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China’s First Net-Zero Operational Carbon High-Rise

China’s First Net-Zero Operational Carbon High-Rise
18 June 2024

The Z6 Tower in Beijing has become the first high-rise office building in China to be awarded a “Net Zero Carbon Outstanding” certification.


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Based on BREEAM, the “Net Zero Carbon Outstanding” certification was developed jointly by the British Research Establishment (BRE) and TÜV Rheinland Greater China. It covers the embodied emissions of the entire lifecycle of a building, the embodied carbon of building materials and operational carbon emissions.

Alongside BRE, architect Foster + Partners has developed a whole life-cycle assessment for the project, including data on carbon content, electricity used, and waste produced or recycled for every building component. The team has also implemented a sustainable procurement process, which requires contractors to submit Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and carbon footprint reports for all tender submissions.

The 33-storey tower building will be part of Beijing’s Central Business District, alongside three other new high-rise buildings. The Z6 tower will feature a series of six atriums overlooking a park and running the full height of the tower. The atria will be used for community events, bringing daylight into the 18-metre column-free office spaces from both sides. 

The atria also has façades that incorporate a natural ventilation systems, allowing hot air to rise and exit the building.

In addition to achieving net-zero operational carbon, the project aims to reach full building lifecycle net-zero carbon and the highest Chinese Green Building three-star rating, international LEED Gold and WELL Platinum accreditations.



Picture: A CGI of the exterior of the new tower, from the view of the adjacent park. Image Credit: Foster + Partners


Luke Fox, Head of Studio at Foster + Partners, said: “We are delighted that our Z6 tower is the first high-rise office building to achieve ‘Net Zero Carbon Outstanding’ certification in China. Architecture and environmental engineering were integrated from the earliest stages of the design process, creating an extremely sustainable scheme that will act as a benchmark for healthy low-carbon buildings across the country.”

Pearl Tang, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners, added: “We are bringing the experience of the park into the building, with a series of vertical internal gardens that offer a range of active spaces with native tree species to enhance health and productivity.”

Picture: A CGI showing the series of six atriums overlooking the park and running the full height of the tower. Lots of plants and communal seating areas can be seen. Image Credit: Foster + Partners

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 18 June 2024


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