Green dreams & sustainable design: The buildings we love

Written by Claire Spencer


The Edge, Amsterdam

The Edge in Amsterdam is not only the greenest office building in the world, but also the smartest.

The Edge is so smart that it knows how many sugars you take in your coffee, the type of car that you drive and can even provide car spaces with electric charges for your car while you work.  Sophisticated app technology developed by Deloitte allows its residents to personalise their day to day experience. Critical tasks such as booking meeting rooms, assigning desk spaces and ordering lunch at the company food hall are all taken care of from the convenience of your phone.  


The Edge has sustainability BREEAM rating of 98.4% which is the highest ever awarded. With its 400ft subterranean water storage that provides radiant heating and cooling, to its sensor controlled security parking with electric rechargers for cars and bikes, this building gets our top nod.

Other sustainable design features include:

  • 28,000 sensors to motion, light, temperature, humidity, infrared
  • 15 storey atrium to help with ventilation and natural airflow
  • Solar generated power keeps the lights on
  • Gathered rainwater powers trickle down toilet water and helps to keep the gardens green
  • An onsite gym is hooked up so you can use your workout to help power the building 

The Brock Environmental Center, USA

The Brock Environmental Center is a working prototype for buildings in areas that are prone to flooding. Designed with the goal of protecting Chesapeake Bay, the Center aims to run at “Net zero” energy and “Net zero” water status each year.

This means that the building won’t use any more power than it produces. The team responsible for the design are determined to achieve a Living Building Challenge certification, which is a “rare, demanding designation of environmental sustainability achieved by only a handful of buildings around the world.”

Brock Center operates with wind turbines, geothermal wells, rain cisterns and solar roof panels. Some of their energy efficient features 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
  • Avoiding any red listing items for construction or daily operations such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chemically treated wood, and halogenated flame retardants, among others.

To demonstrate how much power is generated and used each day, the Brock Environmental Center has created an interactive energy monitoring dashboard that measures power consumption, solar, rain water and wind generation at the site.


The Packard Foundation Headquarters

Made from 95% recycled materials, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters is a heady mixture of beautiful architecture and world class sustainable construction. 

With 915 solar panels on its roof, the building generates all the energy it needs and is actually the largest Net-Zero Energy certified building in the world.

One of the goals of the Foundation is to reduce its water consumption by up to 40%. This is done by storing up to 75,000 litres of rain water for bathroom irrigation and flushing toilets.  


With a major focus on creating a “Healthful” environment for their employees, the Foundation has focused on caring for local ecosystems by creating gardens rich in local fauna and flora. This provides shelter for local animals, and helps to reduce runoff whilst contributing natural shading for cooling. The use of natural light and outside air for ventilation adds to the sustainable design. 


More about the author

Claire has been with Origin for 11 years and working in Digital for 20 years. A self-confessed lover of food, travel, tech and all things mindful, she also runs the Lojong Meditation school with her husband Tamkey, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk. Together they have a 5 year old son and are living in their eco-dream-home just outside of Daylesford.

References

Witness to a Tipping Point, Beginning The Brock Environmental Center from humanstory on Vimeo.

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