Noain City Hall, designed by Zon-e Arquitectos was designed from the ground up to accentuate its state of the art passive and active energy saving systems. The futuristic building has a double skinned façade encased with a metal exoskeleton, with bright foliage sprouting through. The innovative building looks more like a nature reserve than a stuffy governmental building - we hope that other cities take note!
Since energy conservation is the theme and focus of the building, almost every aspect of the design reflects this. The first step that Zon-e took to conserve energy, is by maximizing the usage of natural light, cutting down on electricity costs. To do so, the plan of the building is a series of layers, which let light flow freely from space to space.
A central north facing skylight stands over an open air space in the middle of the building, which is surrounded by offices and staircases. The light from the skylight reaches the offices, as the walls were designed to not reach the ceiling in order to let sunlight through.
Additionally, the entre façade, aside from the windows, are a translucent skin, which glow at night, and let filtered light in during the day. The exoskeleton encases the translucent skin, made from steel bars, it acts as a sun shade and reduces solar impact. The grid comes alive with varying colors of foliage, that weave in and out and will eventually overtake the façade.
These plants act as a natural filter on many levels, absorbing solar radiation in summer, insulating in the winter and at night. They also provide fresh air, moisten the breeze and infuse nature into the work day.
The active systems are just as impressive. Geothermic energy is the main power source for the City Hall, exchanging heat with the ground and water. Heat and cold inside of the building is maintained with a radiant floor, with the help of a small boiler system on the roof that is only used sporadically. Ventilation is maintained with help from the double skin, as well as the skylight which acts as a solar chimney.
All of the systems are maintained with a highly sophisticated computer system, that invisibly runs the systems to perfection. Working all together, the building has been rated to have a 60% energy saving rating.