Ground Source Heat Pump Greens Chile Building

In Santiago, Chile, cooling–rather than heating–is the climate control imperative for office buildings, and the new headquarters of Empresas Transoceanica has taken a novel approach to this challenge.

Rather than going for the typical glass facade and installing traditional air conditioning, this innovative office building is wrapped by wood on its north side in order to deflect solar radiation, while allowing for natural light to pour into the office space. Its passive solar orientation works intelligently with the site where the building is located, and a 75m-deep ground source heat pump uses naturally cooled water to lower building temperatures. The building is expected to use just one fifth the energy of a typical Chilean office of comparable size.

Chile LEED Office

image via Empresas Transoceanica

Inhabitat reports that the building’s long, narrow, curved shape works to disseminate natural daylighting to all parts of the building’s interior, while a green-roofed parking garage (hidden beneath the building) keeps the land surrounding the office free for pleasant views through the ubiquitous office windows. The building is three stories high with two levels of underground parking.

The project was designed by the Chilean firm +Arquitectos and is expected to become the first in Chile to be awarded a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s internationally-recognized LEED green building certification system.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.