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Shenzhen Ping An IFC, Shenzhen

Fire and sustainable design for this super green tall building

Standing at 599m high, Shenzhen Ping An International Finance Centre (IFC) is the tallest skyscraper in South China housing 300,000m² of office, 60,000m² of retail and a 15,000m² conference centre.

Servicing such a tall building and keeping its occupants safe and comfortable in a cost-effective manner posed formidable challenges to engineers.

Opened in 2016, Ping An IFC sets a new benchmark for occupant safety and environmentally responsible skyscrapers in China. The energy saving and efficiency measures employed have resulted in 18% energy cost savings compared to the Energy Standard for Buildings except Low-rise Residential Building published by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers – ASRAE Standard 90.1(2004).

Project Summary


599m The tallest skyscraper in South China

20%more efficient for façade performance

18% energy cost savings achieved

Total sustainability

Arup’s building sustainability consultant developed a holistic sustainability strategy and integrated a range of high performance cutting-edge technologies to help the building achieve the LEED Gold rating target.

To overcome the space constraints, high occupant loads as well as electricity shortage in the region especially in summer, we tailored unique energy conservation solutions with passive design strategies and active energy efficient systems.

Facade of Shenzhen Ping'an IFC (Zhou_Ruogu_Architecture_Photograph (c) Zhou Ruogu Architecture Photography Facade of Shenzhen Ping'an IFC (Zhou_Ruogu_Architecture_Photograph (c) Zhou Ruogu Architecture Photography
The building features a high-performance glazing façade which limits heat penetration while maximising daylight, thus reducing the dependency on artificial lighting

An integrated façade

The building features a high performance glazing façade which limits heat penetration while maximising daylight, thus reducing the dependency on artificial lighting.

The façade also incorporates external vertical stone fins for shading. Fin spacing, location and size were based on results from Arup’s solar tracking analysis, while the overall form was developed together with the architect to keep the aesthetic intent. As a consequence, the façade performs 20% better than would be expected from local design codes. leading to a reduction in space cooling requirements and, hence, energy consumption.

Shenzhen Ping'an IFC - the tallest building in Shenzhen. (c) Tim Griffith Shenzhen Ping'an IFC - the tallest building in Shenzhen. (c) Tim Griffith
The striking Shenzhen Ping An International Finance Centre, which accommodates more than 15,600 people on a footprint of just 3,800m².

Once more, to transport people efficiently without consuming vast amounts of energy, the building adopts a regenerative drive system which regenerates power under two conditions: when light loads are going up or when heavy loads are coming down.

Reducing solar gain

In addition, we conducted detailed building environmental modelling for thermal analyses at concerned open and semi-open space. We also carried out a solar irradiation study to determine the building orientation, glazing selection and design of vertical fins running the full height of the building to block the sun’s rays and thus reduce cooling requirements. Integrated glazing units with a low-emissivity coating were specified for the building, ushering in light with limited heat transfer.


Sympathetic to surroundings

Our sustainable strategy also aims to minimise the building’s impact on its surroundings. Provision of open space and a set-back at ground floor enhances wind penetration to improve the environment of the surrounding area. Glazing material with lower reflectivity also reduces glare - a nuisance to neighbours.

Fire safety from design to building operation

Our fire engineers’ involvement went beyond the design and construction stages – before the building’s opening, we produced a fire safety management plan and manual for its operators.  The manual enables the building management team to understand the building fire safety objectives, arrange suitable training for the emergency response team and conduct necessary maintenance for the essential fire safety systems.