It’s the world’s greenest office space, and probably the smartest, too. The Edge in Amsterdam knows how much energy it is consuming, how many parking spots it has left and when the bathrooms need cleaning. Even the espresso machines recognize you and remember how you take your coffee.

The building, designed for consultancy firm Deloitte, its main tenant, is fitted with 28,000 sensors which track movement, lighting levels, humidity and temperature.

All this data enables the building to respond and use resources more efficiently. When areas are not being used, heating, air conditioning and lighting can be adjusted or switched off.

But it’s not just about cutting energy and water usage and cleaning costs. The Edge also serves as an example of how smart building design has the potential to change the way we work.

Workers are connected to the building via a smartphone app, which helps them find parking spaces, desks (there are about 1,000 for 2,500 staff), and other colleagues. The app checks their schedules for the day and directs them to a sitting or standing desk, work booth, meeting room or ‘concentration room’.

Employees can also use it to adjust temperature and lighting levels around them. The app remembers their preferences, including how they like their coffee.

 The Edge 2
Image: OVG

The heating and cooling systems, lighting, lifts, coffee machines, the connected towel dispensers that alert cleaning staff to dirty bathrooms and the robot security guard which patrols the building at night can all be monitored and controlled centrally.

 The Edge 3
Image: Bloomberg

The environmental ratings agency BREEAM gave The Edge a score of 98.36%, the highest sustainability score ever. The building, developed by OVG Real Estate and designed by PLP Architecture, was completed in 2014. It produces more electricity than it consumes as a result of its energy-saving design and use of solar and geothermal energy.

Daylight pours into the 15-storey north-facing glass atrium, while solar panels on the southern wall and the roof convert sunlight into energy. The building also uses energy from solar panels located nearby at the University of Amsterdam. Water for heating and cooling is piped to and from an aquifer beneath the building.

 The Edge 4
Image: OVG