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5 of the world’s most sustainable buildings.

October 24, 2019

Sustainability and building compliance expert. Specialising in low energy design, SAP, SBEM, BREEAM, and air testing for the construction industry,

Andrew Sadler

There’s no doubt that business giants have the upper hand when it comes to implementing sustainable excellence. Cutting edge technology costs money and, let’s face it, they’ve got a lot of it.

And while we may never be the Apple or Microsoft of the world, we can certainly learn from their successes. 

Because you don’t need to be a billionaire to achieve green excellence. You just need knowledge and drive, with a passion to minimise your carbon footprint and boost the longevity of your building.

There are so many impressive, innovative green buildings to celebrate in the world today. I’ve rounded up the 5 that I find most exciting.

One Angel Square, Manchester

A home turf addition to the list, One Angel Square is the headquarters of the Co-operative Group.

It was awarded an “Outstanding” Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) rating due to its magnitude of energy saving features, all of which have led to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions and a 50% reduction in energy consumption.

The 4,000 employee strong building is powered by pure plant oil and rapeseed oil grown on their own farmland, with excess energy sent back to the grid. It also boasts LED lighting and a recycling system for waste and rainwater.

300,000ft² of exposed concrete provides a thermal sponge, absorbing heat and minimising the energy needed to cool the building.

Best of all, it generates more renewable energy than it consumes and produces net-zero operational carbon emissions. Not bad, right?

The Edge, Amsterdam

The Edge is Deloitte’s 15-storey headquarters and it’s been dubbed the most sustainable office block in the world.

Why? To start off with, it scored a nifty 98.3 out of 100 points on the BREEAM scale – the highest score ever recorded for an office block at the time.

From the outside, it looks like a giant glasshouse; but this unique exterior goes far beyond just an aesthetic. It works to significantly reduce the energy consumption needed for lighting

Within The Edge, you’ll also find a huge mix of energy saving technologies, such as passive temperature control and an energy-efficient design. The south facade is covered entirely with (invisible) solar panels and a thermal energy storage system underground regulates the heating and cooling of the building when the passive temperature control needs a boost.

Plus, it collects rainwater and uses it to flush the toilets and soak green areas. Oh, and it was the first building to utilise Philips’ Ethernet-powered LED connected lighting for offices.

All in all, a pretty impressive job.

“The Tube”, Netherlands

The Tube” is the nickname for NewLogic III, the head office and distribution centre for the logistics company, Rhenus.

As the name suggests, this modern tube-like building doesn’t look like your average warehouse. It’s far from average, and is seen as one of the world’s greenest industrial buildings.

It features triple-glazed windows, a ground-source heat system, extra insulation and automatically controlled LED lighting. On site, you’ll discover EV charging points and a building management system with keeps a close watch on energy use, water consumption and CO2 concentrations.

“The Tube”’s plethora of environmentally conscious features also include 11,600 solar panels that generate and feed surplus energy into the grid and rainwater from the roof is directed into the toilets. It scored a near perfect 99.48% BREEAM score.

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai

The second tallest building in the world, The Shanghai Tower, also happens to possess one of the most sustainably innovative structures.

Standing at 632 metres tall, The Shanghai Tower is topped with 200 wind turbines, generating around 10% of the building’s electricity. 

These turbines power both the outer lighting and the parking area of the tower and are monitored by smart controls.

The building also has transparent inner and outer “skins”, allowing natural light to flood in and cut down on the need for pricey, artificial light.

3 Queen Victoria Street, London

I’m finishing the list back on UK soil with Bloomberg’s London headquarters – a building they self-titled their “greatest achievement in sustainability yet”.

The building uses 73% less water and 35% less energy than similar facilities and, as a result, generates 35% less carbon emissions.

They achieve this through the clever structure of the building; it’s centred around a spiral staircase made entirely of sustainably sourced wood. Alongside this design, the building has a ceiling made up of 2.5 million polished aluminium “petals” that improve heating efficiency, cooling and lighting functions, hence saving energy. 

The natural ventilation of the building means that when the outside air temperature is suitable, the mechanical ventilation system will be switched off. Custom bronze blades will open up, cooling the building with naturally flowing air.

Not ones to keep their environmental achievements under wraps, Bloomberg conveys their sustainable mission to visitors with a green “living wall” of plants overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral.

The need to be green isn’t going anywhere. If you want to have a chat about how we can put you at the top of the sustainability game, get in touch for a no obligations consultation. 

Thanks to for the amazing Photo.

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