HSBC banks on Hunter Douglas Architectural’s environmental credentials for new Birmingham HQ

Hunter Douglas Architectural’s commitment to sustainability has led to HSBC’s new ring-fenced banking headquarters in Birmingham become one of the greenest in the city.

The new HSBC UK building on Broad Street is the first in Birmingham to be constructed to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold accreditation standard – the globally recognised symbol of sustainability achievement.

The interiors of this ten-storey building, which will house 2,500 staff, were designed by award-winning tp bennett and include external glazing made up of 25% recycled materials as well as a thermal coating to increase overall energy performance, the steel used in its construction has a minimum of 20% recycled materials and it features energy-efficient LED lighting.



To attain the Gold LEED, the internal design was built using sustainable timber approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, which was sourced by Hunter Douglas Architectural. 

The international architectural products company was asked to supply a total of 850m2 of ceiling panels. All the wood sourced by Hunter Douglas Architectural is FSC certified and the company is also committed to the Cradle to Cradle principle in its product development.

For the prestigious HSBC scheme, it supplied 600m2 of MDF grill finished in RAL9010 white. The panels, 25mm wide and 115mm in height, were manufactured with a 120mm gap to create a modern and light, aesthetically pleasing look for the space.



For the level 10 client meeting rooms , Hunter Douglas Architectural supplied 150m2 American White Oak veneered grill that was manufactured 39mm wide and 95mm deep. It was manufactured with an 86mm gap. Veneered wood grills are an environmentally friendly building product because the veneer used in the manufacture is produced efficiently: modern production methods ensure that about 800-1000m2 of veneer can be produced from 1m3 of wood. Another advantage is that it is a made-to-measure solution, which means little or no cutting is required on site, thus significantly reducing the installation time and cost.

For the HSBC University auditorium, Hunter Douglas Architectural supplied 100m2 600 x 600mm of its Prestige American White Oak veneer panels. Acoustic control was achieved via the application of black non-woven acoustic fleece to the back of the panels and bespoke 9mm diameter holes in the panels. The beauty of the Prestige system is that it has a special edge finish, ensuring that the substructure is completely concealed. Every panel can be removed easily by lifting and tilting.

David Harris, General Manager at Hunter Douglas Architectural, said: “As globally renowned suppliers of architectural products, we are no stranger to working on complex projects in corporate environments such as this. The stringent environmental considerations that HSBC has insisted upon lines up with our commitment to sustainability and we are delighted to have played our part in delivering this prestigious building.”

Naomi Buckley, associate director of tp bennett, said: “During the internal design process, we selected timber veneer ceiling to complement the finishes palette – taking inspiration from the natural environment. We also used the timber veneer to provide warmth to the client meeting rooms and auditorium. Within the client floor events we wanted to use a ceiling with a visual texture which reflected the timber flooring, we also selected a panelled grill ceiling to give this effect and were really happy with the overall quality of the system.” 

Hunter Douglas Architectural is committed to sustainability and responsible development through its continuous efforts to improve production processes, eliminate waste and reduce maintenance. As well as using FSC timber, it has increased the amount of recycled aluminium it uses in its ceilings, with its own produced aluminium containing 90% recycled material. All of its own production scrap is collected and re-worked into new valuable input for its melting processes.