Walking the talk - IUCN opens one of Europe’s greenest office buildings

04 June 2010 | International news release

Gland, Switzerland, 4 June 2010 (IUCN) – IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, inaugurates its new Conservation Centre today, setting a benchmark for sustainable office construction.

The showcase, eco-friendly office, which provides up to 140 workspaces in more than 2,000 m², was built in less than two years thanks to the contributions of Holcim, Philips, Kinnarps, Romande Energie, Commune of Gland, MAVA Foundation and others. An extension of IUCN’s certified Natural Garden was funded by Loterie Romande.

A 50-year interest free loan of CHF 20 million for the construction was provided by the Swiss Confederation.

“The new IUCN Conservation Centre is a milestone in our history,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. “It allows IUCN to house all of its global Headquarters staff and increase partnerships for action with other key organisations co-located with us. The new building also demonstrates our wish to ‘walk the talk’ by using the most innovative features and meeting the strictest green standards.”

In addition to IUCN, the Centre also hosts other major organizations in the conservation community: the Ramsar Convention, the MAVA Foundation and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Buildings account for up to 40 percent of global energy consumption. IUCN’s new Conservation Centre aims to be the first office building in Europe to obtain LEED Platinum certification (the highest US standard) as well as the Swiss MINERGIE-ECO-P® standards for green construction and design and low energy consumption.

Innovative features include: rainwater for toilets and irrigation; recuperation of heat from refrigerators to produce hot water; a CHF 1 million solar park that also sends energy back to the local electricity grid; innovative low consumption lighting solutions; local and recycled building materials; geothermal heating; decentralized CO2 controlled air supply system, and more.

The building was designed by agps.architecture, who were part of the design team for the new terminal E at Zurich Airport. The project was managed by Karl Steiner Total Services Contractor.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard will join IUCN’s Council and staff for the inauguration ceremony.

Many other friends and supporters of IUCN including Swiss biologist and conservationist Luc Hoffmann and leading environmentalist Maurice Strong will also be present, as well as representatives from partner companies, IUCN Members and other organisations. The event comes at the end of the 74th meeting of the IUCN Council (the Union's governing body) which took place at headquarters this week.

“This building is a model for collaboration for a more sustainable future. 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and it is a good time to show our wish to take action by showing that building green workplaces is feasible, efficient and even profitable in terms of operating costs,” adds Marton-Lefèvre.

For more information see the Conservation Centre web page:
http://iucn.org/about/union/secretariat/centre/

Media Contact:

Pia Drzewinski, IUCN Media Relations officer, pia.drzewinski@iucn.org,
tel. 022 999 0313, mob. 079 857 4072.

Download the press kit at http://www.iucn.org/about/union/secretariat/centre/press/

About IUCN

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges.

IUCN works on biodiversity, climate change, energy, human livelihoods and greening the world economy by supporting scientific research, managing field projects all over the world, and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,000 government and NGO Members and almost 11,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.