The world’s smartest building is also the world’s greenest building. This unique building in Amsterdam, called The Edge, is an office building unlike any other. Not only does it know your preferences for things like how you prefer your coffee and what temperatures and lighting you prefer to work in, but it also is incredibly green.
So green, in fact, that British rating agency BREEAM awarded The Edge the highest sustainability score of any building in its history – 98.4%. Everything at The Edge is about efficient use of resources.
Here are some of the most prominent features that contribute to its super green status.
Electric Car and Bike Parking
At The Edge, bicycle and electric cars have their very own garages. In addition, there are sensor-equipped LED lights in the parking garages that get brighter as you move closer to them and dim when you depart the garage.
Extremely Efficient LED Panels
The Edge features a digital ceiling that utilizes extremely efficient LED panels. These panels, which contain thousands of humidity, light, motion and temperature sensors, were designed by Philips specifically for the Edge’s needs. They use so little electricity that they are able to be powered by the very same cables that are used to carry Internet data.
Efficient Heating and Cooling System
Also in the ceiling, you’ll find thin blue pipes that are responsible for the building’s radiant cooling and heating system. All of the building’s water for this system is stored below the earth’s surface. For example, in the summertime, warm water is pumped more 400 feet deep into the aquifer below the The Edge. The water is insulated and stored there until winter, when it’s pumped back up to heat the building. This system is considered to be the most efficient aquifer thermal energy storage system on the planet.
Powered by the Sun
In addition to the roof, the southern wall of The Edge is covered in solar panels between the windows. This wall is constructed of thick concrete to help maintain consistent indoor temperatures. To compensate for the direct sun that hits this portion of the building without needing to put up shades, The Edge utilizes windows that are deeply recessed. The result of this setup is that The Edge uses 70% less electricity compared to the average office building.
Powered by People
Like many modern office buildings, The Edge boasts an onsite gym. What makes this gym unique is how some of the exercise stations collect the energy you generate during your workout. This energy is sent back to the grid and used to power the building.
Even rainwater is put to use at The Edge. Behind the parking garage, you’ll find an enormous concrete pool that is used to collect rainwater. This water is repurposed to flush the toilets in the building and keep the landscaping watered.
Unlike most towel dispensers in public bathrooms, the towel dispensers at The Edge contain a spool of cloth to dry your hands on. This dispenser is smart too. Since it’s connected to the internet, the cleaning staff always knows when it needs to be refilled.
In an effort to support beneficial insects and natural vegetation in the city, The Edge cleverly landscaped the north-facing terrace. Among the flowers and other plants, you’ll find bat boxes and bird houses worked in naturally. The Edge is just doing its part to protect bees, birds, bats and other insects.
Now that there is an example to look to, let’s hope we see more buildings that rival The Edge’s green status pop up around the world.
What other green initiatives would you like to see implemented in office buildings?
Imagery courtesy of The Edge