European Investment Bank (EIB)

EIB building upgraded to “Excellent” for its green credentials

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Source: European Investment Bank (EIB)

The EIB’s new East building which received the rating “Very good” from BREEAM for its design has gone through a post-construction assessment in 2009 and has been granted the ranking “Excellent”.

From the outset of the project, the EIB decided to put environmental considerations at the forefront of the construction of its new building. As such, the Bank chose to present the building to BREEAM, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology - a worldwide renowned certification which is recommended by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The application of the BREEAM assessment method on the EIB building was a first for Luxembourg, and indeed Continental Europe. As a result, the method had to be adapted to specific local legislation and building regulations. At this time in 2003, the EIB commissioned a Luxembourg consultant in collaboration with the UK BRE rating agency, Faber Mansell, to adapt the UK-based assessment to a “bespoke BREEAM” for Luxembourg. This was completed by mid-2004.

In March 2005, during the building’s, the project was rated “Very Good”. For the three years following this, until 2008, the construction of the building was kept under regular scrutiny by the BRE rating agency. Throughout the entire construction period, the EIB “Building Task Force” closely monitored the process, improving several elements of the building in line with BRE suggestions. In Spring 2009, when closing the “post construction assessment” the EIB’s East Building was granted the top BREEAM rating.

Faber Maunsell, the UK BREEAM assessment agency stated in the final assessment report:  ”This is very exciting news with it being the first BREEAM Post construction Report in Europe and also to have improved on the Design and procurement assessment so much so to move up one rating. It is really something to be proud about.”

At the EIB we are indeed proud of it.

Ecological and transparent: a building that breathes with the air, the sun and its own lungs!

The wave-shaped building, designed by Ingenhoven Architekten, has a surface area of 72,500m2 spread over 10 stories, three of which are above ground on the valley side and underground on the boulevard side. The 11,000m2 doubled layer glass façade stands 35m high, 170m long and is suspended from specially designed, curved, steel beams. Offices are laid-out in zigzag wings, accessible by walkways, bridges, stairs and lifts.

An outstanding feature of the new building is the use of natural and centrally monitored climatic control zones. Large atria and winter gardens act as the building’s lungs and are situated under the building’s tubular glass shell which protects against adverse weather conditions. The winter gardens overlook the valley on the north face of the Kirchberg plateau and are neither heated nor cooled. The carefully selected insulated glass maintains the winter gardens at higher temperatures than outside in cold months. In hot summer months a natural ventilation system creates airflow from the gardens’ lower areas to upper vents.

The south-oriented boulevard facing atria are permanently used by staff and visitors. Here, heat and ventilation are controlled more carefully than in the winter gardens. Radiant floor heating, induction unit and solar protection sails ensure constant temperatures.

The office spaces are sandwiched between these central climatic areas. The heating environment in the working spaces needs only to be adjusted relative to temperatures in the public zones, not outside temperatures. Offices remain at 21ºC with the possibility of a +/-3ºC individual variation provided by floor induction units and the central ventilation system. The East building also benefits from a cooling system which pumps night air around the structure and passes cold water through the concrete floor slabs.

Energy efficiency is a top priority for the EIB’s lending activities and the Bank put this policy into practice with lighting which minimises energy consumption. Modern lighting technology reduces brightness in office areas, while staff can use individual desk lamps.

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