IFAD: An Energy Efficient Working Environment

Thu, 01/04/10

After four years of preparation, in June 2008, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) moved into its new headquarters in Rome, uniting the formerly three IFAD locations to one. The aim was to reduce the organization’s impact on environment, to provide more space of higher quality, and to improve work conditions for its employees.

The new building has 18,000 square meters of office space, which is 2000 square meters more than the three previous IFAD buildings together, and includes 750 work places, 13 meeting rooms (eight more than previously) and a 3000 square meter state-of-the-art conference area. The building compound also includes a limited number of parking spaces. Staff pays for the use of the parking spaces and these resources are used for e.g. a shuttle bus to the nearest metro station.

The building’s sustainability features include a high performance building envelope façade, reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. All IFAD's energy for 2010 has been purchased from green sources, in a joint tender process together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Inside the building, the major sustainability features include high-energy efficiency standards for heating, ventilation, lighting and air-conditioning. In addition, the building’s air-conditioning and fire suppression systems have zero chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) emissions. To reduce drinking water consumption, several water recovery systems were installed to supply the building. Paper waste is collected at the facility and sent for recycling.

In 2010, IFAD obtained the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification Gold that represents recognition of building’s high performance with respect to water savings, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor air quality. IFAD is currently exploring possibilities of obtaining the Platinum (the highest possible) certificate.

Recently, Facility Management installed water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles and the Administrative Services Division launched a Paperless Workflow campaign to reduce paper consumption.


Costs and benefits


The total cost of renovating and refurbishing the 25,000 square metre building was 30.7 million Euros. The 'soft' measures (waste management, reduced paper use, reprogramming ambient temperatures and so on) cost very little – an estimated total of approximately 10,000 Euros. 

The building's high standards mean that energy consumption is 20% lower than in other buildings of comparable size. The 'soft' measures and staff awareness have contributed a further 12% reduction in energy use, and a reduction of almost 23% in paper use between 2007 and 2008. Water consumption savings are currently under study. 

All IFAD's energy for 2010 has been purchased from green sources, in a joint tender process together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The 'green premium' cost on this contract was significantly reduced by doing it as an advance purchase, so it is only costing 0.00052 Euros more per kilowatt hour than traditional sources of energy

Set against these costs are the benefits, both tangible and intangible, of:

  • Improving the working environment for IFAD staff
  • Accommodating more work stations, meeting rooms and conference areas
  • Reducing energy, paper and water consumption
  • Contracting with a renewable energy supplier
  • Reducing overall operational and maintenance costs
  • Raising awareness raising among staff

Categories: Buildings, Energy, Finance