London’s The Crystal claims benchmark for sustainable building design, technology and operation

Siemens has opened a 6,340 square metre building in London’s Green Enterprise District, in the docklands area, that it claims as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world. The building contains a 2,000 square metre public exhibition space dedicated to sustainable urban development.

The exhibition’s zones explore a range of issues including water, transport, city design and management, energy, environment, buildings and lighting, safety and security and healthcare. Numerous case studies from cities around the world showcase innovative ideas that others can learn from. A final gallery, ‘Future Life’, invites visitors to imagine how their city might look in 2050.

The building itself features numerous sustainable building components including:

  • average energy use of 83 kWh/square meter/year, more than 50 percent less energy than other comparable office buildings.
  • an all-electric building, the Crystal uses solar power and ground-source heat pumps to generate its own energy, meaning that no fossil fuels are burned in the building.
  • two thirds of the Crystal’s roof is covered in PV panels generating around 20 percent of its electrical energy.
  • taking into account the renewable energy produced on site, CO2 emissions – at an expected 23 kg/CO2/square meter/year on average – will be more than 65 percent lower than in comparable office buildings, based on the UK grid mix.
  • rainwater is harvested for use, and not a drop of water is lost throughout the building, it can all be recycled or reused.

Gallon Environment Letter will be visiting The Crystal within the next few months. Watch for our report in a future issue of gallon Environment Letter.

Meanwhile, lots of information about The Crystal is available on  and on links from that page. The exhibition area brochure is at

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