms naturally ventilated;
  • exposed concrete ceiling slab acts a daytime heat sink;
  • exposed slab and natural ventilation design reduces predicted heating season to 17 weeks;
  • 17m² of evacuated-tube solar pre-heat collectors provide 65 to 80% of hot water needs;
  • overall carbon rating: 7.16kg/m2 per annum;
  • U-values exceed Building Standards by 15%;
  • airtightness test result: 4.78m3/hr/m2 at 50 Pa;
  • rainwater harvested from the office and atrium roof for toilet flushing;
  • heating and hot water use are approx. 50% of benchmark for naturally ventilated buildings;
  • EPI (Environmental Performance Indicator) score: 10 (maximum);
  • office lighting has daylight sensors and is PIR controlled.

Robertson also implemented measures to enable sustainable travel, including car-sharing schemes, cycle changing facilities, lockers and showers, improved bus service from the city centre and video conference facilities to cut down on travel to meetings.

A complete service: property development to aftercare

On completion, the feedback from SNH staff was that it is important to them, both personally and in the light of their organisation and their work, to show what can be done with a low carbon building.

Robertson Property initially leased the building to SNH with an option to purchase. SNH were so happy with the premises that they took up this option and bought the building.

Robertson Facilities Management went on to provide maintenance for a 3-year period, demonstrating the end-to-end service that Robertson can provide.


  • Building Research Establishment - Office Building of the year 2006 – UK Award
  • Building/Building Design – Sustainable Building of the Year 2006 – Winner
  • Civic Trust Awards – Sustainability Award
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - Sustainability Award 2007 – Commended
  • British Council of Offices – Corporate Workplace 2007 – National Award Winner
  • Government Opportunities Award Excellence in Public Procurement 2007 – Shortlisted as a finalist in sustainable procurement
  • Scottish Design Awards 2007 – Finalist
  • Green Apple Sustainability Award 2007
  • Scottish Property Awards – Green Building of the Year 2007
  • Architects Journal – AJ100 Award for Sustainability 2007
  • The Safer Parking Award 2007-09