New green convention building set to open in London this September

The 2012 London Games set the standard for an eco-friendly, energy-efficient Olympics. Yet the city will continue to be a leader in green technology, thanks to the opening of the Crystal, a low-emissions convention center designed and built by German-based industrial giant Siemens. According to government officials, the building will serve as the basis of London's new "green" district.

"The Crystal is set to be a stunning new addition to London, generating jobs and furthering my ambition to regenerate a once neglected area of the capital," London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement. "Not only this, but the flagship Siemens sustainability centre shows that this city has the clout to bring in world class businesses to invest in our future, in this case by promoting London's status as a global hub of green innovation, technology and skills."

The convention center sports a number of power consumption-reducing measures, including ports on the roof to capture rainwater. The facility, according to Siemens, is outfitted with its own purification plant to provide clean drinking water from the collected rain.

In addition to solar panel arrays on the roof to capture sunlight, the Crystal's surface consists of transparent glass panes designed to provide natural lighting, which cuts down on power consumption, and creates a layer of insulation to help regulate internal temperature. When fully operational, the convention center will function without the aid of fossil fuels.

The Crystal's doors open on September 19, when the building will host a star-studded gala and electric light show, followed by the UN Habitat's Urban Planning Conference. On September 24 the eco-friendly site will host an exposition on the future of green technology in cities, topics that metropolitan areas around the world will surely draw lessons from as they move toward becoming low-impact communities.

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