The Shard located in London England
The Shard is the tallest building in Europe. This irregular pyramidal structure, clad entirely in glass, consists of ninety-five stories and stands at a height of 1,016 feet. The building was finished in July of 2012 and was designed by the architect Renzo Piano. He designed the building to be extremely environmentally friendly and economically sustainable. The building even was given a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Piano designed the Shard to use renewable natural resources to reduce the depleting of nonrenewable resources. For example, the 11,000 glass panels that make up the outside of the structure are designed to reduce heat from the sun by 95%. As these panels approach the top, they form a spire. The final nine levels of the building consist of the spire and are open to the elements which allow the building to breathe. On the inside of the glass panels, there is also a ventilated inner cavity housing a solar-control blind, and a double-glazed unit. The glazing on the panels reduces infrared radiation. An intelligent blind control system is used which tracks the position and intensity of the sun to deploy the blinds only when required. These aspects, that were incorporated into the design, minimize the use of power for air conditioning which requires the use of nonrenewable natural resources. The panes of glass also allow for natural illumination which reduces the use of electricity to light the building. Another way that the Shard uses renewable natural resources to help the environment is that it has two natural winter gardens per floor that are used to naturally ventilate the workplaces with clean air instead of using electricity and filters.
The Shard is economically sustainable by having its own power plant and through the functions of other high technology systems. Installing its own power plant on site at the Shard was very expensive, however the extra expense will be recovered in due time. By the plant using natural gas, they will save money. Today natural gas only costs $2.50-$4.00 per thousand square feet whereas oil is $3.64 per gallon (Gripper). Even though oil burners burn hotter, they are less efficient than natural gas burners, so when comparing prices and efficiencies the natural gas is more cost effective. Also, when the natural gas is converted to electricity it creates heat. The designers of the Shard cleverly installed a heat exchanger to transfer heat from the power generation system to the building heating system so not as much money must be spent heating the building. Another benefit of the power plant on site is that they are able to install their own unique sophisticated technology that increases the efficiency within the plant. This saves money because the plant does not require as much utilities.
These are only some of the reasons of what makes the Shard a green building, but they some of the most important and also ideas others should take into consideration when designing green buildings.