These buildings are not in a distant future; in fact, one such smart building is already making global headlines in green design.
The Edge, an innovative office building in Zuidas, the financial centre of Amsterdam, features, among other things, 4,100 square meters of rooftop solar panels and ethernet-powered LED lighting.
Completed in 2015 by London-based PLP Architecture, The Edge was awarded the highest rating (of 98.36) ever recorded by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), a United Kingdom-based research centre.
The mind behind The Edge is architect Ron Bakker, founding partner of PLP Architecture.
In a recent interview with Eco-Business, Bakker shares that sustainability is no longer simply about conserving energy and resources, but is also about building quality infrastructure that creates a better environment for people.
As one-third of people’s adult lives is spent in the workplace, “office buildings should be attractive; they are not purely functional places to work,” he adds.
In devising a green building nowadays, constructing it with materials that are least detrimental to the environment is pretty much the baseline, says Bakker.
But a truly smart building should know, say, where daylight is best and comfort is optimal at any given moment, as proper control of sunlight entering the building (which warms it up) will help companies save on the electricity required to cool it down.
This is a particularly pertinent idea for buildings in Singapore, a tropical, Equator-skimming city-state where average temperatures hover around 30 degrees Celsius, and whose population treats air-conditioning — a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions— as a basic human right.
“The equation is simple,” says Bakker. “Sunlight is bad, but daylight is good”.