Those “green” buildings that change cities and protect the environment

From the skyscrapers of New York City to the new neighborhoods in Lausanne, construction goes green.

To closely observe the pioneer of LEED Platinum (the highest recognition provided by the most renowned certification for environmental impact in construction), one must look beyond the glass walls of One Bryant Park, the 366-meter tall tower of the Bank of America located in Midtown, in the heart of Manhattan.

The building was, in fact, the first in the world to obtain platinum certification thanks to a series of technological innovations, from toilets that work without water to the presence of systems capable of generating clean energy sufficient for the self-sufficiency of the skyscraper.

Sustainability thus became an imperative for large urban projects, in New York City as well as in London, where works such as The Crystal have been built in recent years, one of the most innovative buildings in terms of sustainability, equipped with containers for rainwater collection, wastewater treatment systems, and artificial lighting that varies based on external light intensity.

These incredible innovations result from years of study and experimentation, as well as an increasing sensitivity to environmental issues over time. Sustainable buildings entered the collective vocabulary as early as 1970 when the Club of Rome (the prestigious non-governmental association that brings together economists, scientists, businesspeople, and politicians from around the world) published a report on the “limits of growth,” which proposed solutions to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This marked the beginning of discussions about “green” buildings capable of significantly reducing their environmental impact.

Fifty years later, these principles have become a reality, adapted to the ingenuity of architects and the skills of builders, as seen with the Bosco Verticale in Milan, two buildings in the Porta Nuova district that host over 120 large plants, 544 medium-sized ones, and over 4,000 small shrubs, capable of absorbing CO2, reducing fine dust pollution caused by urban pollution, and creating a human-scale microclimate.

"Grand projects for 'green' construction

Investing in green buildings is now imperative for a new model of urban planning that focuses on quality of life and the well-being of people. Buildings inspired by sustainability principles ensure, on one hand, a reduction in pollution during the construction phase, and on the other hand, a decrease in their environmental footprint throughout their long lifespan.

Some of these buildings are works with a profound urban impact because they contribute to changing the very face of a city. Among them arethe Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens or the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha, one of the facilities that hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Both were constructed by the Webuild Group, as well as the new Eni Headquarters, the Italian hydrocarbon giant that commissioned the construction of a completely futuristic structure where environmental attention and care take precedence.”

It’s not surprising that the green buildings constructed by Webuild throughout its history have resulted in environmental footprint reductions of over 30%, earning them important international awards and, in many cases, LEED Platinum certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

New Neighborhoods in French-speaking Switzerland

In the western area of Lausanne, the Swiss city overlooking Lake Geneva, the Webuild Group, through its Swiss subsidiary CSC Costruzioni, delivered a genuine neighborhood in March 2022, essential for the urban redevelopment of the Renens area. The project, valued at 115 million euros, includes commercial and residential development of a city area named Parc du Simplon. The project involves the construction of 8 buildings with 200 apartments, 239 parking spaces, and two for office use, which will house the headquarters of the Swiss Railways. Parc du Simplon is a neighborhood designed for living, with shared public spaces, dining areas, meeting places, and equipped parks for children. The buildings were constructed with sustainability principles at the forefront. The office spaces, focusing on circular economy with recyclable materials and the installation of solar panels producing approximately 50% of electrical needs, have obtained the Swiss sustainability certification “Minergie P.”

CSC Costruzioni's Commitment to "Green" Construction

As in the case of Parc du Simplon and the Palais des Nations, CSC Costruzioni has been working on civil construction projects with a “green” focus for years.

In French-speaking Switzerland, CSC Costruzioni was also responsible for the construction of the first stage of the new Rive Droite district in Orbe – labellized SEED. This innovative process for Switzerland considers sustainable construction across the board, touching on issues of circular economy in waste management and excavated soil, use of natural and local materials, participative district management, gray energy, and reduced consumption during construction and operation. To meet these requirements, the district will be continuously monitored by an independent body, the Swiss Association for Sustainable Districts OPL (One Planet Living), which has taken on WWF’s commitments related to this certification. In addition to the energy efficiency challenges, CSC Costruzioni has therefore put in place a sustainable construction site and supply chain management system required by the certification in line with the company’s targets.

Like in the case of Parc du Simplon, CSC Costruzioni, founded in 1960 in Lugano, Switzerland, has about 40 ongoing projects, most of which are aimed at constructing complex and sustainable structures. Its contribution is essential within Webuild’s global plan, which aims to place sustainability at the core of the infrastructure of the future.