How to build a green building: an example from northern Italy

December 15, 2016

HVAC equipment

A building in the Italian town of Vimercate in the north of Italy in the region of Lombardy has been awarded a platinum rating level from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

A range of technologies and systems developed to reduce energy consumption and increase the welfare of the dwellers were implemented in a building in Italian Vimercate, including some new approaches to HVAC equipment. Here’s an overview of the main technical solutions used.

One of the most “green” buildings in the world is located in the Vimercate Technology Park: the Building 1 (B01), who won the annual award for the “design and performance” given by GBC Italy, the non-profit association that is a part of the worldwide network of Green Building Council. A recognition that promotes best practices in the building, with energy efficiency and reduction of environmental impact among all due to cutting-edge HVAC equipment implementation.

Last January the building has received LEED Platinum certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the maximum level required by green building protocol imported from the US, and was subsequently nominated for the 2017 edition of the biennial European prize.

LEED certification is very complex: in summary it comprises nine areas of sustainability with their scores and evaluates a number of parameters: materials, water management, site selection, technological innovation, HVAC equipment and others.

It must be said, first, that the Building 1 includes five areas connected by a central hall, with a total area of about 32,000 square meters of offices, laboratories, warehouses, auditoriums, meeting rooms and so on. Let us see what makes Vimercate building green and allows savings of 20-28% of energy consumption compared to a” basic building “with standard features:

  • HVAC equipment is executed with Central VRF (variant refrigerant flow) that provides high efficiency to meet the diverse needs of heat and cold simultaneously in different environments. The multi-split HVAC equipment system uses air flow, air heat pump and external units on the roof, each of which is connected to multiple internal devices. Filtered and treated air from the offices and toilets is expelled through specific treatment unit (UTA) of the HVAC equipment system
  • BMS control technology (building management system) is made with the KNX standard that allows monitor regularly all HVAC equipment (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
  • intelligent lighting management through the international protocol DALI (digital addressable lighting interface) that allows one to optimize the intensity of artificial light according to the availability of natural light
  • photovoltaic roof that produces 2.3% of the electrical energy required by the building
  • collection tank of rainwater for irrigation of green food and health equipment spaces
  • facade panels with TX-active self-cleaning finish

The design of the building has also placed great emphasis on “sustainability” to 360 degrees, as required by the LEED certification.

According to the setting of this Protocol, in fact, the structure should be taken as a reference context, considering, for example, the green areas, modes of transport, waste reduction, HVAC equipment, use of recycled materials and products from local companies.

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