Why  IUCN needs a new conservation centre

For almost 60 years, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has been facilitating initiatives to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature. Founded in 1948, its more than 1,000 member strong Union has grown in size, scope and complexity. IUCN now reaches into all corners of the globe and encompass many diverse domains.

As a result of this journey of growth, IUCN has reached capacity in its existing headquarters office, creating the need for a new, flagship Conservation Centre.

The Conservation Centre will not only serve as a place of work for the Union’s global Secretariat team, but will also provide a hub for global conservation collaboration. The new Centre will reinforce the Union’s position as an international forum to cultivate alliances and partnerships for stronger collective action among the conservation community, government and society as a whole. 

The conservation centre building and architectural vision explained

After reviewing the world’s sustainable construction standards, IUCN decided to use the Swiss Minergie-P Standard for low energy consumption, the Minergie-Eco standard for Green Construction and Design and the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) point-based rating system. The latter – which includes standards for Site Selection, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design Process – set the format for IUCN’s design specifications.

Sponsorship for the building’s primary construction came from the Swiss Government with a 50 year interest free loan of CHF 20 million. Kinnarps was selected as IUCN’s Preferred Partner for space planning and office furniture. Holcim financed the conference room that sits atop the building and donated thermal and recycled concrete.  The MAVA Foundation financed the large outdoor terrace and gave financial support to ensure IUCN could meet the most stringent green building standards.  Philips contributed state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting and Dell donated computers that will be used in the new Red List Centre. Finally, the Loterie Romande financed the expansion of the natural garden which will be open to the public and will be used away to educate people on the importance of biodiversity.

The new IUCN building used the minimum of raw materials and derives 100% of the energy it consumes from renewable sources, primarily solar and geothermal.

“We all have an obligation to reduce our carbon footprint. This building’s green features, such as walls made from recycled and  thermal concrete, occupant and daylight sensors and the use of rain water for toilets and garden irrigation, will show that sustainable behaviour can also translate into benefits on the balance sheet.” Says IUCN’s Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

Sustainability credentials of the project

IUCN’s objective is to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level possible. To date, there are no LEED Platinum office buildings in Switzerland. There are only 121 Platinum buildings worldwide with just eight outside the United States, so this is a significant target for IUCN to achieve within a very tight budget.

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'Europe's Greenest Building'

IUCN’s objective is to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level possible.