Capita Symonds Unveils ‘Cool Workspace’ for Ecobuild 2011

24 January 2011

Capita Symonds has unveiled designs for a revolutionary ‘Cool Workspace’ installation for
Ecobuild 2011- the world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment - which will provide a unique insight into the sustainable office of the future.

The 10m x 15m structure has been designed to showcase how companies can reduce energy by up to 50% through the use of the latest sustainable technologies, increase productivity, and take advantage of the latest innovative commercial models for funding.

The space will be split into two zones. One will comprise a more traditional office-based environment while the other will highlight a space for home working, reflecting the trend towards spaces that are multi-functional, enabling the user to work and live in the same place.

The provision of coffee points, touchdown space (including computer), seating, a table football game, and even exercise bikes, will also give visitors the opportunity to experience and interact with these new workspaces.

Capita Symonds has adopted a holistic approach to the creation of ‘Cool Workspace’ that covers three core areas:

1) Technology and Sustainability

  • Phase Change Materials – These products help to keep offices cooler without using air conditioning by absorbing heat – leaving the rooms naturally cooler. This is achieved by special wax-like capsules that are embedded into the wall/ceiling tile which melt in the heat (taking heat out of the room) before solidifying in cooler night time conditions to ‘recharge’ for the next day.
  • Building Integrated Photovoltaics – Photovoltaic glass has been used in a novel way to highlight the potential to tap into the energy contained in every building façade, using it to generate power.
  • Smart Metering and Management – Technologies have been installed which detect building occupation and use the information to create an internal environment to suit the number of occupants. They also provide real-time feedback, giving control to end-users or the building/office manager.
  • Materials – The space has been constructed using a variety of sustainable materials. For example, the perimeter is made out of cardboard pipes and the display furniture is borrowed.
  • Information - Visitors can find out more about the technologies used by scanning the QR codes located in the workspace with their smartphones or accessing the installation’s website at

2) Behavioural Change

Changing user behaviour is critical to ensuring that the workspace performs as expected and that targets for resource and carbon reduction are achieved. The installation encourages such behavioural change in a number of ways by engaging and challenging the visitors’ perception of what is an office space and how it is used.

Visitors will even experience how their behaviour impacts the space around them in real time by testing their own ability to create green energy on the ‘Energy Creating Exercise Bike’. The bike powers the installation’s ‘Brain Cloud’ which changes colour to reflect the amount of energy generated by the cyclist.

3) Commercial Models

The benefits of adopting this type of workspace are varied, from cost savings related to a reduction in resource usage and the meeting of carbon targets, to an improvement in the quality of the working environment for employees and increased productivity.

Capita Symonds uses these benefits to establish an innovative ‘pay as you save’ model for commercial real estate that enables us to arrange full funding for the upfront cost of consultancy and implementation of ‘Cool Workspace’ and then sharing in the savings achieved. In this way the company can unlock opportunities for clients who do not have ready access to capital for investment.

About Capita Symonds

Working with strategic partners in both industry and academia, Capita Symonds continues to push forward the boundaries of sustainable design. By engaging with our clients and understanding their key business drivers, we are able to create innovative design solutions that can unlock the potential of any workspace.

Our multidisciplinary research and development programme provides clients with a completely integrated design approach. We have developed an in-house specialist software database that appraises technical measures for energy, carbon and economic viability. This informs our decision making process in selecting appropriate design measures that enable businesses to achieve their sustainability aims - be they in support of company values or a reaction to government targets such as the Carbon Reduction Commitment.

Capita Symonds’ role supporting the Technology Strategy Board with Low Impact Buildings Innovation Platform as a member of the Carbon Trusts Strategic Consultancy Framework, combined with our #1 status on the Carbon Disclosure leadership index for our sector, also ensures that we are at the forefront of the sustainability debate as well as having access to the latest emerging sustainable technologies.

Ecobuild –– takes place from Tuesday 1st March to Thursday 3rd March at ExCeL, London. Capita Symonds’ ‘Cool Workspace’ installation is situated at S240, entrance S1.