domenica, gennaio 06, 2008

World's greenest office block set for Paris

The architect behind New York's Freedom Tower - built on the former site of the World Trade Centre - has announced that it is to construct what promises to be the world's greenest office building.
The office block, which will be branded Energy Plus, is to be built in the run-down area of Gennevilliers in the outskirts of Paris.

The project's creator, architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill, says it is also in talks to construct similar buildings in the US, Europe and the Middle East.
America's Rocky Mountain Institute, the prestigious environmental think-tank, is advising on Energy Plus, and the project was endorsed by former US president Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting last year.
Patrick Getreide, who is leading the Energy Plus project with partner Marc Eisenberg, said: "It will be the first building in the world to be 'energy plus' and carbon zero."
The proposed building, which will be more than 70,000 sq m and house up to 5,000 people, will produce enough of its own electricity to power all the heating, lighting, and air conditioning required by tenants. It will also generate carbon credits which it hopes to trade for money in the future.
Commercial property is urgently in need of greener standards, Mr Getreide said. "Many people think cars are the big polluters but it is not true.
In France 47pc of pollution comes from real estate, 33pc is from industry and 23pc comes from cars."
Mr Getreide admitted the building will be more expensive to construct than conventional office blocks, a cost that will have to be passed on to tenants.
But the builders hope to price their Energy Plus buildings on a par with the costlier end of the conventional commercial property rental market in any given area.
Mr Getreide said: "It will be 25pc to 30pc more expensive than a normal building to construct. But there will be big savings - tenants will not have to pay for any electricity, and maintenance costs will also be lower."
He added that there is an extra value to renting space in the building: "You have to calculate the value of this over 25 years - we all have to pay the price for living in a better world where there is less pollution."
The Energy Plus building will generate its own electricity by having more solar panels on it than any other building in existence, while its cooling system will take water from the nearby river Seine and pump it around the offices.
And by using a cutting-edge form of insulation, Mr Getreide said, his team would be able to get the amount of electricity consumption per square metre of office space per year down to 16 kilowatts, the lowest in the world for a building of its size.
Most modern buildings use between 80 and 250 kilowatts per square metre, while older ones often use up to 300 kilowatts.
Such projects as the Energy Plus building, which will take more than a year to construct, would struggle to get off the ground without the support of high-profile backers such as Mr Clinton and financial incentives from governments, Mr Getreide said.
Skidmore Owings & Merrill is also behind the skyscraper Burj Dubai, which, when it is completed, will be the world's tallest man-made structure.

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