A roof terrace covered with plants that provides natural insulation and absorbs storm water is one of the many energy-efficient features at HSBC’s state-of-the-art office in Vancouver, Canada.

The office, which opened in 2012, is among 72 HSBC buildings that meet international standards for sustainable design. This growing portfolio of ‘green’ buildings forms part of the bank’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact and become more energy efficient.

Inside the Broadway Green office in Vancouver there are water-saving devices such as motion sensor low-flow taps; intelligent lighting, which comes on only when the office is occupied; and a heating system that automatically adjusts to the outside temperature and sends excess heat to other parts of the building.

Kim Hallwood, Head of Corporate Sustainability, HSBC Bank Canada, said: “The building is targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, so there are many sustainable aspects. Reclaimed wood has been used throughout the building and many of the building materials and furniture contain recycled content. Even the art and design features were chosen with sustainability in mind.”

The building’s roof has natural vegetation on top of it including a herb garden. Rosemary, basil and other herbs that are produced are used for cooking in the staff canteen.

The site also encourages employees to use environmentally friendly transport. It is located on a bike route and offers priority parking for car sharing and low-emission vehicles. It also has three electric vehicle charging stations.

Shirley Joe, risk manager in IT Software Delivery, leads the building’s Green Team. She said: “Having an environmentally friendly building encourages people to be more sustainable. I now see more staff participating in recycling, reusing paper, shutting down monitors to reduce energy and taking the stairs instead of the elevators.”

HSBC aims to reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions from 3.5 tonnes to 2.5 tonnes per employee by 2020 and has reduced its energy consumption by 12 per cent since 2011.