Smart buildings, also known as connected buildings or smart homes, are the latest response to energy performance challenges. They also offer new services to improve the daily comfort and safety of their users. At BNP Paribas Real Estate, our objective going forward is to ensure all our buildings in Europe have this technology integrated.
Before even being built, a smart home is designed in order to be able to interact with its environment and occupants. The building is equipped with numerous sensors, is connected to the internet, and has a data retrieval system that makes information legible and useful for everyone. All of these functionalities (messages sent by push notification in the event of a malfunction, for example) are controlled by the occupants, allowing them to turn this ability on or off depending on their preference.
A prime example of a smart building at its finest, Issy Préférence is the first BNP Paribas Real Estate connected building. Located in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, on the outskirts of Paris, at first glance Issy Préférence appears to offer the classic features of a residential housing programme. It’s located in a quiet neighbourhood, just a few minutes away from the lively area surrounding the Issy Town Hall. But these apartments, featuring large bay windows, balconies and terraces, actually offer completely new and innovative services.
Issy Préférence boasts the latest, most cutting-edge technology. Residents can control a number of services remotely, either via the Apple Home Aapp or by using voice recognition. Access to the building, opening and closing the blinds, turning up the heat, regulating energy consumption and even switching off the lights are just some of the many features that they can manage from the Aapp. .
Setting up, for example, a ‘departure’ scenario can prompt the building to automatically turn off the heating, close the blinds, switch off the lights, lock the doors and switch on the alarm every time that it is activated by a resident.
Other features include the Netatmo connected thermostat which both regulates the interior temperature according to the lifestyle of the residents, and also analyses external data in order to optimise internal comfort.
The ability to use this technology is available on a large range of devices and applications including Siri, the ‘Home + Control’ App from Legrand, the Google Assistant or Google Home App and even through devices such as the Google Home speaker and Amazon Echo, offering occupants a large choice and availability for how they want to control their system.
Owners will also receive notifications if there are any system failures or breakdowns. All these features come together to make Issy Préférence the latest model of smart buildings.
The environmentally conscious Arboretum
A great example of BNP Paribas Real Estate’s implication in environmentally-conscious building projects is Arboretum.
In partnership with Woodeum, BNP Paribas Real Estate unveiled Arboretum, located in Nanterre, a sector just outside Paris. Situated inside a 9-hectare park right next to the banks of the river Seine, this 125,000m² office campus will be built entirely out of wood, featuring the innovative low-carbon technology developed by Woodeum.
This revolutionary and eco-friendly way of building is the result of the latest research regarding the carbon footprint of building construction. Arboretum is the next step towards an eco-friendly transition.
The materials used, the type of construction, the use and the evolution of the buildings have all been conceived in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire life-cycle of the campus, and to maximise their resilience. The use of bio-sourced materials, the bioclimatic conception, the recycling of wood scraps, the production of renewable energy (both photovoltaic and geothermal) all contribute to making the site a true model of sustainable development. This energy production will cover 75% of the heating and air-conditioning needs of the campus, and the result is that the cost of utilities will be half of that of a last-generation building.
The scale of this project will also foster the development of a circular economy revolving around urban agriculture, and will directly involve the employees in understanding and setting up initiatives that facilitate biodiversity and sustainable development.
A vast orchard and vegetable garden will produce close to 25 tonnes of organic, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables per year. That is enough to prepare 400 meals a day at the restaurant located in the middle of the gardens. The compost used for gardening will be produced on-site using the organic waste from the restaurants, and even the rain-water will be collected and recycled to water the gardens.
Finally, Arboretum is also a new, nature-forward approach to working conditions. It will include meeting and conference rooms in the middle of the park, large windows overlooking the trees and gardens, work spaces that are filled with natural light, terraces on each floor, cafes and bars on the riverbank, modular work spaces in old industrial buildings, outdoor work bubbles, and more.
As Thierry Laroue-Pont, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Real Estate explains, “Expert in the project management of large projects, such as the Grands Moulins de Pantin, the Odyssée campus in Nanterre and more recently the restructuring of Citylights in Boulogne Billancourt, BNP Paribas Real Estate's Corporate Real Estate Promotion Department is pleased to contribute to the birth of this innovative campus and the urban reuse of this previously unused industrial land.”
Extending our reach across Europe
Both in France and abroad, BNP Paribas Real Estate is focused on deploying exciting new types of buildings.
A new project called Hexagon was delivered at the end of 2017. It was the first time that BNP Paribas Real Estate launched a residential programme in London.
The 15-floor tower includes 46 lodgings with 3 or 4 rooms, as well as attic flats and 13 social housing apartments.
Initially, the construction site was home to old office buildings dating from the 1960’s. It was then completely renovated in order to create a new housing complex that’s situated in the heart of London, right in Covent Garden. Thanks to its location, Hexagon offers panoramic views of the entire city.
BNP Paribas Real Estate worked hand in hand with the architectural firms Michaelis Boyd and A&Q in order to complete the transformation of this site. Together, they made sure to fully take advantage of the unusual hexagonal shape of the building in order to create alluring living spaces. The interior design of the various spaces is tailored to accentuate its original shape, therefore making Hexagon a premium product.
Two extra floors have been added to the old building structure, and the entire facade has been replaced by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and balconies. In addition to these residences, there are also top of the line commercial premises, as well as a lobby that illustrates the quality of the construction. There are limited parking and storage spaces available to residents, as well as bike sheds.
Another highlight of the Hexagon building is the concierge services. Residents of the building have access to luxury concierge services, just like those of a hotel, 24 hours a day. These services are designed to meet all of the residents’ needs, ranging from restaurant reservations to dry-cleaning.
According to Thierry Laroue-Pont, the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Real Estate, “Hexagon perfectly illustrates our ambition for international development, and specifically our real estate promotion projects in London. After the success of our first office buildings in King’s Cross (which are entirely rented out to Google), this project symbolises the first step in our residential housing strategy in the United Kingdom. We’re already examining other opportunities to further our real estate promotion projects in this country.”
Thanks to these three buildings, connected, eco-friendly residences and offices are no longer a sci-fi vision of the future. The most recent BNP Paribas Real Estate buildings are emblematic of the latest trends in technology, architecture and environmentally-conscious practices whilst also following a ‘Privacy by Design’ model which carefully respects GDPR.
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