The Edge - The Smartest Building in the World
Photographer: Ronald Tilleman
The Edge - The Smartest Building in the World
According to British rating agency BREEAM, which gave it the highest ­sustainability score ever awarded: 98.4 percent, The Edge is the ­greenest building in the world. The building demonstrates that the pursuit of a vibrant and collaborative working environment can be combined successfully with achieving the highest levels of sustainability.
Primary project use
Project Type
New Build
Spatial Scale
Single Building
Site Characteristics
Sectors of Innovation
  • Built Environment
  • Energy
  • Water Resources
Type of Innovation
  • Technical
Origin of the idea
  • Private Sector Company
Time to Market
Operational Now
Project Status

The Edge is a 40,000m² office building in the Zuidas business district in Amsterdam. It was designed for the global financial firm and main tenant, Deloitte. The project aimed to consolidate Deloitte’s employees from multiple buildings throughout the city into a single environment, and to create a ‘smart building’ to act as a catalyst for Deloitte’s transition into the digital age. The building demonstrates that the pursuit of a vibrant and collaborative working environment can be combined successfully with achieving the highest levels of sustainability.

The Edge creates a radically new working environment that is enabled by sustainable technologies. With the world’s highest BREEAM rating awarded to an office building, it integrates numerous smart technologies to create adaptable and intelligent work spaces. The super-efficient LED panels, made by Philips specifically for the Edge, require such a trickle of electricity they can be powered using the same cables that carry data for the Internet. The panels are also packed with sensors—motion, light, temperature, humidity, infrared—creating a “digital ceiling” that wires the building like synapses in a brain. Occupancy, movement, lighting levels, humidity and temperature are continuously measured, and using smart technology – including Philips’s Ethernet-powered LED connected lighting – the building systems respond to maximise efficiency.

The atrium is the gravitational center of the Edge’s solar system. Mesh panels between each floor let stale office air spill into open space, where it rises and is exhaled through the roof, creating a loop of natural ventilation. Slight heat variations and air currents make it feel like the outdoors. Even on a stormy day, the building remains opalescent with natural light and angles of glass.

Central dashboards track everything from energy use to when the coffee machines need to be refilled. On days when fewer employees are expected, an entire section might even be shut down, cutting the costs of heating, cooling, lighting, and cleaning.

Heating & Cooling
An aquifer thermal energy storage system provides all of the energy required for heating and cooling. A heath-pump was applied to this storage system significantly increases efficiency

The Edge is wired with a vast network of two different kinds of tubes: one that holds data (ethernet cables) and another that holds water. Behind each ceiling tile is a massive coil of thin blue piping that delivers water to and from the building’s subterranean water storage for radiant heating and cooling. During summer months, the building pumps warm water more than 400 feet deep in the aquifer beneath the building, where it sits, insulated, until winter, when it’s sucked back out for heating.

Solar Energy
The roof and the south-facing facade incorporate the largest array of photovoltaic panels of any European office building. The southern wall is a checkerboard of solar panels and windows. Thick load-bearing concrete helps regulate heat, and deeply recessed windows reduce the need for shades, despite direct exposure to the sun. The roof is also covered with panels. The ​Edge uses ​7​0 percent less electricity than ​the typical office building​, but it wasn’t until OVG installed panels on the rooftops of some neighboring university buildings that the Edge was able to boast that it produces more energy than it consumes.


  • Developer: OVG Real Estate
  • Architects: PLP Architecture
  • Main Tenant: Deloitte
  • Interior Architects: Fokkema & Partners
  • Structural Engineer: Van Rossum Consulting Engineers
  • MEP Consultant: Deerns
  • Local Architect: OeverZaaijer
  • Sustainability Consultant: C2N Bouwmanagement
  • Building Physics: LBP Sight
  • Landscape Design: Delta Vorm Groep
  • Contractor: G&S Bouw
  • Façade Contractor: Rollecate
  • Glass Roof: Brakel Atmos
  • Advisors: Deerns, HC Groep
  • Partners: Philips & MapiQ

Strong Points

Creator of profile
  • Roger Toussaint, MSc.
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