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Spain’s Asturias region inaugurates near-zero energy office building Greenspace

Isabel Iglesias Isabel Iglesias Europe Press Office, Spain
7 July 2020

Today marks the inauguration of Greenspace, the first near-zero energy office building in Spain’s northern region of Asturias. Located in Gijón’s Science and Technology Park, known as the city’s ‘Knowledge Mile’, the 70% self-sufficient commercial building will provide 1,200 m² of office space for tech firms and digital start-ups.

The Greenspace photovoltaic and timber canopy The Greenspace photovoltaic and timber canopy

Looking to create an office building harnessing available natural resources with a minimal environmental footprint, the bioclimatic building received funds from the EU’s LIFE environmental and climate action investment programme in 2014. Arup’s sustainability advisors have worked on the energy design concept for this sustainable building since the start, including a series of measures to reduce energy demand to a minimum.

The opening was well attended by a selection of local leaders, including Gijón Mayor Ana González, regional Science & Innovation lead Borja Sánchez, EMASE Arquitectura, as well as Europe Energy lead Ramón Rodríguez and David Lanceta from Arup Spain. Harnessing available solar energy, the bulk of the building’s energy supply will come from a photovoltaic canopy. As well as providing onsite energy generation, the timber canopy will also act as a solar protection structure on the southern façade to avoid excess heat gain during the hotter summer months. 

Backed by developer Gesyges Innovacion en la Edificación and managed by Gijón Impulsa, the building offers 1,200 m² of usable space, including basement, ground floor and two upper floors. Other sustainable, highly efficient measures for temperature control include the use of an innovative Thermo-Activated Building System (TABS), a system of highly efficient heat pumps and chilled water circuits embedded in the concrete slabs that help deliver a constant temperature of around 20º throughout the year – even in multi-storey buildings.

As strategic advisors for the building’s bioclimatic design, as well as during the target LEED Gold certification process, Arup has developed a bespoke sustainable building design concept to best suit the local context. We are proud to participate in the decarbonisation of this region. ” Ramon Rodriguez Ramon Rodriguez Europe Urban Energy Lead

Arup’s sustainability consultants have also coordinated the LEED certification process, advising on a series of measures to achieve a Gold level. Efficiency was the key driver for the introduction of other measures such as LED lighting with presence sensors, the introduction of an integrated water cycle management control and the installation of a storm tank, also known as a spillway, to capture and retain rainwater to reduce the possibility of flooding.