Glumac, leaders in sustainable design and long-standing members of the U.S. Green Building Council, the premier green building organization in the United States, had an open house and presentation last week at their new premises in Shanghai. This was an event worth attending, and Glumac’s is an office worth seeing. As the first LBC (Living Building Challenge) project in Asia, one of the world’s first RESET certified projects, the first LEED v4 Platinum in China, this is indeed no ordinary office.

The Living Building Challenge™ is the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects at all scales that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature’s architecture. The Living Building Challenge envisions buildings, modelled after nature, that go beyond existing green building practices to actually positively impact their society and environment, and give back to the community. Each LBC project produces as much energy as it consumes, relies only on the rainwater falling on its roof, is made from only from locally-sourced, non-toxic materials meeting rigorous standards, and even gives back the equivalent of the land it builds on as a habitat exchange for a minimum of 100 years. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

The event at the Glumac office saw a large turnout of industry colleagues, admirers, green building champions and friends, and ‘impressive!’ was definitely the word on everyone’s lips as they were taken on a tour of the office, and attended a presentation on what LBC signifies and entails. Glumac’s main collaborators on the project, design partner Gensler, and green materials advocacy group, GIGABASE, were also present to explain the many aspects of the project, guide the office tour and take questions.

As the Glumac leads behind the project explain : Glumac wanted to build in the same energy efficient and sustainable building technologies that we incorporate into our projects, such as radiant heating and cooling, daylight and rainwater harvesting, and photovoltaics."

PureLiving China collaborated on this pioneering project by providing sustainable and innovative air  filtration solutions to meet standards stipulated by LBC and RESET certifications.  The RESET certification requires that the certified building achieve high air quality levels during working hours (below the 35 micrograms per cubic meter of PM2.5 stipulated by the US EPA and below 0.5 milligrams per cubic meter of VOCs, or chemical emissions, established by the USGBC).  PureLiving designed and implemented a system that filters incoming fresh air for occupant health, uses bipolar ionization technology to eliminate odors and bacterial contaminants, and recirculating filtration that filters the air every 12 minutes. To validate system performance, PureLiving also embedded real-time indoor air quality monitoring, displayed on a screen at the office reception and accessible through smartphones.  PureLiving President Louie Cheng explains: The new AirAware monitoring system allows Glumac to demonstrate that their green building efforts have actually paid off with clean, healthy air.  Most importantly, the staff and visitors gain peace of mind and don’t have to wonder on bad air days whether or not they are working in a safe environment."

With the launch of the first net zero office in Shanghai, Glumac establishes its leadership and expertise in creating beautiful, sustainable green spaces. This beautiful office in the old Rockefeller compound in Shanghai is a also testament to their commitment to improving the built environment. This truly challenging project, as most pioneering efforts tend to be, has created a benchmark in sustainable design and green building in China that has not only raised the bar by miles, but may be a tough act to follow. Our hope is that these projects set a new precedent for other teams to pursue the Living Building Challenge, whatever the building type or location. We believe in a fully sustainable future across the globe and look forward to celebrating these industry milestones with the certification of both offices (Shanghai and LA) in 2015. – Nicole Isle, Chief Sustainability Strategist

PureLiving China is soon moving in as Glumac’s neighbours and collaboration partners!  As Louie Cheng enthused : As PureLiving and Glumac both focus on sustainability and excellence in workplace performance, we’re excited that we will be able to share not only best practices and expertise in our respective fields, but also research facilities and a great training environment.  PureLiving will be adding a purpose-built laboratory, cutting edge testing equipment, and a team of environmental experts to the space by April 2015.