Second largest M&S store in the world achieves BREEAM Excellent

Second largest M&S store in the world achieves BREEAM Excellent

Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks is the retailer’s third ‘sustainable learning store’. Located near Liverpool, it is the second largest M&S in the world.


The M&S store in Cheshire Oaks is a highly efficient and well designed retail development which makes use of innovative technologies and low-impact materials. Its success is part of the company’s Plan A strategy to advance sustainability in every area of its business and operations. It was awarded a BREEAM rating of Excellent.


Marks & Spencer is a leading British retailer bringing quality, great value food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers around the world.


Marks & Spencer’s Cheshire Oaks is a 210,000 sq f development. It is a ‘sustainable learning store’ (SLS) and was built in response to the company’s Plan A commitment to deliver the most efficient and sustainable building possible. The store was estimated to be 42% more energy efficient and 40% more carbon efficient than a similar existing shop.

It is the third SLS, following the Ecclesall Road store in Sheffield and Westfield store in Stratford, London. The experience of building these stores contributed to a strong bank of knowledge and learning in sustainable building practices. M&S plans to embed this knowledge in standard specifications for its future projects.


The building scored over 80% for the following BREEAM categories: Management, Energy, Water, Pollution and Materials & Waste.

The team used innovative design throughout the build and embedded sustainable procurement within the whole supply chain. The store pioneers the use of low embodied materials (hemp and glulam), proving that this materials have potential on a large scale.

It also aimed to minimise social impacts, so it engaged with the local community throughout the design and construction phases. Over 100 hours of guided walks around the site were provided to local schools and community groups.

Building services

The store is predicted to be 42% more energy efficient and 40% more carbon efficient than a peer store. This is achieved by:

  • “Free cool” air delivered to the sales floor via displacement air columns and earth ducts, designed to reduce the demand on the air conditioning system.

  • A biomass boiler to deliver three quarters of the heating demand for the building.

  • A digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) provided energy efficient sales floor lighting, with fully dimmable lighting integrated and daylight control to maximise the natural light derived from the north lights and clerestory glazing.

  • Comprehensive metering throughout the store with remote monitoring, control and interrogation by the M&S energy department.

  • A refrigeration system using hydrocarbon refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of less than five.

Environmental features

These outcomes were supported by many sustainable features, which included:

  • FSC project certification with 99.5% of the timber provided from FSC-certified sources.

  • 100% of construction waste diverted from landfill.

  • 80,000 litre rainwater harvesting system predicted to displace a third of the store’s water demand i.e. to serve the green walls and toilets.

  • Sustainable drainage to slow surface water infiltration with permeable hard standing and swale.

  • 229 new trees and 12,000m2 of soft landscaping.

  • Lime stabilising to the foundations which reduced the quantity of concrete needed by 25%.

  • Considerate Constructors score of 38 out of 40.


M&S has created an energy-efficient, low-carbon and accessible flagship store. The team took a holistic approach to sustainability which reflected in the outcome.

BREEAM provided M&S with the framework to evaluate the true sustainable credentials of the development. It also enabled us to benchmark against our peers using the most widely-used environmental assessment method
– Munish Datta, former Head of Plan A at Marks & Spencer

Summary Marks & Spencer


Marks & Spencer
Aukett Fitzroy Robinson
Building Services:
Sustainable Design Solutions Ltd (SDS)
Structural Enginer:
BREEAM Retail 2006
BREEAM rating:
Excellent (74.68%)

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher