London Businesses Taking the Green Initiative, Reducing Plastic Waste with New Office Habits the-switch.jpg
London's banking giant, Goldman Sachs, has taken part in environmental responsibility by replacing all of the plastic bottles in the bank's vending machines, cafés, and shops with an alternate product packaging such as cardboard, aluminum, and glass alternatives.

The company explains to its 6,000 London employees that plastic is not as recyclable as many are believing. It is for this reason that the bank has decided to eliminate the use of ubiquitous plastic bottles.

As part of a multi-faceted drive to make their business more environmentally responsible, their move to a new European headquarters in London this summer is ushered in by a promise of an eco-friendly office building that is given a top sustainability rating. All building users will also have access to a roof garden that uses an advanced rainwater harvesting infiltration system to irrigate plants, which will also effectively reduce the water consumption of the company. Goldman Sachs also replaced a large number of parking spaces with extensive provision for cyclists. The company has an ambitious goal to eliminate 85% of its plastic consumption by the end of 2019. To remove gives a glimpse of how future echo friendly offices might evolve if building users and designers would take The responsibility to preserve the planet, cut plastic usage, and reduce carbon footprint seriously.

Kyung-Ah Park, Head of the environmental markets group of Goldman Sachs, explains that their next natural step is to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. Park further explains that by 2020, the company would have met their commitment to diverting 100% of its business based waste away from landfills. He further added that the daily habits of each employee in the office make a big difference even if it is as small as reusing a cup or a bottle whenever it is possible.

Currently, there are many business owners who are considering to cut single-use plastics as part of their sustainability programs. An example is the law firm, Allen and Overy, which has eliminated disposable cups, take away boxes, and plastic bottles from their London office. From the law firm's estimate for the year 2018, they have used more than 6.5 million disposable catering items. Their success in eliminating plastic waste will lead to a donation of £100,000 to two conservation charities.

Paul Flanagan, a partner at Allen and Overy, explains that their small changes to their catering Ways could make a big difference to the company's environmental impact. Flanagan added that this is what they could do to help safeguard the planet.

Source :


An Unconventional Office’s Eco-Friendly Retrofits Pay Big Dividends

Searching for an office 15 years ago to house its 30 international brands, Travel Corp. Canada looked at available spaces across the Toronto area. Its ultimate choice was unconventional: a sprawling one-storey former soap factory built in 1958 in a suburban industrial park.

The 67,000-square-foot building had the space the company needed for a fast-expanding staff and warehousing for tonnes of travel brochures, but it needed a lot of upgrading. Since 2005, the travel, tour and river cruise company has focused on improving energy efficiency and upgrading systems with the latest technology as they need replacement. A tally of the energy and equipment savings over a decade shows that quality green upgrades can quickly pay for themselves, says Jeff Element, the company’s president.

By replacing conventional power-hungry systems with more eco-friendly ones, the company saved nearly half a million dollars ($444,636) in electricity from 2005 to 2017, it says. It’s also reduced the amount of natural gas used by 82 per cent in that period, for savings so far of $227,661. And there are substantial additional savings in equipment maintenance and replacement costs as well. The results are the product of continual research on ways to bring the building up to state of the art in energy and environmental efficiency, some which may not be immediately obvious, says Craig Lee, the company’s facility manager.

Energy savings weren’t the immediate focus when Travel Corp. Canada, a division of privately held Travel Corp., set up shop in the building near Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue in 2003. But insulation became a priority as thermal imaging found its roof and an uninsulated rear wall were losing large amounts of heat in the winter. A new challenge came almost immediately when the Toronto office was designated the site of the data hub for the company’s eight main offices and 40 sales offices worldwide. Its travel brands include Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Luxury Gold, Uniworld and not-for-profit TreadRight Foundation. That required a rethink of how to cool servers that are prodigious producers of heat.

Among the unconventional approaches the company was able to take, because it has a large, low-rise building, was installation of a “Kyoto Wheel” heat exchanger. Its large, slowly rotating honeycombed disc draws heat out of a room and cools it using less than a quarter of the energy needed to cool the data centre with conventional air conditioning. One small electric motor is needed to turn the wheel, compared to the old air conditioning systems that continually pumped fluids.

Another innovation, installing a UPS flywheel power backup array for the data centre, is currently saving the company $48,000 every five years in battery replacement costs alone, Mr. Lee says. The flywheel is essentially a rotating mass that spins at high speed and provides immediate power to servers until diesel generators can kick in. Few data centres use them now, but they are a growing alternative to battery backup because they’re much smaller and cheaper, Mr. Lee says.

The building’s large lot also facilitated installation of a geothermal system for natural heating and cooling of the offices. Water and glycol circulates in a closed system that runs 150 metres underground where the temperature is a constant 8 C. This provides cooling in the summer and needs only to be boosted to room temperature in the winter.

The geothermal installation cost $400,000 and at the time there was a $37,000 rebate from Toronto Hydro. The geothermal system is guaranteed for 50 years. Mr. Lee calculates that the existing cooling towers and boilers the system replaced would have needed replacement every 20 years, for a total outlay of more than $400,000. The geothermal system has also saved about $100,000 in costs of fuel and maintenance so far and significantly reduced water consumption. There were other opportunities that weren’t immediately obvious, but provided big savings, Mr. Lee adds. One was co-generation. Directing exhaust heat from the data centre to heat the warehouse and office area substantially reduces winter heating requirements.

The ventilation system was fitted with temperature and CO² sensors so fans turn on only when needed rather than running continuously. Light systems have been wired to come on only when people are in offices and washrooms, and they shut off when everyone has left.

The calculations show that simply shutting off computers, monitors and task lights when workstations are not in use can add up to big differences in energy use.

“We even asked staff to use LED Christmas lights when they first came out rather than incandescent,” Mr. Lee notes.

Technology is constantly improving the efficiency of building equipment. “It’s crucial for leaders to continue learning. The technology available today wasn’t available just a few years ago. There has been a shift toward green tech in every sector of the building industry,” he adds.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway lesson has been, as Mr. Element puts it: “Don’t cut corners – invest in the future of your building or office. We decided not to purchase technology at the lowest price because we wanted it to last a long time. But that doesn’t mean you have to go over budget either – it just means you have to do your research and purchase high-quality tech."Going green has had some intangible benefits as well. “I think this helps us from a retention standpoint,” for a staff that has grown in Canada to more than 200, Mr. Element says. “Millennial employees want to feel they’re joining a company they can be proud of, and in the interview process, they ask about our environmental policy and sustainability.”

Green Advice Here are some takeaway lessons for green retrofitting based on results from Travel Corp. Canada’s experiences at its Toronto office: — Reprogramming building automation systems can result in large energy savings. Look at everything that consumes energy and find out how it’s controlled, how long it’s on, what times it’s on, how much it consumes.

— Little changes can mean a lot. All of the 530 light fixtures in the ceilings are fluorescent LED. “The driver is in the lamp itself and we will never have to replace ballasts again. That’s a huge savings,” Craig Lee, the company’s facility manager, says.

— Continue to learn. Attend property management expos and seminars on what’s new in green technology.

— Think beyond traditional approaches. For example, a solar-heated hot water tank can significantly cut natural gas costs.

— Apply for incentives through energy suppliers. The incentives are based on energy saved, so it’s essential to purchase the most efficient systems and research every possible way to control the systems. (Many green technology systems Travel Corp. installed were also eligible at the time for Ontario provincial government tax write-offs).

— Plan ahead. Consider all aspects of efficiency during the construction phase, not after the fact. It’s cheaper to install green tech at the beginning rather than retrofitting later.
“As a glulam manufacturer we strive to use our own materials to the largest possible extent. However, Kerto LVL is a superior material for the top plate and end beams,” says Rune Abrahamsen, CEO at Moelven Limtre. “Kerto LVL is a lightweight and very straight material thus it guarantees production without any delays. The quality of the product is very good,” Metsä Wood and Moelven have cooperated for many years. Abrahamsen appreciates both the quality and FSC certification of the raw material.

“Kerto LVL helped us to make Mjøsa Tower as sustainable as possible,” says Abrahamsen who added that he looks forward to new high-rise projects. As cities continue to expand globally, the demand for more sustainable construction grows, and use of wood has an important role in it.

Source :


Mjøsa Tower – World’s Tallest Wooden Building – Completed in Norway

The Mjøsa Tower has been confirmed as the tallest wooden building in the world. The 18-floor building, located in Brumunddal, Norway, is 85.4 metres high and includes a hotel, private homes and office space. Metsä Wood’s fast, light and green Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) products were used in the intermediate floor elements of the building.

A symbol of eco-friendly thinking in construction, the Mjøsa Tower is hailed as proof that tall buildings can be safely and stylishly made out of wood. Designing and creating such a building was a positive challenge for architect and partner at Voll Arkitekter, Øystein Elgsaas, who said: “We want to inspire others to build the same way.” Structurally, the Mjøsa Tower is similar to conventional buildings, though the dimensions are much larger. Both the facade and the structure are made out of wood. The load-bearing structure consists of glulam columns, beams and diagonal members, which suits high-rise buildings well. The first ten floors are made of prefabricated wooden elements. The decks on the upper floors are made of concrete, to restrain the building and keep it from swaying.

The design and construction target was to build using sustainable, local wood products and suppliers. As well as the Norwegian glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT), the building also utilises Kerto LVL products from neighbouring Finland in the floor elements manufactured by Moelven Limtre.
“As a glulam manufacturer we strive to use our own materials to the largest possible extent. However, Kerto LVL is a superior material for the top plate and end beams,” says Rune Abrahamsen, CEO at Moelven Limtre. “Kerto LVL is a lightweight and very straight material thus it guarantees production without any delays. The quality of the product is very good,” Metsä Wood and Moelven have cooperated for many years. Abrahamsen appreciates both the quality and FSC certification of the raw material.

“Kerto LVL helped us to make Mjøsa Tower as sustainable as possible,” says Abrahamsen who added that he looks forward to new high-rise projects. As cities continue to expand globally, the demand for more sustainable construction grows, and use of wood has an important role in it.

Source :


Eco Friendly: Why Green Houses and Offices are the Need of the hour

Here's everything you need to know about Biophilic Designs that connect architecture with nature and help evolve a healthy, eco-friendly design landscape.

Originating from the word ‘biophilia’ (which means ‘loving living things’), biophilic designs live in harmony with nature and encourage sustainable practices. People possess an inherent need for contact with nature that even in the modern world continues to be critical to people’s productivity, physical and mental health and wellbeing. Attributes of Biophilic Design include the direct experience of nature through exposure to light, air, water, plants, animals and weather. Here’s a look at the Indian landscape of both young and established architects and building designs from office spaces to hospitality and residences, to get an insider’s view of eco-friendly, biophilic designs.

Eco Friendly | ‘Paradox’, CORE Architecture, Pune

For German manufacturing company Altana’s Elantas Beck India Ltd.’s headquarters in Pune, CORE Architecture built a meditative space that would be both exciting and vibrant at the same time. They used design strategies for passive cooling, thereby creating comfort in the work space. Says Sunil Kulkarni, principle architect at CORE, “We have observed a large saving in energy consumption and will recommend using passive cooling strategies in all architectural projects. In fact India, even to date houses some of the most self-sustainable communities and we should look at our own traditional wisdom to achieve maximum gains.”

Eco Friendly | Identiti Advertising Studio, Meister Varma Architects, Kochi

For Identiti Advertising Studi’s renovation project, the challenge was to create a naturally ventilated office for around 20 people in addition to the apartments on the upper floors for a joint family. “We’ve never consciously strived to make our designs ‘biophilic’. To us that would be another ‘ism’—the shelf life of which is limited in our age. Any design that brings humans closer to nature in a non-superficial way is beneficial especially if the interaction is a sustained one. Adapting and applying the concept of biophilic design is especially interesting in our tropical context,” says Krishnan Varma of Meister and Varma Architects.
Eco Friendly | Jetavan, sP+a, Mumbai

Mumbai-based architecture studio—sP+a, led by founding principal Sameep Padora, have completed a holistic and sensitively built space for the local community in rural Maharashtra. The project for a Buddhist Learning and Skill Development centre called the ‘jetavan centre’ was constructed with the help of the villagers, artisans and utilised locally-sourced materials. The eco-friendly design combines traditional and contemporary architectural elements.

Eco Friendly | The House Cast in Liquid Stone, SPASM Design Architects, Mumbai
Sangeeta Merchant and Sanjeev Panjabi of SPASM Design Architects created poetic interpretations through their architectural landscape. With inspirations that are Geoffery Bawa-esque, SPASM Design believes that there are no definitions for biophilic design. To them, it is second nature to live between the inside and out, and have a seamless contact with flora and fauna.

Eco Friendly | TITAN ‘Integrity’, Mindspace Architects, Bangalore

For the Titan Headquarters in Bangalore, Mindspace Architects fused the outdoors with the indoors with glass walls, stepped storeys and balconies which open out to a massive waterbody. The entire eco-friendly campus is spread over an expanse of 3.9 lakh square feet area. With the illusion of the building sprouting out from the ground in an organic way, this building design flows naturally like the stepped terrain of a green mountain with a water body to complement its outline.

Source :