By Anca Gagiuc
Bloomberg’s new European headquarters, located on 3.2 acres between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, holds the nomination for the world’s most sustainable office building, as designed. The building, scheduled to open later this month, achieved an ‘Outstanding’ rating against the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) sustainability assessment method, scoring 98.5 percent, the highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.
“We believe that environmentally-friendly practices are as good for business as they are for the planet. From day one, we set out to push the boundaries of sustainable office design – and to create a place that excites and inspires our employees. The two missions went hand-in-hand, and I hope we’ve set a new standard for what an office environment can be,” Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., said in prepared remarks.
Strong on sustainability
Designed by Foster + Partners, the new headquarters will deliver a 73 percent saving in water consumption and 35 percent in energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide emissions when compared with a typical office building.
These savings are achieved through an array of innovative features such as:
- Integrated ceiling panels that control heating, cooling, lighting and acoustic functions, displayed in a petal-leaf design. The system incorporates 500,000 LED lights and uses 40 percent less energy than typical fluorescent system.
- Water conservation system: Overall, the savings are estimated at nearly 7 million gallons of water each year, sufficient to fill ten Olympic swimming pools.
- Natural ventilation: The building is equipped with distinctive bronze blades that can open and close in ambient weather conditions mirroring breathing.
- Smart airflow: The feature is enabled by smart carbon dioxide sensing controls. They distribute the air in accordance with the number of people occupying each zone of the building at any given time. This feature is estimated to save 600-750 megawatts/hour of power per annum, while reducing carbon dioxide by approximately 300 metric tonnes every year.
- Combined heat and power system: expected to save 500-750 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly.
“In some of our first discussions on the project, Mike Bloomberg and I arrived at a ‘meeting of minds’ on how the design of the new Bloomberg headquarters should incorporate the highest standards of sustainability. The project evolved from thereon into a building that is one of the most sustainable in the world. The deep plan interior spaces are naturally ventilated through a ‘breathing’ façade while a top lit atrium edged with a spiraling ramp at the heart of the building ensures a connected, healthy and creative environment,” said Norman Foster, founder & executive chairman, Foster + Partners.
Active working concept
The new European headquarters was designed with active working in mind and has sit-to-stand work stations for all employees, as well as a central ramp spanning six floors that encourages walking throughout the office space. In addition, employees will have access to two cycle centers and a wellness center incorporating on-site health facilities, multi-faith prayer rooms and a mother’s room. The roughly 1.1 million square feet of office and retail space are complemented by three new public plazas, two of which feature specially commissioned works of art. The facility will also have the Bloomberg Arcade—a dining arcade lined with independent restaurants, a new entrance to Bank Underground Station and a cultural space, which will restore the ancient Roman Temple of Mithras to its original site.
“What sets the Bloomberg building apart is its relentless focus on innovation and its holistic, integrated approach to sustainable construction and design. Projects like these are really important in giving confidence to the industry to experiment,” added Alan Yates, technical director of BRE Global’s sustainability group.
Bloomberg’s attention to the company’s environmental impact has helped it eliminate nearly 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and avoid $95 million in operation costs since 2008. The London property is the company’s 34th LEED- or BREEAM-certified project. By the end of the year, almost 70 percent of the company’s 19,000 employees will work in an environmentally certified office.
Images courtesy of Bloomberg