Heron Tower is a commercial skyscraper in London that stands 230 metres tall including its 28-metre mast, making it the tallest building in the City of London’s financial district. Heron Tower has a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’. This has been achieved through the extensive use of clear glass on the building façade maximising daylight to office floors, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Also, a veil of photovoltaic cells on the south elevation generates renewable energy and helps to create a solar shield protecting the building from solar gains. This contributes to the overall saving of annual carbon emissions.
Not only is the building eco-friendly, some of its tenants are pretty green too. Proskauer is an international law firm that has its headquarters in New York City. The firm was founded in 1875 and currently has thirteen offices worldwide. Proskauer pride themselves on “advancing a culture of environmental awareness and responsibility, which takes the form of maintaining a productive and sustainable workplace”. Nowhere is this represented better than at Proskauer’s London office where innovative green technology is being used as part of a wider green strategy.
By utilising Gemini pre-action sprinkler heads to protect the three server rooms, spread over three floors, Proskauer have negated the need to employ environmentally hazardous solutions such as compressed gaseous systems. What’s more, they are complying with the recent LPCB code-standard requirement (TB206) to sprinkler protect all areas of commercial buildings over 30m tall. Wayne Horton, the facilities manager at Proskauer in London was delighted to endorse the Gemini heads -
Gemini Pre-Action sprinkler heads connect into a standard wet type sprinkler system. However, with Gemini, both sprinkler heads must activate before any water is released, effectively preventing accidental activation. The Gemini system can be installed either
instead of a gas system or to complement one. While gas systems are often installed in sensitive areas, gas systems are limited by their gas storage capacity and, in cases where the gas supply is exhausted, fire protection may be lost, resulting in widespread damage beyond the immediately protected area. In these circumstances Gemini provides an ideal alternative or back up solution, with unintentional release prevented, Gemini benefits from access to the mains water supply ensuring the fire can be effectively challenged.
Gemini is fully approved by the LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board) and VdS making it suitable for installation in a wide range of buildings. Gemini offers a number of environmental benefits, avoiding accidental discharge of sprinklers naturally prevents any associated waste of water. Importantly water discharge is safe for human contact and is also a more environmentally friendly solution when compared to gas discharge.
As part of this green approach to building technologies, Heron Tower is also home to eighty-five water saving Zonecheck units. This enables critical fire-sprinkler flowswitch
tests to be carried out without wasting a drop of water and provides a staggering annual saving of around 108,800 litres of water every year. Not to mention the time and hassle that is saved when compared to manual flowswitch testing.