Rather than just one building, OFIS conceived the offices as a campus or miniature city. While the structures will be formed by concrete shells, they will also be lined with lightweight, aluminum panels that give them a distinctive look. Solar power panels will be integrated into the facade as well. Inside, the building will be primarily comprised of concrete and natural materials such as wood, textiles and aluminum. There will also be workshops within that are designed as prefabricated concrete halls.
In order to achieve carbon neutrality, OFIS studied the renewable energy sources available in the area and determined which made the most sense to use. The offices make use groundwater (for direct heating and cooling), wind (to improve natural ventilation), and sun (for natural daylighting and the use of solar energy), and rainwater and wastewater are recycled. All ventilation systems are equipped with automatic regulation and control in the room depending on occupancy and room monitoring air quality. They’re also linked to a central control system that allows OFIS to tweak it for optimal use.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
While we can’t “see” it the way we can in cars, buildings are responsible for giving off a significant amount of greenhouse emissions. In fact, in 2007, the USGBC wrote “The building sector accounts for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. annually,” – almost half! By moving towards carbon neutral buildings, we can reduce carbon emissions, thereby mitigating climate change, reducing dependence on oil power, fuel imports, and the use of fossil fuels in general.