Bicocca Office Building

Milan, Italy

Green strategies.


  • Mid-Season

One of the first sustainable strategies that that was considered is orientation of the building. Facades and internal spaces are designed to be in a strong synergy with cardinal points. Building is opening to the South East and closing to the North West. Offices and atrium are located in the South East part and enhanced by big glazed surfaces, while North West part is almost closed.

There are two features for energy production implemented in the building. First of all, solar panels are used at the roof of the higher part of the building. These panels are facing south and have optimized slope to receive maximum solar energy. Another source of energy are geothermal pumps. Beside production of energy, energy saving is considered. For this purpose, the building uses energy efficient artificial lighting.

Ventilation in the building, without taking into account natural ventilation, is provided by two systems: automatically regulated e-stack system with CO2 sensors and CVP ventilation system in the basement with no ducting.

Finally, there is a rainwater harvesting tank beneath the building which reduces demand on the municipal water supply. Rainwater from the roof is lead through shaft inside the building and to the tank.

  • Summer

As mentioned above, big glazed surfaces are facing South East. During summer, these surfaces are protected by shading system. There are also horizontal shaders on the roof and over the atrium. Additional shade in the atrium during summer is created by deciduous tree leaves. Also the building has a green roof, which realizes water naturally through transpiration.

Energy systems are the same as in mid-season mode (solar panels, geothermal pumps, energy efficient artificial lighting).

Ventilation system in summer operates under natural upwards displacement strategy. This strategy does not require wind to drive the flow, so ventilation is provided throughout the summer, even on still days. CVP ventilation in the basement works in the same manner as in mid-season.

Rainwater harvesting strategy is the same as in mid-season

  • Winter

In winter, passive energy contribution is at maximum. The building is exploiting gains from large windows at the South East with shaders in a position that allows sunrays to pass. The leaves on the facad is now without leaves, so there is no blocking of sunlight. Internal gains from people and equipment should also be taken into account. Well insulated and airtight envelope is protecting from irrational energy loses. Green roof is improving thermal insulation, especially when covered with snow. Solar panels, geothermal pumps and energy efficient lighting are used.

CVP ventilation in basement with no ducting operates at the same mode as in mid-season and summer, while e-stack system uses high mixing level mode in winter, which reduces energy demand for heating. The heat gains within offices are sufficiently high that additional heating is not needed until the external temperature falls in the range 5-15 °C. This is in contrast to traditional upward displacement systems that require heating form much higher external temperatures.

Rainwater harvesting strategy is the same as in mid-season and summer.