UNOPS moves to green headquarters

COPENHAGEN – Solar panels, rainwater tanks and a seawater cooling system are all features of the award-winning green building that is UNOPS new headquarters.

UNOPS has just moved into the new building, which is located on its own purpose-built island.

The building is part of the new UN City complex, which will form the central location for all the United Nations organizations based in Copenhagen, with the aim of inspiring greater collaboration between the various bodies.

When complete, the complex will house more than 1,000 staff across seven United Nations organizations – the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, the UN Children’s Fund, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, UN Women and UNOPS.

Jan Mattsson, Executive Director of UNOPS said, "Our new headquarters is truly inspirational as UNOPS promotes sustainable infrastructure, sustainable project management and sustainable procurement with its partners around the world. The low carbon-emission of the new headquarters building is fully in line with UNOPS commitment to carbon neutrality in its global operations."

Demonstrating the United Nations' commitment to environmental sustainability in the workplace, the new building has a number of energy-reducing and eco-friendly features that control the amount of energy used for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation.

For example, more than 1,400 solar panels line the roof of UN City to support the goal of generating renewable energy, while seawater is being pumped into the basement for use as a refrigerant in the building's cooling system.

These measures have enabled UN City to reduce its predicted energy consumption by more than 55 percent, earning it the European Commission’s prestigious Green Building Award for New Buildings in 2012.

It has also received the maximum points for energy efficiency in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, placing it on track towards achieving LEED Platinum status once construction is complete.

Water use in the building’s toilets, kitchens and showers has also been reduced by more than 60 percent, thanks to the installation of low-flow taps and low-flush toilets and the reuse of rainwater. It has been estimated that UN City will capture an average of almost three million litres of rainwater annually – almost enough to flush the entire building’s toilets for a year.

To reduce pollution from transportation, UN City also encourages employees to cycle to work. More than 680 bicycle racks are available, as well as showers and changing rooms.

UN City is part of a greater urban development plan for Copenhagen’s Free Port, where the complex is located. The plan includes commercial and residential buildings, a park and two towers connected by a 20-metre pedestrian and bicycle bridge.