Washington Plaza gains BREEAM Outstanding for continuous improvements

Washington Plaza gains BREEAM Outstanding for continuous improvements

Washington Plaza is an office building near the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It achieved a BREEAM In-Use rating of Outstanding.


This office building in Paris is owned and managed by commercial real estate company SFL. SFL has now gained BREEAM certification for its entire portfolio. Washington Plaza achieved BREEAM Outstanding with a focus on environmental features such as a green wall.


Société Foncière Lyonnaise (SFL) is real estate company founded in 1879. Its portfolio features many premium properties located primarily in Paris’s Central Business District.


Washington Plaza is an office building of 47,097 sqm gross leasable area (GLA), located 42 rue Washington 75008 in Paris, off the Champs-Elysées and a five minute walk from the Place de l’Etoile. It was acquired by SFL in 2000 through a joint venture with Credit Agricole Assurances. SFL moved its head office to the building in May 2011 and the site remains under SFL’s management.

SFL selected BREEAM certification for the following reasons:

  • Worldwide visibility of the certification, in line with the international customers of SFL

  • Continuous improvement initiative and action plan

  • Promotion of alternative transportation (public transport)

  • Fast and responsive, meaning SFL portfolio of certification in one year

  • Pragmatic and well thought through

  • Economically suitable.

In the present national context, where acknowledgement of architectural and real estate innovation is rare, BREEAM showcases and provided a true understanding of the most avant-garde buildings of world capital cities, such as Washington Plaza in Paris.

SFL is now 100 % certificated

In 2012, SFL decided to seek BREEAM certification for buildings under renovation or in use. This has been integrated in its CSR policy and this ambitious commitment has been met. SFL is proud to be the first real estate company to have implemented a certification process encompassing the entire portfolio, meaning all buildings undergoing redevelopment are certified to BREEAM New Construction to Refurbishment and all buildings in use are certified to BREEAM In-Use International.

Strategy objectives

SFL’s objectives as part of this strategy were to:

  • Improve the ratings wherever possible

  • Achieve higher than a ‘Pass’ rating

  • Ensure client participation in the process with the BREEAM In-Use Part 3 certification.

SFL’s client partners are also being gradually involved in continuous improvement programs, with shared work guidelines for addressing such issues as green leases, environmental addenda, “green” committees, integration into their greenhouse gas emissions reduction plans, certification and training in eco-practices. Such collaboration is designed to share with all stakeholders the soundness of this strategy, which has positioned SFL’s portfolio among the best in Europe in terms of the environmental impact of property use by clients.

To effectively deploy this strategy, SFL identified in 2011 a number of sustainable development issues requiring priority attention. In 2014, they continued to deploy and add to the policies and enabling tools introduced to track the relevant pre-defined indicators and thereby reduce our environmental footprint.


SFL’s property portfolio is comprised solely of Paris properties that all have the low-carbon advantage of being within easy reach of public transport, while contributing to urban heritage conservation. This is consistent with SFL’s environmental strategy, which is based on the strong belief that offering properties with the market’s smallest environmental footprint is a way of demonstrating commitment to ensuring the quality of life for present and future generations.

Green strategy

Reflecting this belief, our environmental strategy is built around certain core objectives:

  • Reduce energy and carbon footprint

  • Improve users’ well-being and healthfulness and manage risks

  • Re-introduce biodiversity

  • Protect non-renewable resources

  • Reduce and recycle waste

  • Mitigate the impact of redevelopment and renovations

  • Earn certification for the entire portfolio.

To further this ambition, SFL are constantly reinventing the portfolio in response to clients’ CSR expectations and their need to comply with both “the Grenelle II” environmental recommendations (French national law made with engagements on ecological and sustainable development issues) and international standards.

To this end, renovations are carefully planned to ensure that buildings:

  • Have a small carbon footprint and meet the market’s highest emissions standards

  • Improve users’ health and wellbeing

  • Meet high energy efficiency building standards and comply now with future building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) regulations

  • Provide work spaces that meet the criteria and objectives of the Grenelle II and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI/CRESS) international guidelines and the recommendations of the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA)

  • Deliver lasting technical and energy performance

  • Re-introduce biodiversity to the urban landscape

  • Limit the use of non-renewable resources

  • Provide waste sorting and recycling solutions.

Major environmental features

Washington Plaza excelled in BREEAM categories such as Health and Wellbeing, Energy and Pollution. With the momentum provided by its BREEAM Outstanding certification, SFL developed a program called “Réinvention du Washington Plaza” with a view to improving its performance. Green spaces, lounge-style spaces, as well as work spaces have been designed to improve access, use and circulation of people, thus creating alternative areas for socialising. These components contribute highly to the value of the place.

A monitoring system has been deployed to provide precise and detailed measurements of the electrical consumption and this equipment enables the breakdown of consumption by use (such as IT, lighting, heating and cooling).

Green wall

The ecological potential of the site has been increased significantly by planting many trees and plants, and creating a spectacular green wall 80 meters long and 7 meters high. Watering green spaces is undertaken by a rainwater harvesting system comprising four 5,000 litre tanks.

Flexible spaces

Future value creation was supported by an investment of €18 million in the project “Réinvention du Washington Plaza”, which is intended to transform the image and functionality of this complex and turn it into one of the most attractive asset of the Paris Central Business District. In order to encourage innovation and creativity, this building is an open office (a space to inspire, meet, listen and connect), a quiet office (a space to express, reflect, create and concentrate), and a social office (a place to gather, cooperate, live and create meaning), all at the same time.


The SFL Washington Plaza headquarters building is truly a showcase of SFL’s knowhow. SFL aims to share its experience with clients in order to replicate this strategy with other tenants at Washington Plaza (Lagardère Resources), and on other sites (Zurich Insurances on 112 Wagram, Natixis on Rives de Seine).

SFL supports its customers in their practices and customs. For this, it deploys tools like the employee handbook (“Livret d’accueil), and has established a web application. The company continuously analyses and works to understand the needs and expectations of building users. To help with that, it conducts satisfaction surveys every two years.

Laurent Pedo, Managing Director at Misys France, a tenant in the building, remarked: “Washington Plaza has proved to be a good compromise between accessibility, particularly for the majority of our employees who are based in western Paris, a prestigious address that we share with some of our clients, organisational efficiency, and the potential to absorb future growth. Now that we have been here for several months, I consider that it is a real success.

“We felt that SFL was seeking to move upmarket and add value to its portfolio. I would not have signed for nine years if I hadn’t been convinced by this strategy of investing in quality.There is enormous value in having everyone in the same space; I only have good things to say about the relocation. Although I cannot quantify it, there is no doubt that both productivity and employee well-being have increased.Feedback from our clients is also very positive and contributes to our excellent brand image.I can safely say that this has been a successful choice and that the return on investment is already tangible.”

Summary Crédit Agricole Immobilier


Facility Management:
Crédit Agricole Immobilier
BREEAM In-Use International 2015
Assessor Company:
Dalkia (EDF Group)
Asset Performance:
BREEAM Excellent (74%)
Building Managament:
BREEAM Outstanding (88.1%)
Occupier Management:
BREEAM Outstanding (85%)

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