SENER headquarters in Catalonia awarded VERDEGBCe certification by Green Building Council España27/04/2015 (Spain)
Thanks to its eco-technological design and the integration of passive energy efficient solutions, the SENER building in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Barcelona) was awarded 4 VERDEGBCe leaves (out of a maximum of 5) by the Green Building Council España organization. This site is the headquarters for the engineering and technology group’s division in Catalonia.
The organization positively assessed the building in a variety of different criteria. In relation to the plot and the location, it praised the sorting and recycling approaches to municipal solid waste, the selection of native plants for the landscape that reduce the watering needs, and the selection of lighting designed to emit low levels of light pollution. Relating to energy and the atmosphere, it considered the low energy impact of the construction materials and systems, the purchase of those materials from local suppliers (within a radius of 100 km), the use of renewable energy, which is clearly demonstrated by the photovoltaic pergola (over 1,162 sqm of photovoltaic panels shade the building and provide an additional 215 kWp installed power, providing the building with 43.5% of its annual electricity consumption) and the use of district heating and cooling, which minimizes photo-oxidant formation. Overall the new headquarters has a remarkably low energy consumption – no higher than 145 kWh/sqm per year. Furthermore, CO2 emissions are reduced to 32 kg/sqm.
Another area that scored well was the good use and management of natural resources, including optimal use of drinking water, solutions for reusing rain water and greywater for watering gardens, demolition strategies, and the correct management of waste shown by SENER during the construction. This was part of an environmental plan that encompassed, among other measures, the recycling of waste materials, the quality of the indoor environment through the use of non-toxic materials, optimal use of natural light for workstations and low levels of noise pollution (with protection measures against outdoor noise as well as indoor noise from the building itself). These and other energy efficiency measures, relating to both the building’s surroundings and its orientation, all helped to cut down on CO2 levels. Further aspects taken into account were related to the quality of the service offered by the building. This covered good climate and lighting control, a system for recharging electric vehicles in the underground parking garage, and the implementation of a maintenance management plan after the building’s inauguration.
Finally, Green Building Council España also made similar positive judgments on social aspects such as universal design and visual access from work areas, and on economic aspects such as the construction, use and maintenance costs, which were notably low.
The SENER building in Barcelona was inaugurated in 2014 and has 7,500 sqm of land, 16,000 sqm of floor space and an additional 4,000 sqm for further expansion. More than 300 people from a range of different disciplines work there, including engineers, architects, mathematicians, physicists and doctors. It is equipped with high-performance facilities to carry out projects with state-of-the-art technology: technical offices, two cleanrooms (one of which will be a Class 10,000 high performance cleanroom), an electronics laboratory with SMD (Superficial Mounted Devices) and conventional welding facilities, two hardware integration rooms and high precision mechanical workshops.
The design and construction project was executed by a team of SENER architects and engineers, who gave particular attention to the sustainability aspects that comprise the methodology for the VERDEGBCe certification. As a matter of fact, last year the building received a Category A energy rating from the Catalan Energy Institute (ICAEN).