Jul 31, 2012

Top 10 Greenest Buildings

3 min
  1. Velodrome—London, UK Just north of London's Olympic Park, the Velodrome opens its doors this...


1. Velodrome—London, UK

Just north of London's Olympic Park, the Velodrome opens its doors this summer to thousands of track cycling fans during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Reflecting the design of a bicycle, the building is lightweight and efficient—one of the most sustainable Olympic Park venues.

Inspired by the sport itself, Veldrome's designers, Hopkins Architects says: “The bike is an ingenious ergonomic object, honed to unrivaled efficiency. We wanted the same application of design creativity and engineering rigor that goes into the design and manufacture of the bike to manifest itself in the building.”

Its double-curved roof emulates the dips of a racetrack and its specific positioning allows for the abundant use of daylight, while external timber cladding helps achieve natural ventilation. Only 100 tons of steel were used compared to the 3,000 used in the Aquatics Center that is about the same size. By utilizing new technology and software throughout the design process, adding photovoltaics and turbines weren't necessary to make the Veldrome a sustainable masterpiece.

2. Marco Polo Tower—Hamburg, Germany

As a world leader in green tech and renewables, it's no surprise that Germany also boasts some pretty sustainable buildings. Designed by Behnisch Architecketen, the Marco Polo Tower marries a high-end residential project with a holistic ecological building concept. Sun collectors on its roof provide power to warm water for the apartments, and the recessed facades of the structure protect it from direct sunlight.


3. Livestrong Foundation—Austin, Texas, US

The 1950s-era warehouse was adaptively reused and transformed into a LEED Gold-certified building. Windows were put in the roof to harvest the state's ample daylight and nearly 90 percent of the materials from the previous building were reused to build the new structure. Commuters are encouraged to take advantage of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a six-mile bike path that enables carbon-free transportation from one side of town to the other.


4. Park Hotel Hyderabad—Hyderabad, India

Earning the country's first LEED Gold certification for a hotel, the five-star luxury boutique hotel boasts distinct sustainable design strategies. Perforated and embossed metal screens over a high-performance glazing system allow diffused daylight to enter interior spaces.


5. Swarovski Headquarters—Lake Zurich, Switzerland

This transparent, low-energy, horseshoe-shaped building houses some 500 staff for the crystal manufacturer Swarovski. For heating and cooling, the structure takes advantage of water from the nearby lake.


6. OS House—Racine, Wisconsin, US

Johnsen Schmaling Architects takes credit for this LEED Platinum-certified family house. Using natural cross-ventilation and its solar exposure, the home is incredibly efficient. It also features a compact plumbing system that includes low-flow fixtures and an on-demand hot water circulating pump. Due to an incentive from its local utility, every kilowatt its PV system produces provides the owners twice the value.


7. FUSMH—Madison, Wisconsin, US

The First Unitarian Society Meeting House, a 20,000-square-foot addition to the city's Meeting House, is LEED-Gold certified. It's about 40 percent more efficient compared to similar buildings of its nature. When spaces aren't occupied, carbon dioxide sensors trigger a ventilation system to save energy.


8. Sandal Magna School—Wakefield, UK

Standing as one of the most carbon-efficient schools in the UK, Sandal Magna teaches its students about sustainability by example. Ecological features include natural ventilation through wind towers and on-site energy generation for cooling and heating. Solar panels adorn its roof and students raise fruits and vegetables in a garden behind the school.


9. House in Shimogamo—Kyoto, Japan

“To be able to see green from every room.” Those were the client's stipulations. Despite the cold, industrial look of a circular screen of frosted glass around the house, an incredibly spacious green zone strikes a pleasant contrast on the inside.


10. Cherokee Studios—Los Angeles, California, US

Making the most of the mild local climate, the housing project employs passive cooling strategies of cross-ventilation and thermal convection. The site is not only a LEED Platinum live/work complex offering professional recording studios in select units, but deemed the best studio in America by Beatles producer George Martin.


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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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