David Aspin, owner of Munroe K, the property development and investment business which owns and operates White Rose Park in Leeds, is attempting to create a net zero carbon campus of the future – with innovation at its heart.

Edges of opportunity

With higher inflation, it’s harder to plan, prepare budgets, price products appropriately, and control input costs. Investment is riskier and innovation is harder to come by – and the Real Estate sector is no exception.

Finding these “edges of opportunity,” as Aspin calls them, is helping to ward off the pressures of inflation while also inspiring tomorrow’s innovators and disruptors. His novel thinking around sustainability, for example, is nowhere better illustrated than his plan to generate electricity via photovoltaic panel pathways. 

White Rose Park (WRP) is already home to many innovative businesses, and the flexibility of space on offer is highly valued. A tenant in the life sciences sector, for example, has the option to start small with an innovative idea, take that idea through testing, and then scale up their office space as the need requires.

Edges of opportunity - Watch now

“One of the things which I'm just about to trial, is a photovoltaic floor slab. It can take a car, a lorry, you can walk over it. Essentially, you can generate electricity from the floor.”

David Aspin, owner, Munroe K

The planned onsite Smart Cities Innovation Hub – a “living lab”, where innovations can be developed and tested – will also see White Rose Park utilised as a real-world test bed prior to wider scale deployment.

As a supporter of Munroe K, Lloyds Bank has helped finance Aspin’s ambitious projects. Caroline Snowden, Managing Director, Real Estate & Housing at Lloyds Bank, commends Aspin’s innovative leadership and notes how far real estate has evolved in its journey since the bank started working with WRP over 18 years ago.

Edges of opportunity - Watch now

With higher inflation, it’s harder to plan, prepare budgets, price products appropriately, and control input costs. Investment is riskier and innovation is harder to come by – and the Real Estate sector is no exception.

Finding these “edges of opportunity,” as Aspin calls them, is helping to ward off the pressures of inflation while also inspiring tomorrow’s innovators and disruptors. His novel thinking around sustainability, for example, is nowhere better illustrated than his plan to generate electricity via photovoltaic panel pathways. 

“One of the things which I'm just about to trial, is a photovoltaic floor slab. It can take a car, a lorry, you can walk over it. Essentially, you can generate electricity from the floor.”

David Aspin, owner, Munroe K

White Rose Park (WRP) is already home to many innovative businesses, and the flexibility of space on offer is highly valued. A tenant in the life sciences sector, for example, has the option to start small with an innovative idea, take that idea through testing, and then scale up their office space as the need requires.

The planned onsite Smart Cities Innovation Hub – a “living lab”, where innovations can be developed and tested – will also see White Rose Park utilised as a real-world test bed prior to wider scale deployment.

As a supporter of Munroe K, Lloyds Bank has helped finance Aspin’s ambitious projects. Caroline Snowden, Managing Director, Real Estate & Housing at Lloyds Bank, commends Aspin’s innovative leadership and notes how far real estate has evolved in its journey since the bank started working with WRP over 18 years ago.

A sense of purpose

The attractiveness of the early adopters, like Aspin, who have made their buildings much more energy efficient and have readily let them, has acted as a great example for those questioning whether they would see the financial advantages.

With £67m of recently secured funding from Lloyds Bank, Aspin’s ambition is to make the site carbon neutral by 2030. This includes the aims to achieve an overall minimum EPC A rating for all new and refurbished areas, and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of ‘Excellent’.

As part of the works, an additional 150 electric vehicle charging points will be installed by 2027, representing a 550% increase in available charging infrastructure at the site.

A sense of purpose - Watch now

“With a third of carbon emissions coming from the built environment, it is key in the transition to net zero that we embrace activity and technology to reduce those emissions.”

Caroline Snowden, MD, Private Groups, Real Estate & Housing, Lloyds Bank

A sense of purpose - Watch now

The attractiveness of the early adopters, like Aspin, who have made their buildings much more energy efficient and have readily let them, has acted as a great example for those questioning whether they would see the financial advantages.

With £67m of recently secured funding from Lloyds Bank, Aspin’s ambition is to make the site carbon neutral by 2030. This includes the aims to achieve an overall minimum EPC A rating for all new and refurbished areas, and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of ‘Excellent’.

As part of the works, an additional 150 electric vehicle charging points will be installed by 2027, representing a 550% increase in available charging infrastructure at the site.

“With a third of carbon emissions coming from the built environment, it is key in the transition to net zero that we embrace activity and technology to reduce those emissions.”

Caroline Snowden, MD, Private Groups, Real Estate & Housing, Lloyds Bank

Aspin is equally committed to being a force for social advancement within the area of Leeds that he operates – generating more opportunities for those that live and work in the area. An onsite nursey and sixth-form college with over a thousand pupils is helping to deliver on this commitment.  He also references the importance of looking after those who inhabit the site, bringing together spaces to work, collaborate and play.

The challenge now is sector-wide adoption – at every ESG level. 

For businesses who aren’t as far forward as Munroe K in their sustainability journey, the Green Buildings Tool could help to identify energy-efficient investments for your own organisation. From a single property through to larger portfolios, the tool helps businesses to identify, evaluate and understand the estimated outcomes of potential investments to make their property more sustainable.

Aspin is equally committed to being a force for social advancement within the area of Leeds that he operates – generating more opportunities for those that live and work in the area. An onsite nursery and sixth-form college with over a thousand pupils is helping to deliver on this commitment.  He also references the importance of looking after those who inhabit the site, bringing together spaces to work, collaborate and play.

The challenge now is sector-wide adoption – at every ESG level. 

For businesses who aren’t as far forward as Munroe K in their sustainability journey, the Green Buildings Tool could help to identify energy-efficient investments for your own organisation. From a single property through to larger portfolios, the tool helps businesses to identify, evaluate and understand the estimated outcomes of potential investments to make their property more sustainable.

The 15-minute city

Aspin believes that the key to building a better future for people is creating an environment where people can do everything they need within a short distance. The concept of the ‘15-minute city’ was initially developed to reduce our dependency on motor vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and promote overall wellbeing. 

To achieve this ideal, he stresses the importance of effective infrastructure, and is now in the process of building a railway station on site, which will be called White Rose, due to open in December this year.

The 15-minute city - Watch now

“It was a very ambitious thing to build a railway station, and we couldn't have done it without the support from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and of course Lloyds Bank.”

David Aspin, owner, Munroe K

The 15-minute city - Watch now

Aspin believes that the key to building a better future for people is creating an environment where people can do everything they need within a short distance. The concept of the ‘15-minute city’ was initially developed to reduce our dependency on motor vehicles, reduce carbon emissions and promote overall wellbeing. 

To achieve this ideal, he stresses the importance of effective infrastructure, and is now in the process of building a railway station on site, which will be called White Rose, due to open in December this year.

“It was a very ambitious thing to build a railway station, and we couldn't have done it without the support from West Yorkshire Combined Authority and of course Lloyds Bank.”

David Aspin, owner, Munroe K

Creating an employee-first environment is especially important in light of sector-wide skills shortages. Many industries, prior to Covid-19, could not imagine their employees being productive outside of the office, but this mindset has now been challenged. Hybrid working has been a disrupter, and employers are looking at how they can be attractive to their employees of the future.

The 15-minute city of today represents a major departure from the past, responding to climate change and Covid-19. While past initiatives focused on ease of travel, walkability and public services, we’re now seeing an all-encompassing approach to bring a greener take on those aspects as well as including workplaces, cultural activities and the more ephemeral nature of social connections. 

For more information on any of the topics discussed above, contact your Relationship Manager or speak to the Real Estate & Housing team today.

Creating an employee-first environment is especially important in light of sector-wide skills shortages. Many industries, prior to Covid-19, could not imagine their employees being productive outside of the office, but this mindset has now been challenged. Hybrid working has been a disrupter, and employers are looking at how they can be attractive to their employees of the future.

The 15-minute city of today represents a major departure from the past, responding to climate change and Covid-19. While past initiatives focused on ease of travel, walkability and public services, we’re now seeing an all-encompassing approach to bring a greener take on those aspects as well as including workplaces, cultural activities and the more ephemeral nature of social connections. 

For more information on any of the topics discussed above, contact your Relationship Manager or speak to the Real Estate & Housing team today.

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