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The new US Embassy in London’s Nine Elms

Plans for the new US Embassy have been a long time coming.

The move to Nine Elms was first announced way back in 2008, when an agreement was made with developer Ballymore to purchase the land on the Southbank. Then, to guarantee that the new US Embassy in London was the very best in innovative energy-efficient building design, a design the building competition was run. The winning design was submitted by Kieran Timberlake.

The US Embassy in London has changed location several times over the years and this looks set to be its most innovative building yet. The US Embassy was originally based in Great Cumberland Place, then moved to Piccadilly, Portland Place and Grosvenor Gardens before settling in its current location of Grosvenor Square. The move to Nine Elms is its first south of the river home.

Energy efficient design at the new US Embassy

The new US Embassy has committed itself to reducing its carbon footprint, with the aim of being carbon negative. They are working towards this by using new technologies, energy reduction strategies and renewable energy sources, including solar panels to generate electricity (any excess of which will be fed back into the utility grid).

Electricity use for lights within the building will be reduced through the use of clever lighting techniques, energy efficient LEDs and occupancy sensors alongside photo-responsive controls. Alongside these technologies, one of the main innovations in the design of the US Embassy is the optimisation of natural light, through the building dimensions and transparent façade. The combination of which helps to lessen the amount of electricity used for lighting.

new US Embassy london

The outside of the building is covered in high-performance laminated panels made of pressurised ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (try saying that three times) on the east, west and south sides of the building; these are designed to help evenly distribute light, help reduce heat loss from the building, lessen the effect of the wind on pedestrians at ground level, and be more visible to birds to help prevent birds colliding with the building. The material of this glazing is also self-cleaning, which reduces the need to spend money on having the windows cleaned.

Not content to just heat the building, the US Embassy will use a Biomass Fueled Combined Heating-Power system that will heat the building but also provide the community surrounding the Embassy with heat as well. The building will be self-sufficient when it comes to drinking water with a deep well aquifer on-site. Used water will be treated at an on-site water treatment plant and reused as flushable waste water, rainwater will also be collected and used for irrigation and wastewater.

It’s an incredible building so if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, why not pop over to SW8 and enjoy a walk beside the river before getting a look at this fascinating work in progress? And whilst you’re there, feel free to pop into our Nine Elms office next door to the US Embassy in Embassy Gardens.

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