Green building certification is an interesting phenomenon.  It’s meant to convey a message about the building’s level of “green” or “sustainability,” but the message is only as strong as the system that creates it.  If you push beyond that message, you might ask: how many of these certified buildings are, say, positive energy?  That’s the goal of Elithis Tower recently opened in Dijon, France.  It has 1,600 sensors that examine energy and emissions.  This information is then displayed on a special public sign in full transparency for everyone to see.  The sign is both dynamic and clear.  


With this information, owners, tenants, and stakeholders are empowered to make choices that positively affect the performance of the building.  The goal is not to reach the highest level of a certification system.  The goal is to actually generate more power than is used.  

Elithis Tower is 54,000 square feet with ten stories of office space and ground floor retail and restaurant space.  The 110-foot building was built in less than a year and a half at a cost $10 million.  Arte Charpentier Architects designed the tower in collaboration with Elithis Engineering after roughly six months in research and development.  

In addition to creating a positive energy project, Elithis Engineering wanted to know whether it was possible to create an environmentally sound building at equal cost to a traditional building.  They examined materials based upon their global environmental impact, and ended up using recycled insulation and wood, as opposed to something like aluminum.  They minimized excess space and wrapped the building in windows to create abundantly lit spaces.  They topped the roof with roughly 330 solar panels.  And they designed a custom solar shield to block out excess heat and glare.

The completed project now sports the promotional tagline: “un bâtiment tertiaire à énergie positive résolument futuriste, en avance de 40 ans sur son temps!”  A resolutely futuristic, positive energy commercial building that’s 40 years ahead of its time!  Now when was the last time you saw a certified green building that could claim the same?  

[+] More photos of Tour Elithis de Dijon by fr.lombard.





Photo credits: Arte Charpentier Architects.