The intelligent and sustainable building; a pillar of the City of the Future

6 February 2020

    Paris, France 7th November 2019

    In the European Union, buildings account for the main source of energy consumption, totalling 40 per cent. The intelligent and sustainable building is therefore at the heart of the issue for the City of the Future, while new concepts of urban planning, housing associations, shared spaces and shared services are being developed.

    According to the Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie (CRE, Energy Regulation Commission), an intelligent building is defined as being a building of "high energy efficiency, which integrates building energy-consuming equipment, energy-producing equipment and storage equipment, such as electric vehicles, into the intelligent management of the building" (1). The concept of intelligent buildings corresponds to the integration of energy-management solutions in homes and business premises, particularly in order to achieve "energy-positive buildings", according to the same source. Digital technology is a tool that can be used to understand flows and to optimise use.

    Innovation has made it possible to implement a number of solutions: better building insulation, new energy-generation technologies (solar panels on the roof, for example), cleaner heating and air-conditioning systems as well as equipment with lower energy consumption etc.

    A number of solutions

    Intelligent buildings also concern office buildings, logistics, hotels, workspaces – many bricks that together make up an intelligent city. Property developers and businesses are interested in these types of projects.

    In fact, the intelligent building goes well beyond a connected unit. The Microsoft Campus based in Issy-les-Moulineaux is a good example of this approach. From 2012, the group has committed to achieving a carbon-neutral balance on a global scale. In France, to optimise its environmental footprint, Microsoft has decided to set up the Campus in the heart of one of the largest tertiary programmes in the Ile-de-France, the Haute Qualité Environnementale (high environmental quality).

    The building has thereby been designed to save up to 35 per cent of energy and includes the following elements: a "chilled-ceiling" process that provides more energy-efficient air-conditioning; rainwater collection to water the large outdoor areas and for the toilets; and heating the building using domestic waste incinerators, thereby enhancing renewable energies.

    The challenge of renovation

    Although new projects are helping to incorporate innovative solutions, efforts have also been made to include existing buildings. As the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition of France reminds us, "this effort will allow us not only to reduce our energy bill, and therefore costs for households, but also to create jobs in construction and improve the well-being of inhabitants (2).

    The European Union has led the way with the European Directive of 19 May 2010 on the energy performance of buildings (2010/31/EC) the aim of which is to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings. It relies, in particular, on the following principles: minimal energy-performance requirements as well as a diagnostic for new and existing buildings.

    In France, law No. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015 on energy transition for green growth sets the building sector several ambitious targets. By 2050, it aims for all French real-estate buildings to achieve the lowest level of energy consumption. The French government has translated this directive through the implementation of regulatory provisions, awareness schemes and incentives.

    The hybrid concept

    But the building of the future can also be a place where different services are brought together in shared spaces: co-working, e-health, culture, etc. The idea is to offer residents of the same residence, collective spaces other than the traditional communal areas reduced to simple passageways. These living areas can also be places for sharing and communication between citizens. The building is becoming a hybrid unit, a place not only to live in but also a platform for services.

    This new offer represents a change in lifestyle and consumption habits. It's about a type of urban planning designed for new purposes. A new generation of buyers is placing emphasis on the notion of sharing. In the Ile de Nantes, the ilink programme (22,000 sqm) offers 187 homes, 6,000 sqm of office space, common areas (shared garden, co-working and multi-use workshop), 2,000 sqm of activities (nursery etc.) and ground-floor shops (groceries, restaurant etc.) and a neighbourhood concierge. The complex offers good energy performance given the use of the Ile-de-Nantes urban heating network, of which 84 per cent is supplied by renewable energy, coupled with the care that's gone into the buildings' thermal shell, allowing it to achieve energy performance that's 30 per cent better than the 2012 Thermal Regulation.

    The project "Racines Carré" ("Square Roots") on the Carré Sénart site, located in the municipality of Lieusaint (77) and delivered by property developer SOPIC Pari, is one of 59 sites chosen from among 112 applications put forward for the call for proposals led by the Métropole du Grand Paris. It is a 13,000sqm project designed by Jean-Paul Viguier and associates, including 10,000 sqm of wooden-structured offices, associated with restaurants advocating local distribution, and a Living Lab, a real cluster of local digital innovation.



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