HSBC's Canary Wharf office tower is the tallest corporate headquarter building in Europe to feature solar panels. Covering 617 square metres of the roof of the building, it is also the largest installation of photovoltaic panels - built by Sharp, the world's largest manufacturer of photovoltaic (solar electric) cells - on a corporate office in London.
HSBC's energy saving measures enabkled it to became carbon neutral in 2005.
At 213 metres (700 feet) high, building engineers developed fixing techniques for the 422 solar panels to withstand wind speeds of up to 140 mph.
The panels - manufactured by Sharp Solar in the UK - will generate approximately 1,550,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity over the building's lease - enough energy to power 20 average UK homes per year. Since 2004, HSBC has decreased its energy consumption at the headquarter office building by seven per cent, or 20 per cent per full time employee - a significant reduction for a corporate building of its size.
"This installation showcases innovation and demonstrates that renewable technologies of this scale can be delivered successfully. If every headquarter building around the world invested in solar panels, it would significantly accelerate the transition towards a low carbon economy and we hope to become a catalyst for this," says Simon Martin, head of group corporate sustainability, HSBC Holdings Plc.
HSBC expects to save a further 3 per cent (1,750,000 kilowatt hours) of its total energy consumption in its global headquarter building over the next two years through energy efficient measures. This includes improving the efficiency of the buildings air conditioning system.
These energy efficient initiatives are part of the bank's $90-million global environmental efficiency programme, launched last year, to introduce renewable energy technology, water and waste reduction programmes and employee participation across its 10,000 offices around the world.
With assets of some $2,354 billion at 31 December 2007, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations. HSBC is marketed worldwide as 'the world's local bank'.
Sharp is the world's largest manufacturer of photovoltaic (solar electric) cells and modules and has been pioneering this technology since 1959. In the UK, Sharp Solar opened it first PV manufacturing plant in Llay, Wrexham in 2004 to support the growing PV market across Europe. The corporation also invests heavily in solar innovation research and development at Sharp Laboratories in Oxford.