The greenest building in the world: The Edge
According to BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method), the Edge is the world’s greenest office building, with an outstanding score of 98.36%, and it is a great example of a sustainable, innovative and smart structure.
Located in the ZuidAs business district in Amsterdam, this 40,000 square metre building has been designed by PLP Architecture for the main tenant Deloitte, and developed by OVG Real Estate, the largest real estate technology company in the Netherlands.
“Five years from now, the new buildings in the world will be smart buildings” said Coen van Oostrom, founder and CEO of OVG, and this is just the first step towards buildings that are purpose-built to enable a better quality of life.‘Nieuw werken’ is the Dutch word that expresses this new way of thinking; the trend towards designing places that are a better place for people to work, and good for the environment.
The Edge is the practical expression of this term, because it’s not just a sustainable building, but it’s also one of the smartest and most connected office spaces, which gives people a completely new office experience.
The user experience starts with an app that manage the employees’ schedule and guides them through the building. Once you arrive at the office, the building recognises you, and you have at your disposal a parking spot for any means of transport. Apart from normal parking spots, there are also charging points for electric cars and bike stands.
The energy provided to electric charging points is completely auto-generated. In fact, the building generates more energy than it consumes. On the southern façade, there is an extensive installation of solar panels that shield the offices from the sun and in the meantime, generate energy. Thanks to these panels they can also manage the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage, a system that pumps hot and cold water from the ground to regulate the heating. The Edge is designed to take advantage of every weather condition. For example, it also collects rain water and uses it to flush toilets and to irrigate the green areas surrounding the property.
The 15 floor/60 metres high atrium owes its design to its central role in the ventilation system of the entire building: it is entirely heated by the secondary air coming from the offices, which is then released again in the environment when it reaches the top of the open space, creating a circle of natural ventilation.The main partner in this project is the property management company CBRE, which helped in the final phase of construction by educating general managers and tenants on the building’s capabilities, helping them understand what was possible and what could go wrong. They are now in charge of property’s management, and with all the sensors around the environment, they have less things to worry about. The building can precisely monitor and manage energy usage and harness the data so engineers don’t have to wait for an issue to arise or a failure to be reported, they can now take a preventative approach to maintenance.
They gather the data and help figure out the best way to reduce energy consumption; for example, when a room is not booked and there’s no one inside it, HVAC and lighting systems are turned off.
The main purpose of the building is to make employees feel comfortable in every environment they work in. For this reason, thanks to the app on their smartphones, it’s possible to set preferences about lights and temperature in the office, which will adjust automatically every time the person enter the room.
Deloitte, as the building’s main tenant, wants to focus less on the task people has to do, and more on the community they build day after day, because that’s what makes a better workplace. They have implemented ‘hot-desking’, a system where no one has a dedicated desk and they instead choose where to work between a variety of different desk format around the building (sitting desk, standing desk, balcony desk etc). This concept allows 2,500 workers to work while requiring half as many desks.
This new sustainable workplace is forecasted to save 42 million kilograms of CO2 in 10 years, compared to a normal office building, and the estimated energy consumption is less than 0.3 kWh/m2/yr. The rented floor surface is already at 92.29% utilisation of the total 40,000m2, with demand for this disruptive and innovative building exceptionally high.
As with all the technological innovations, not everything is perfect yet, but The Edge remains the most fully realised vision of Internet of Things in the world. Opened in May 2015 it has already achieved multiple certifications, including:
– 2016 Global Award for Excellence,
– BREEAM Awards 2016 for Office New Construction,
– 2016 AIA Europe Design Awards in the Environmental Design Category.