The purpose of this report is to evaluate the influence
of the use made of a building envelope on its energy performance. In this
report I will be studying two buildings that have recently been constructed and
convey sustainability factors. As our world changes it is important that the
way we construct and maintain our buildings to accompany and sustain our
environment. This report will go into detail as to how buildings are now being
constructed and maintained in order to work alongside our ever changing climate
and to accommodate human occupants and the buildings surroundings.
My first chosen building is ‘The Edge’ located in Amsterdam which first opened in September
2014, it is a 40,000m²
office building in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. It was designed
for the global financial firm and main tenant, Deloitte. It has been winner of
many different awards but primarily was given BREEAM Award for Offices New Construction in 2016. Three significant
building fabric factors that influence the buildings energy performance are:
Solar Panel Roof
The energy reuse is located mainly in the atrium as it acts as a generator
between the workspaces and the external environment. Excess ventilation air
from the offices is recycled to air condition the atrium space. The air is then
ventilated back out through the top of the atrium where it passes through a
heat exchanger to make use of any warmth gained.
The Solar Panel Roof is made up of 65000 sq ft of solar panels
and are located on the facades and roof, and remotely on the roofs of buildings
of the University of Amsterdam which is located across the motorway next to
‘The Edge’ which in turn makes use of neighbouring buildings.
Ethernet-powered LED lighting system is designed with 30,000 sensors to constantly
measure the buildings occupancy, movement, lighting levels, humidity and
temperature, allowing it to automatically adjust energy use.
structural components of the building were also well thought out to boost the
sustainability of the building and its future use, the arrangement of large floors organised around a
grand 15-storey north-facing atrium allows natural daylight to reach most of
the office spaces, while the load-bearing structure and smaller glazed openings
of the south facing facades provide thermal mass and shade. The atrium is the
lung of the building, ventilating the office space while providing an exchange with
the exterior which reduces energy use in both summer and winter.
The buildings design took
into major consideration its workforce and believes that happy, comfortable and
healthy workers are more productive because of the environment they work in.
This then led to an app being developed which each employee has access to.
With the app they can find parking spaces, free desks or other colleagues,
report issues to the facilities team, or even navigate within the building. Employees
can customise the temperature and light levels anywhere they choose to work in the
building via the mobile app. The app also remembers how they like their coffee,
and tracks their energy use so they’re aware of it.
The shape, orientation and
location the building was thought out in detail as each facing façade has a
role to play such as the load bearing walls to the south, east and west have
smaller openings to provide thermal mass and solid openable panels for
ventilation. The louvers on the south facing facades are designed to the sun
angles and provide shading for the office spaces, reducing solar hear gain. The
north facades are used up of thicker glass to dampen noise from the motorway
but to also keep out the cold air. The overall atrium façade is transparent
allowing a steady north natural light into the main hub of the building.
Overall it is clear to see
why this building was winner of so many sustainability awards as it has
developed so many different initiatives to keep the building running for many
further years and make use of its surroundings and employees.
My second choice of
building is the NASA Sustainability Base
in California and was completed in 2012. The base is used as an office building
and is 50000 sq feet in size. The building site is designed to be regenerate energy.
Through the two methods of optimizing energy demand and providing the needed
supply through renewable sources, the Sustainably Base’s overall goal is to
rely only on renewable forms of energy as they become cost effective. Although
natural daylighting and ventilation is maximized, the building still has an
active heating and cooling system to maintain comfort throughout the year. The two-storey buildings have a narrow
width of 54ft, which ensures more daylight reaches workstations on both floors.
The base includes open space for administrative offices, conference areas, a
glass-walled atrium and dining areas, and can accommodate 210 people.
significant building fabric factors that influence the buildings energy
High-Performance Lighting Systems
and Thermal Panels
The base has LED
fixtures in many areas of the building and the sophisticated lighting control
system automatically dims lights to adjust for conditions and time of day.
windows, skylights on the upper floor and computer operable automated windows
reduce the requirement of artificial lighting to only 40 days in a year. Energy
consumption of the building is displayed in real-time on an LCD screen in the
and Thermal panels mean that the
building consumes 75% less energy than a typical office building and generates
excess power. Photovoltaic (conversion of light to electricity) panels
installed on the roof and across the site contribute to 30% of the total energy
requirements. A small wind turbine and a solid oxide fuel cell generate the
remaining energy. Single-ply cool roof and radiant cooling panels on ceilings
reduce the cooling requirements. The solar thermal panels provide domestic hot water for
About 90% of the potable
water consumption is saved through dual plumbing, ultra-low-flush fixtures and
using recycled grey water for irrigation to its green areas.
Structural components of the buildings were not only thought out to provide
energy but to also think about its demolition. Most of the materials within the building are recyclable or
recycled, salvaged, or rapidly renewable. This also ensured it could be
disassembled or repaired quickly. An external braced frame made of lightweight
insulated metal was chosen to reduce the amount of steel in the building, and
it also reduced the amount of material needed for construction. The base
also benefits from insulated exterior metal panel systems with high performance
glazing provides a tight, warm envelope for cool mornings. When the interior
gets too warm, operable windows controlled by users and building management
systems create gentle cross-ventilation.
comfort requirements for the staff was also given consideration not only
internally but externally as outdoor
patios in the exterior gardens and trees have wireless internet access and act
as staff meeting place. The column-free interior
space that facilitates workplace flexibility also has a raised access floor
throughout the open area which is connected to a dedicated outdoor air system
to provide fresh air distribution when the building’s windows are closed. The
open office floor plan is divided into areas of 25-30 people, linked by common
services and aligned along an interior street to provide team-building and
The Sustainability Base
is situated at the centre of the Nasa Ames Campus. The building has a lunar
shape with two identical wings. It completes a geometric circle in line with
other buildings which are around the campus. The curvy buildings in the campus
are also oriented to take advantage of the natural sunlight and wind coming
from the San Francisco Bay. The
building’s orientation also means that for 325 days out of the year, no
artificial lighting is needed during working hours. The landscape surrounding
the base also features native plants, flowers, and trees, a majority of which
are drought resistant
conclusion NASA wanted the facility to showcase its culture of
innovation and exceed LEED Platinum standards. The result is unlike any
government building ever created. It’s furnished with materials that are beneficial
to your health. A building so smart and intuitive it knows exactly how much
energy is consumed and adapts itself based on weather, season and work
My two building choices are in completely different locations but its
clear to see that each project has been built in such a way that it is
considered all the aspects of its natural surroundings and its
environment which is something all projects going forward are continuing to