The Crystal: one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.
One Siemens Brothers Way, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1GB, Tel: +44 (0)207 055 6400
The Crystal, opened in 2012 by Siemens, is the epicentre for sustainable living and development. The venue sets the benchmark for a sustainable building design. It is the only building in the world to achieve the highest certification in both the BREEAM and LEED schemes.
Designed by award-winning architects Wilkinson Eyre, this iconic sustainable building draws inspiration from the many sides of a crystal. The external shape of the building creates unique internal spaces, including an auditorium, conference facilities, meeting rooms and office spaces. With its waterside location on London’s Royal Docks, the Crystal architecture provides a striking contrast to the surrounding skyline, the O₂, Canary Wharf and the Emirates Airline Cable Car that passes by.
The Crystal Building Energy Management System has over 3,500 data points connected to outdoor weather station supplements within the Crystal.
Ground source heat pumps supply virtually all of the building’s heating and most of its cooling. The system works by pumping water through a pipe that loops deep into the ground. There are 199 pipes at the Crystal totalling 17km in length and reaching as deep as 150m.
The Crystal’s self shading facades use high performance solar glass which allows around 70% of visible light through each window but only about 30% of the solar energy. The glass has three layers and an Argon cavity. Almost every space in the building has access to natural daylight, meaning minimal artificial light is needed.
Rainwater is collected directly from the building’s roof and stored in a 30m³ underground storage tank. Water is treated using filtration and ultraviolet disinfection. Around 80% of the building’s hot water is heated by a combination of solar thermal water heating from the roof and around source heat pumps.
The Crystal is a 100% electric building, around 20% of which is generated by the 1580 m2 of solar photovoltaic roof panels that cover two-thirds of the roof. CO2 emissions for the Siemens offices in the Crystal are around 70% lower than in comparable office buildings in the UK.
Hard surfaces surrounding the site are made from durable, recycled materials. A green roof covering the building’s energy centre provides storm water attenuation and a habitat for a rich variety of plant and animal life.