1 Embankment Place
It was built in the 1990s, but the office block above Charing Cross station underwent a huge refurb in 2013 which has made it the most sustainable building in the world. This mark of achievement has been given by BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology). Owners PwC have put in place heating fuelled by recycled vegetable oil, low flush toilets and roof gardens.
Although it proved very controversial, the developers behind the Walkie Talkie can't be faulted for having had good intentions. They installed solar panels, sourced materials responsibly, and produced the UK's biggest green wall, creating an important breeding ground for birds and insects. However it's also won the award for Britain's ugliest building and has reportedly melted cars thanks to its glass panelling magnifiying the sun's rays. Nothwithstanding, it's been given a rating of excellence by BREEAM, who are a bit like the Oscar Academy for rating eco-friendly architecture.
The Siemens headquarters ticks all the boxes in terms of sustainability. Thanks to a system we wish we could apply to our homes, their heating bills are nil thanks to solar panels which use the heat of the sun to generate energy. Toilets are flushed with recycled rainwater via their very own pump, and glass walls provide light so electricty usage is kept to a minimum.
7 Air Street
The Grade II listed office block at 7 Air Street added a garden to its roof in 2015, which was unveiled by none other than Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow. It's not simply a garden for employees to eat their lunch in (although they can) as the aim is for it to be home to vegetation, birds, insects and bats. The building also uses the latest technology to save on C02 emissions, and solar panels provide heat.
Five Pancras Square
Part of the regeneration of Kings Cross has included the new hq for the London Borough of Camden, complete with a library and swimming pool. An on-site energy centre has done away with the need for individual boilers, there are roofs with allotments and waste is either recycled or used as compost.
The Waitrose store in Stratford's Westfield has become the chain's first branch to run off the grid - meaning they produce their own energy thanks to a clever system installed in the shopping centre. Fridges and lighting have been designed to be low-energy and all their waste food is sent off to be converted into - you guessed it, more energy.
St. John's Vicarage
When we think of the leaps technology has made to create sustainable environments with low-carbon footprints, churches are right at the bottom of the list. However St. John's Vicarage in Wembley has done just that, with their own pump to provide heating and hot water, rainwater harvesting, using waste for compost, and super-thick insulation to keep the heat in.
A row of four flats in Bow can proudly boast of being completely green. And we don't mean the paint job - the lucky inhabitants have no gas or electricity bills, thanks to solar panelling, a wind turbine on the roof, and a boiler in the basement that uses eco-friendly wood pellets to be fired up. Residents have happily stated their homes stay warm all year round without needing to turn the radiators on. Let's hope this idea catches on.
7 More London
This group of buildings next to Tower Bridge was developed by Foster + Partners (of The Gherkin fame, among many others). It's one of many of the group's glass buildings, but it differs in that a biodiesel fuel system below the ground floor uses waste to provide both heat and cool air, meaning there's no need for a conventional air conditioning system.
Harold Hill Fire Station
When this fire station in East London was opened in 2010, not only was it the first to open in a decade, but it also became the capital's most eco-friendly. The hose reel is filled with rainwater that's collected in a storage unit that holds around 20,000 litres. The whole station is fitted with energy-efficient boilers, motion-controlled lighting and electricity sourced from solar panels.
London's greenest buildings or most-eco-friendly buildings
1 Embankment Place
Mar 8, 2016 in The All In London Blog by All In London