New, efficient U.S. embassy completed in London

New, efficient U.S. embassy completed in London

The US Embassy In London has a design meant to represent transparency and openness in U.S. politics. Photo courtesy of Richard Bryant/

A new high-tech United States embassy building was recently completed in London. The billion-dollar project had been in the works for seven years and takes the form of a massive glazed cube supported atop colonnades, reports New Atlas.

And the structure is more efficient than one might expect, featuring rainwater recycling and solar panels, and is slated for both the LEED platinum and BREEM Outstanding green building certifications.

The U.S. Embassy in London measures 518,050 square feet and is 213 feet tall, or 12 stories. Its glazed facade is partly covered in a transparent film of plastic (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene to be exact) that's shaped to reduce solar heat gain and glare, while maintaining the Thames River view and allowing natural light inside.

The transparent design is also meant to represent transparency and openness in U.S. politics, officials said.

There are three entrances to the embassy. A consular entry receives visitors seeking passports and visas, the main entry is for staff and visiting dignitaries, while the smallest is a service entry. 

Once inside, there are multiple indoor gardens meant to evoke America's landscapes and the office layouts themselves are flexible. Lots of contemporary artwork by both British and American artists are on display to celebrate the shared culture on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sustainable tech in the embassy is extensive and includes daylight-responsive lighting and shade controls, efficient demand-controlled ventilation, roof-based solar panels and ground source heat pumps, which use the earth's consistent temperature to help heat and cool the building more efficiently. 

A rainwater recycling system captures water for use in toilets, irrigation in the embassy's interior gardens, and the pond. The water fixtures are efficient and effort has been made to make the area an ecologically valuable landscape for wildlife.


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