The Core Joins Ambitious Newcastle SMEs with Net Zero Pledge

The Core Joins Ambitious Newcastle SMEs with Net Zero Pledge


As the first workspace to open its doors on the landmark 24-acre Newcastle Helix development in 2014, The Core sparked the site’s original community hub; a magnet for early adopter businesses enthused by the trailblazing city centre investment. 

A Newcastle City Council building run by property managers and placemaking consultancy Creative Space, The Core boasts six floors of flexible workspace leased by pioneering knowledge-based, research-led SMEs addressing the most pressing challenges for the future of cities, as well as a spacious ground floor event and community space, used by business and researchers to create, collaborate and innovate their data-driven tech and social solutions. 

A vehicle for change hosting a community of changemakers; The Core has an important role to play in Newcastle’s ambitions to become one of Europe’s 100 climate neutral smart cities, unlocking funding and innovation opportunities through EU programmes.

Newcastle City Council publicise a step by step guide to support the greening of small businesses as part of the city’s 2030 Net Zero commitment.  The guide and associated support encourages businesses to sign up to Newcastle’s Net Zero Business pledge. Additional support includes signposting to green business events and tailored consultations through North East Business and IP Specialists and links to tools and resources including, green grant funding, workshops and training. 

Newcastle’s Net Zero pledge for business is grounded in evidence that if all businesses agree to make three significant changes to their business activity, collectively, they will reduce the overall carbon footprint of the city. The changes relate to sustainable travel planning, energy saving and a commitment to reuse and recycle across all areas of production and consumption packaging. The Core workspace has made this pledge and is encouraging occupiers to do so the same. 

Leading by example, with a desire to inspire and support occupiers in their personal carbon neutral journeys, The Core will connect to the District Energy Centre (DEC)  this year. This single investment in the pioneering energy network, which will use emerging technologies to power the residential and commercial buildings on the Newcastle Helix site, is set to make 79.5 tonnes of Co2 savings per year at The Core alone. To put this into perspective – a double decker bus weighs about 15 tonnes!  This carbon saving made through the DEC equates to a lifetime saving of 2,266 tonnes over 28.5 years for The Core and is a critical part of the workspace’s ambitious plans. 

The Core already benefits from a BREAAM rating of  excellence, employing measures such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels, lighting sensors, a living wall and sedum roof, programmed set points on heating and paper-free policies where possible. Building on these successes Creative Space are working to reduce the environmental impact of the workspace further, adding weight to the green agenda for occupiers and for the wider Helix community. A recent partnership with occupiers Solutions Performance Group (SPG) has led to the installation of sensors across the building, which will capture data that tracks carbon consumption. Analysis of this data will feed a number of carbon reduction strategies alongside a programme of  sustainable office fit-outs and target waste management improvements.

Sarah Wilson, Creative Space Management Regional Property Director, said: Being part of a multi-let building, it can be difficult for individual companies to measure their environmental impact. With the additional monitoring at The Core and the actions taken as part of the Net Zero Pledge, we strongly believe that we’ll be better placed to respond to these challenges. The Core benefits  from strong partnerships with Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council and a number of exciting businesses (some of whom are occupiers at The Core and wider Newcastle Helix site) innovating in the circular economy, green energy and smart city sectors. This makes us perfectly placed to collect the data and develop the strategies needed to reduce our carbon footprint and support others to do the same.”

In 2021, The Core, in partnerships with  Connected Energy and Newcastle City Council, hosted ‘The Science of Carbon Zero’ event. Part of The Core’s ‘Science of…’ event series, it aims to bring leading thinkers, doers, researchers and changemakers together to present on topics of  significant societal challenge and shine a light on the work of the Helix community to tackle these. The presentations were recorded and can be viewed here. This gives useful context to Newcastle’s approach to carbon neutral, the challenges, successes, strategies and the data collections that inform all of this. The Core looks forward to inviting speakers back  for an in-person event to revisit this conversation with the workspace community.

If you would like to learn more about The Core and our journey to reduce carbon footprint, please follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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