The naturalist Sir David Attenborough delivered a sobering message to the UN-sponsored climate summit in Poland on Monday. Climate change, he said, is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years.

It’s clear that, weeks after the 10th anniversary of the UK’s Climate Change Act there’s no room for complacency and as part of the cross-sectoral effort to tackle the challenge, property factors Newton Property Management is committed to ecological improvement.

Newton, a new partner of The Herald’s Climate for Change campaign, operates from three regional bases in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness and is working with motivated proprietors to help them realise both the financial and ecological benefits of investing in environmentally-friendly developments. All part of its 2020 Green Vision initiative.

The Herald:

One of the company’s significant recent projects was improving the common areas of the Herald Building in Glasgow’s Merchant City – formerly home to this newspaper and now housing 149 flats.

Newton was appointed to act for the owners in August 2016 and set about working with the Herald Owners’ Association in what joint managing director Derek MacDonald describes as being, in the early days, an intense process. “One of the main challenges was how much electricity the building was consuming,” he recalls.

After hearing ‘real evidence’ from some of Newton’s other developments, the association were convinced that an investment in the lighting systems would significantly improve the look and feel of the building while also reducing costs.

“LED lighting provides a better quality of light to the common areas, giving the property a more modern feel,” says Macdonald. “The owners of the building were persuaded by a compelling argument of significant long-term cost savings on offer, both in terms of electrical consumption and also in respect of the durability of the lamps, which require less servicing.”

Over an 18-month period, he says, they accomplished this – seeing a welcome increase in rental yields and an improvement in the quality of the tenant. “The Herald Building is one of very few buildings of this size in Glasgow and the particular challenge was the scale of the common areas,” he says.

The repayment time for the capital outlay was calculated at just a few years and with the cost of the fittings continuing to fall, this gave additional confidence regarding future maintenance costs for the new lighting system.

“While the owners were very receptive to the financial argument, they also recognised the overriding ecological responsibility, he says. “The chairman of the Herald Building Owners’ Association, Ron McAulay, has a good technical mind and he and the association are determined that improvements will continue, with further technological upgrades either completed, instructed or being considered.

“Over the years the amount of money spent replacing old fluorescent fittings was horrific and through the installation of LED lighting the property has now reduced its electrical consumption by approximately one-third, which is really amazing.”

Ron McAulay says: “The owners’ association was concerned about both the rising cost of its common electricity charges and the significant impact the current usage was having on our carbon footprint.

“We knew that this investment would bring savings in electricity and these have been substantial; what we didn’t fully appreciate – and an unexpected bonus – is how much lighter and more modern the building now feels.”

Macdonald adds that as an added benefit the value of the flats appears to be rising, with an apparent uplift in sale prices, post upgrade, of between 10-15%. Maintaining the environmental momentum, Newton now plans to move all its customers to suppliers who buy from purely renewable sources. “This is a big step and we’re talking to other members of the industry to encourage them to make similar moves,” says Macdonald. “As a factor you can’t force clients to adopt environmentally-friendly improvements – but you can show them examples and point them in that direction through the good dialogue and positivity we have enjoyed in this project.”

The Herald:

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email

In association with . . .

The Herald:

A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms

The Herald:

A publicly-funded organisation working towards a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. It attempts to influence and enable change by gathering evidence, supporting positive projects and providing technical advice and training.

The Herald:

Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.

The Herald:

A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs.

The Herald:

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is helping make Scotland the best place in the world to educate, to research and to innovate. Investing around £1.8 billion of public money each year, SFC’s funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people.