May 16, 2020

5 Sustainable builds in Europe

Siemens Headquarters: Germany
EREN Athens Offices
Marco Polo Tower: Germany
LEED certified building
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Marco Polo Tower
It has recently been announced that Greeces Sustainable Building Council (SBC) and the British Research Establishment (BRE) will undertake a joint ventu...

It has recently been announced that Greece’s Sustainable Building Council (SBC) and the British Research Establishment (BRE) will undertake a joint venture to deliver sustainable builds within Greece.

We take a look at five sustainable buildings within Europe. Although they are not BREEAM certified, they have been LEED certified, driving continual long term benefits to the countries in which they are situated.

1. HAEF Preschool & Kindergarten: Athens

The HAEF Preschool and Kindergarten became the first LEED Platinum build in the country back in 2014, and has been constructed into the shape of a fish, displaying intricate internal structures. The near 36 sq. ft. build incorporates a green roof, not only to integrate seamlessly within its surroundings, but also contains a rainwater harvesting system for irrigation purposes.

The building’s unique internal and external structures provide increased safety and also creates a light and airy space within the seven atriums.

2.  KIO Networks Data Center: Spain

Located within Murcia, the KIO Networks Data Center is home is both energy and water efficient, gaining LEED Platinum in 2015.

Uitilising locally sourced and recycled materials, the two-storey building is situated in close proximity to vital transport links and is the company’s first LEED certified building in Spain.

3. Marco Polo Tower: Germany

Situated in Hamburg is the Marco Polo Tower. Completed in 2010, the 55m residential building incorporates 58 apartments over 15 floors, providing stunning views of the nearby harbour and surrounding city.

Designed by Behnisch Architekten and located next to Unilever’s Headquarters, the tower is unique in its shape, continually moving, removing all sharp lines to ensure maximum light exposure and a softer finish.

The high rising, concrete tower encompasses terraces and balconies, extending the notion of space, alongside the use of a mechanical ventilation system and vacuum collectors, which utilise a heat exchanger, to ensure temperatures remain constant

4. EREN Athens Offices

Converted from a residential space to an office space, which has now become the home of EREN HELLAS S.A Headquarters, EREN Athens Offices has a number of sustainable features, gaining LEED Silver in 2014 and is centrally located, providing accessible transport links.

The redevelopment of the building reduced significant demand for new materials and emissions, with many internal walls remaining part of the building’s completed design and other parts becoming locally sourced. Low emission solvents, floorings and paint were also utilised within the buildings redevelopment.

throughout the year. Solar panels have also been embedded within the construction.

5. Siemens Headquarters: Germany

Completing in June 2016 is Siemens new Headquarters within Wittelsbacherplatz, Munich. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, the new building has a number of embedded sustainable features and communal areas, such as cafes and restaurants for the public to utilise and enjoy, and has been certified LEED Platinum.

Home to over a thousand members of staff, the building is spacious and energy efficient, consuming 90 percent less electricity and over 70 percent less water than the previous building which was demolished in order for the new building’s construction.

The new build also incorporates smart technologies to control the heating and cooling systems, in addition to collecting essential data in order to run the building successfully.

Architects have also ensured that transport links are not only easily accessible, but have also maintained links for the public who wish to access the city and cultural districts.  

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Read the December 2016 issue of Construction Global magazine.

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Jun 17, 2021

Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas

2 min
Italian construction firm Webuild and its U.S. subsidiary Lane Construction sign a US$16bn contract to build a railway in Texas

Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”. 

Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026. 

According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.

This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.

Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers. 

Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings. 

Three facts about bullet trains 

  • The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard. 
  • Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one. 
  • The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.


Image: Texas Central LLC.

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