Practices

The Edge: Amsterdam office building with highest BREEAM score to date

Highlighted Case January 2017
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The Edge is located in ZuidAs, Amsterdam and is currently considered the greenest building in the world, according to the BREEAM green building certification scheme. The building has been given the highest ­sustainability score ever awarded: 98.4%.

 

This building proposes a new way of working: using information technology to shape both the way people work as well as the spaces in which they do it.

 

The Edge uses IoT connectivity to maximise comfort and energy efficiency.

 

A day at The Edge starts with a smartphone app developed with the building’s main tenant, the consulting firm Deloitte. From the minute employees wake up, they are connected. The app checks their schedule, and the building recognises their car when they arrive and directs them to a parking spot.

 

Once in The Edge, employees no longer have assigned desks. This allows them to work anywhere in the building in varying levels of introspection or sociability: there are work-booths, focus rooms, concentration rooms, sitting desks, standing desks, balcony desks, along with the many work-stations within the sun-filled atrium itself. The building adapts to the users’ preferences for lighting and heating via a mobile app, which also allows users to locate their colleagues and find free desks. The combination of app and architecture supports activity-based working: employees actively choose the environment, mood and atmosphere they want to work in for different tasks throughout the day.

 

This innovative building management system helps reduce energy costs and provides insight into how The Edge is operating.

 

The Edge is orientated and shaped in such a way that the power of the sun is optimally utilised. The glass façade ensures that daylight can be benefited from as long as possible, without the heat of the sun influencing the temperature inside. The south side of the building is equipped with super-efficient solar panels, which keep the heat out and the radiation absorbed when at its strongest.

 

The result is more than enough energy for the heating/cooling installation, all laptops and smartphones in the building and all the electric powered vehicles, used by employees.The Edge is considered a net zero-energy building because it can generate all the energy that uses.

 

 

Sustainable Highlights

 

Smart orientation

  • The building’s form and orientation is based on the path of the sun. The atrium (glass façade on the north side of the building) bathes the workspaces with daylight, while the solar panels that are placed on the southern façade shield the workspaces from the sun.
  • The load bearing walls to the south, east and west have smaller openings to provide thermal mass and shading, and solid openable panels for ventilation. Louvers on the south façades are designed according to sun angles and provide additional shading for the office spaces, reducing solar heat gain.

High insulation from a glass façade

The building’s external glass façade measures 47 millimetres on average, which results in a soundproof value that is 5 dB higher than is required by organisation Bouwbesluit. The North façades are highly transparent but use a thicker glass to dampen noise from the motorway. The internal walls are designed to be soundproof as well.

 

Net Zero-Energy Building showcase

The Edge is considered an energy neutral building and the first project in the Netherlands that uses area-based measurement for energy generation. The Edge is self-sufficient when it comes to energy supply and can produce up to 102% of its own energy use.

 

Smart lighting

The lighting system is an Ethernet-powered LED lighting system called LoE (Light over Ethernet) developed in cooperation with Philips that results in an energy consumption of 3.9 W/m2 for lighting instead of the conventional 8 W/m2. This connected lighting system has a range of around 30,000 sensors that register daylight, occupancy, movement, humidity, temperature and CO2. The system also enables employees to use an application on their smartphone or tablet to regulate the climate and light over their individual workspaces.

 

PV production

  • The Edge uses a total of more than 5,900 square metres of solar panels. The roofs over the University of Amsterdam and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam spaces are laid out in solar panels totaling over 4,100 square metres and of which are connected to the grid. Next to this, the south façade of The Edge contains 720 square metres of solar panels and the roof is covered with an additional 1,086 square metres of solar panels.
  • The Edge uses a total of more than 5,900 square metres of solar panels. The on-site production is provided by 720 square metres of solar panels on the south façade of the Edge and another 1,086 square metres on the roof.
  • The solar panels that cover the roof provide electricity for the aquifer thermal energy storage which generates all energy required for heating and cooling the building. Solar panels on the south façade provide enough sustainable electricity to power all smartphones, laptops and electric cars.
  • The off-site production is provided by 4,100 sqaure metres of solar panels from the roofs over the University of Amsterdam and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam spaces which are connected to the grid.

Optimised natural and mechanical ventilation

The atrium acts as a buffer between the workspace and the external environment. Excess ventilation air from the offices is used again to cool 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.

 

Aquifer thermal energy storage for heating and cooling

An aquifer thermal energy storage system generates all energy required for heating and cooling the building. This system is equipped with a new evaporator unit, with an innovative technology that has never been used before.  In theory, this particular unit is 15% more efficient than the other units. Two 129m deep wells reach down to an aquifer, allowing thermal energy differentials to be stored deep underground.

 

Rainwater harvesting 

Rainwater is collected on the roof and used to flush toilets, and irrigate the green terraces in the atrium and other garden areas surrounding the building.

 

Ecological corridor

The building is located in a low environmental impact site. The greenspace that separates the building from the nearby motorway acts as an ecological corridor which allows animals and insects to safely cross the site.

 

Accessibility

Safety for pedestrians and bicyles is considered inside the buiding. Public transport (train, tram, bus) is nearby. There is a charging point for electric cars, scooters and bicycles. The bicycle parking is large enough to provide parking space for bicycles of employees. Even before and after office hours the parking facility is publicly accessible, allowing people to park when visiting the neighboring hospital.

 

Sustainable materials

95% of the materials used have a responsible and demonstrable origin. All wood in The Edge is FSC(Forest Stewardship Council)-certified.

 

 

Location

 

Gustav Mahlerlaan 2930-2970, The Zuidas district, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

 

Project team

  • Client and project management: OVG Real Estate
  • Architect design: PLP Architecture Ltd (London) / OZ Architect
  • Structural engineering: Van Rossum Consulting Engineers
  • MEP engineering: Deerns
  • Building Physics: LBP Sight
  • Main contractor: G&S Bouw
  • Façade and roof works: Rollecate / Brakel Atmos
  • BMS and lighting system works: HC Groep
  • Consultants: Fokkema & Partners (interior design), Delta Voem Groep (landscape design), C2N (sustainability)
  • Project partners: Philips & MapiQ
  • Other collaborators: University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA)
  • Main Tenant: Deloitte / AKD
  • Owner: Deka Immobilien (since June 2014, before that date, OVG was the previous owner)

 

Time schedule

  • Design: 2010-2011
  • Construction: 2012 - 2014
  • Completion date: 11 December 2014
  • Official opening: 29 May 2015

 

Building use and area

 

The Edge is a 15-storey office building with a north-facing atrium area which contains a restaurant, café, meeting and reception centre and mini-shop. The atrium covers the building (58m high) with an inspiring form and orientation, making not only the work environment open with natural light even on grey days, but also serving as a part of the ventilation system, ensuring that the used air from the offices is eliminated at the top.

 

Detail of areas (calculated according to the Dutch standard NEN2580):

  • Plot area: 6,323 m2 (2,809 m2 not built)
  • Total Usable Floor Area: 39,910 m2 (excluding the basement).

Details:

  • Offices and atrium area (15 floor levels): 36,318 m2
  • Traffic areas (stairs, elevators and elevator lobbies): 1,780 m2
  • Warehouses: 923 m2
  • Other: 889 m2

Details of the subterranean two-level basement:

  • Car Parking (364 spaces): 11,628 m2
  • Bicycle parking (500 spaces): 581 m2

 

Construction costs

  • Construction cost: 74 M € excluding VAT and building equipment.
  • Deka Inmobilinen purchased the Edge  for 200 M€ on a freehold basis from the developer OVG during construction stage in June 2014.

 

Envelope performance

 

Steel structure features

  • The steel roof is designed so that the girders, spanning more than 30 m, look as slim as possible. This has been achieved by placing the beams in a diagonal grid connection.
  • The slender façade columns are made possible by using the two footbridges and horizontal support. As a result of this, the “hanging” walkways are positioned as close as possible to the façade. There is still enough space between the façade and walkways for the gondola of the cleaner.
  • The profile of the façade columns is 1000 mm by 240 mm and composed of welded steel plates.
  • The beams are either constructed of a prefabricated single piece or when constructed on site, made of two pieces.

External façade features

  • External glass façade thickness is 47 millimetres on average.
  • The building is constructed with around 13,000 m2 of glass on the façades. The glass with different shapes and dimensions is divided by horizontal rows of solid aluminium-paneled spandrels.
  • The façade of the north-facing atrium comprises 70% glass, allowing the interior to benefit from indirect sunlight without overheating. The offices are located in a U-shaped block on the building’s east, south and west sides, allowing these maximum exposition.
  • The east and west-facing façades are composed of 45% glass balanced by 55% concrete, which provides thermal mass.
  • The south facing façade is 40% glass but the concrete on this elevation has been clad with photovoltaic panels.

 

Energy consumption

  • Total primary energy consumption: 67.6 kWh PE/m2.year
  • Fossil primary energy consumption: 56.7 kWh PE/m2.year
  • Renewable energy production (PV): 3 kWh PE/m2.year
  • The level of final energy consumption of the building will vary between -0.3 and 40.7 kWh/m2.year depending on the availability of the renewable energy supply by the PV production.

Estimated water consumption 4.1 m3/person.year (20% of gray water)

 

 

Energy systems

  • Heating, Cooling and DHW system: A geothermal system based on aquifer thermal storage which pumps cold/warm water into/out of the building, depending on the indoor or outdoor climate. The pumps and the evaporator unit can be powered by fossil or renewable electricity. A rainwater harvest system can also cover the water needs in the DHW in the toilets.
  • Ventilation system: Natural ventilation (automatic openable window panels in the south façade) and mechanical ventilation (double flow heat exchanger).
  • Building Management System: The intelligent room control HC RT and Philips’ lighting system LoE (Light over Ethernet) are fully integrated to eachother. The user can control climate and lighting (both combined) at room level via a Smartphone or Tablet app. There are 6,500 LoE luminaires over 15 floors, 3,000 of these luminaires are integrated with 30,000 sensors (daylight, occupancy, movement, humidity, temperature and CO2). There are also 750 PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches which provide data connectivity and power to the luminaries, eliminating the need for a separate power cabling.
  • Renewable systems (until 100% of total energy consumption): Solar photovoltaic (5,900 m2 PV panels between on site and offsite) and geothermal (thermal aquifer at 129 m)

 

Awards and recognitions

 

Additional information

 

Other websites with photo galleries and project descriptions:

 

Lessons learnt

While sustainability as a purely technological narrative has been exhausted by its overuse, The Edge creates a radically new working environment which is enabled by sustainable technologies.

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