The home of the Eiffel Tower is getting a new architectural innovation- and a green one at that. The Energy Plus office building, to be located outside of Paris, is designed to consume no electricity other than that which it creates itself. This zero-energy building, according to the designers, will be the greenest office building ever created.

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The 70,000 square meter building is designed by architecture uberfirm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who have also designed the Guandong Green Skyscraper and a proposed green skyscraper in San Francisco. The low-rise building will be located in the Gennevilliers area of Paris, near the Seine river. It is designed to house around 5,000 occupants.

How does this building achieve its goal? For starters, the building will be heavily insulated – enough to reduce its energy use to about 16 kilowatts per square meter, which is considerably lower than that of a standard building. Cold water from the Seine river will be pumped throughout the offices eliminating the need for a standard air conditioner unit. And to actively contribute to the highest standard of energy efficiency, designers have engineered the building to have the largest solar array in the world installed in the roof. It is this solar array which will provide all the energy needs of the building, as well as providing additional energy to be fed back into the grid.

Despite its energy payments over the long term, initial construction of the Energy Plus Building will not come cheap. The building is expected to cost anywhere from 25% to 30% more than standard office blocks. Still, if one considers the future savings and lower maintenance costs, the building might come out being one of the best investments that this developer has ever done.

+ Skidmore, Owings & Merrill