Building design in modern office towers prioritises sustainability through energy efficiency, water savings, indoor air quality, good lighting and ventilation, and rainwater harvesting among others. Technology plays a critical role not only during the design and construction phase but also in the way the building operates with connected spaces and people.
Here are three office spaces that have impeccable green credentials and are setting sustainability goals for the commercial building segment.
The Edge, Amsterdam
A green building that has also been designed smart – The Edge in Amsterdam combines several sustainable features with advanced technology to redefine workplace design. Considered the smartest building in the world, The Edge knows your coffee preferences, recognises the car you drive, directs you to a parking spot and can even assign car spaces with electric charging for your car.
The smart building also takes personalisation to a new level by using sophisticated app technology developed by Deloitte to enable occupants find a desk space through hot desking based on their schedules, or reserve a meeting room, even setting the temperature and lighting to suit the preferences of the employee.
The Edge’s BREEAM rating of 98.4% is the highest sustainability score ever awarded. Sustainable features also include a 400-feet subterranean water storage tank that provides radiant heating and cooling; sensor controlled security parking with electric rechargers for cars and bikes; 28,000 sensors for motion, light, temperature, humidity and infrared control; 15-storey atrium to enable ventilation and natural airflow; solar generated power for lighting; harvested rainwater for toilets and gardens; and an onsite gym that is hooked up to your workout and helps power the building.
The Brock Environmental Center, USA
The Brock Environmental Center sets the design benchmark for building in areas prone to flooding. Designed with the goal of protecting Chesapeake Bay, the Center is focussed on achieving ‘Net Zero’ energy and ‘Net Zero’ water status, which is necessary for a Living Building Challenge certification that requires buildings to meet the specified criteria for a full year of operation.
By relying on wind turbines, geothermal wells, rain cisterns and solar roof panels, the building ensures it won’t use any more power than it produces. An interactive energy monitoring dashboard measures power consumption as well as solar, rainwater and wind generation at the site to keep occupants clued in on generation and consumption of resources.
Sustainable design features at the Brock Center also include day lighting and sun shading for lighting, heating and cooling; recycled materials for building; composting toilets, grey water and rain water runoff for gardens; and avoidance of red-listed items for construction or daily operations such as PVC, chemically treated wood, and halogenated flame retardants, among others.
The Packard Foundation Headquarters
From its construction that used 95 per cent recycled materials and the 915 solar panels on its roof to the 75,000-litre rainwater storage capacity, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation HQ raises the bar on sustainability goals.
Designed by the San Francisco-based EHDD Architecture, the building, which generates more energy than it needs from its rooftop solar panels, is the largest Net Zero Energy certified building in the world. The mega rainwater storage is used for irrigation and toilets, helping the Foundation reduce its water consumption by up to 40 percent.
The landscaping is respectful of the local ecosystems in Los Altos and consists of 90 per cent California native plantings, which provide familiar food and shelter to local birds and insects. Additionally, rain gardens and permeable paving are used throughout to reduce runoff, filter pollutants and create a water-efficient landscape.