Beijing’s Z6 tower scores China’s high-rise carbon first

Image credit: Foster + Partners

A high-rise office building set to be built in Beijing’s central business district (CBD) has become the first in China to gain net zero certification for its operational carbon.

The Z6 tower, designed by architects Foster + Partners, has successfully passed the Net Zero Carbon Building Evaluation System, becoming the first high rise office building in the country to be awarded Net Zero Carbon Outstanding certification.

Based on BREEAM, the evaluation system was developed jointly by the British Research Establishment (BRE) and TÜV Rheinland Greater China (TÜVR).

Luke Fox, head of studio at Foster + Partners, said: “We are delighted that our Z6 tower is the first high-rise office building to achieve Net Zero Carbon Outstanding certification in China. Architecture and environmental engineering were integrated from the earliest stages of the design process, creating an extremely sustainable scheme that will act as a benchmark for healthy low-carbon buildings across the country.”

The Z6 tower is considered a signature building for the Sino Ocean Group, housing the regional headquarters for HSBC.

The project achieves a 47% reduction in operational carbon emissions (from the national baseline) through its highly efficient mechanical systems, smart building controls, energy feedback elevators, as well as on-site renewables.

Furthermore, Sino Ocean Group has made a commitment to offset the rest of the building’s emissions (53%) using off-site renewables after completion.

Working closely with the BRE, Foster + Partners has devised a whole life-cycle assessment for the project, with detailed documentation of the carbon content, electricity used, and waste produced or recycled for every building component.

The team says it has also implemented a sustainable procurement process, which requires contractors to submit Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and carbon footprint reports for all tender submissions.

The 33-storey tower will be located alongside three new high-rise buildings, two of which are being designed by the practice, and adjacent to a central park that is an integral part of the wider CBD masterplan.

Unique to the Beijing CBD, the Z6 tower will be the first multi-tenant speculative office building with a collaborative focus; a series of six atriums overlook the park and run the full height of the tower.

Greenery, natural ventilation, and daylight are cornerstones of the tower’s design. The leafy atria have façades that incorporate a natural ventilation system – allowing hot air to rise and exit the building. External terraces face onto the park and provide direct connections with nature.

Standing at 20-metres high, each atrium is designed to bring daylight deep into the 18-metre column-free office spaces from both sides. Office space is said to be highly efficient and promote well-being, with flexible floorplates and natural ventilation.

Pearl Tang, senior partner at Foster + Partners, said: “We are bringing the experience of the park into the building, with a series of vertical internal gardens that offer a range of active spaces with native tree species to enhance health and productivity.”

In addition to achieving net zero operational carbon, the project aims to achieve full building lifecycle net zero carbon, which would involve offsetting embodied carbon upon completion.

The Z6 tower also aims for the highest Chinese Green Building three-star rating, as well as international LEED Gold and WELL Platinum accreditations.

Image credit: Foster + Partners

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