Year 2005 has seen a strengthening of the relationship between the Ministry for the Environment and for the Protection of Italian Territory and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology within the Kyoto Agreement for the reduction of CO2 emissions and a wider program on environmental issues. The cooperation resulted in the creation of the Sino Italian Ecological and Energy Efficient Building (SIEEB).
The building located in the university campus of the Tsinghua University in Beijing is 40 metres high with 20,000 square metres of useful surface and houses an Italian-Chinese research centre for the protection of the environment and energy conservation.
The designer is Mario Cucinella together with a team of the Milan Polytechnic. The building is conceived like a leaf using and transforming the daylight in energy: a series of garden terraces, facing south are filled with a thick vegetation and over 1,000 square metres of photovoltaic panels, which supply the majority of the internal energy requirements.
The project, thanks to its horseshoe shape, optimises the requirement of daylight during the winter and the protection from sun rays during the summer. Moreover it will produce a constant natural illumination therefore reducing the requirement of energy, which in China is still produced mainly with coal and is therefore the main cause of CO2 emissions.
An automated system controls the presence of the personnel in the rooms and according to real needs manages the opening and closing of the semi-reflective light shelves, which make up the façade and the skylights. Also the artificial life is modulated according to the requirements of the moment. The centralised control system is able to automatically switch off the lights in the empty rooms.