January 22, 08
World's Greenest Office Building to be Built in Paris

The architect behind New York's Freedom Tower - built on the former site of the World Trade Centre - has announced that it is to construct what promises to be the world's greenest office building.

The office block, which will be branded Energy Plus, is to be built in the run-down area of Gennevilliers in the outskirts of Paris.

The project's creator, architect Skidmore Owings & Merrill, says it is also in talks to construct similar buildings in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

America's Rocky Mountain Institute, the prestigious environmental think-tank, is advising on Energy Plus, and the project was endorsed by former US president Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting last year.

Patrick Getreide, who is leading the Energy Plus project with partner Marc Eisenberg, said: "It will be the first building in the world to be 'energy plus' and carbon zero."

The proposed building, which will be more than 70,000 sq m and house up to 5,000 people, will produce enough of its own electricity to power all the heating, lighting, and air conditioning required by tenants. It will also generate carbon credits which it hopes to trade for money in the future.

Commercial property is urgently in need of greener standards, Mr Getreide said. "Many people think cars are the big polluters but it is not true.

In France 47pc of pollution comes from real estate, 33pc is from industry and 23pc comes from cars."

Mr Getreide admitted the building will be more expensive to construct than conventional office blocks, a cost that will have to be passed on to tenants.

But the builders hope to price their Energy Plus buildings on a par with the costlier end of the conventional commercial property rental market in any given area.

Mr Getreide said: "It will be 25pc to 30pc more expensive than a normal building to construct. But there will be big savings - tenants will not have to pay for any electricity, and maintenance costs will also be lower."