We may be, for the most part, doing our bit to reduce our carbon footprint at home, the commercial sector, whose buildings account for an average of 80% of the carbon emissions in metropolitan areas, has a way to go. But there are a handful of truly inspiring architects around the world who are leading the way and giving us a glimpse into the future of sustainability in the workplace. Their buildings are big, beautiful and green. Here’s our lowdown of the most impressive of the lot.
1. The Edge, Amsterdam
Designed by PLP Architecture and developed by OVG Real Estate, The Edge, located in Amsterdam, was rated as ‘outstanding’ and awarded 98.36%, the highest ever score recorded by Building Research Establishment, the global sustainable buildings assessor.
The stunning building is energy neutral, run entirely on solar panels at three levels, covering the roof and facade. These generate enough energy to power all the equipment in the building as well as the thermal energy storage that heats the offices. Rainwater is gathered to water the greenery and flush the loos. Beautiful to look at and carbon neutral.
2. One Angel Square, Manchester
Part of a great 10 year plan to to redevelop 20 acres of Manchester’s north area, One Angel Square received an ‘outstanding’ score from BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) for its green credentials. The 16 storey building contains a central atrium and 325,000 square ft of open plan office space and uses locally sources materials and low energy lighting, systems and IT equipment.
3. 1 Embankment Place, London
Originally built in the early 90’s, 1 Embankment Place achieved an ‘outstanding’ rating by BREEAM in 2013, after the old building was drastically redesigned.
New technologies include a cooling, heat and power system that’s fuelled by recycled waste vegetable oil that is collected and refined locally, as well as eco-friendly carpet tiles and electrical points. The urinals are waterless and the toilets are low water, to reduce water use.
Whilst the building was being redone, 96% of waste was diverted from landfill. It’s expected that the work will have paid for itself within 4 years, with energy bill savings around £250K a year.
4. Powerhouse Kjørbo, Oslo
These two stunning structures were reformed around existing buildings, using recycled materials. The eco-friendly charred wood facade needs no maintenance and the renovation as a whole has reduced the amount of energy needed to fuel the building by an incredible 90%.
5. The NuOffice, Munich
The plan when this impressive building was being designed, was to both reduce energy consumption and use renewable energy resources. It’s certainly worked. Aside from looking amazing, the yearly primary energy consumption of about 30 kilowatt-hours per square metre compares with the average new building’s consumption of between 100 – 150.