In the past two decades the building designand construction industry has slowly introduced mainstream sustainable buildingpractices to the masses. We still have a long way to go, but a handful ofinnovative and ground-breaking architects are going to great lengths to movehumanity forward when it comes to eco-friendly design, construction, andbuilding maintenance.
The buildings on this list go above an beyondthe typical call of duty. Yes, they adhere to green standards like LEED andBuild Green, but more than that they institute out-of-the-box solutions to theworld-wide issues first world development that has plagued our planet for thepast century and a half - issues like waste, energy consumption, pollution, andthe general turning of a blind eye to how our habitation affects ourecosystems.
These buildings demonstrate how we can allstart doing it better. These are the most sustainable green buildings on theplanet.
1 Angel Square ranks among Great Britain’smost sustainable buildings. It achieved a rarely given “Outstanding” by the Building Research Establishment Environmental AssessmentMethodology (BREEAM), the county’s leading metric for sustainability. It’sfootprint covers over 300,000 square feet of high-quality, flexible open officespace that allows them to change organically over time. Electrical andmechanical systems can be reallocated depending on use, avoiding inefficienciesthat could manifest in the future. It also houses its own clean oil heating andpower system that feeds excess energy back into the grid.
This tower that stands tallamong giants in Manhattan’s bustling financial district is the first of itskind to achieve a LEED Platinum certification. The building contains adedicated power production plant along with CO2 monitoring, waterless urinals,and LED lighting throughout. It could be argued that One Bryant Park is NewYork’s most sustainable building, and remains a beacon of green architecture inone of the most developed areas of the entire world.
This ecological wonder was meant to resemble asundial for good reason. It holds the world’s most sophisticated and powerfularray of solar panels, which completely cover the massive structure’s energyneeds. The building contains offices, a hotel, and a large conference spacealong with a roof that is covered in 50,000 square feet of solar collectors.The panels are oriented along an inclined half-circle in order to track the sunand maximize the efficiency of the collectors no matter the time of day oryear.
The Vanke Center - also known as thehorizontal skyscraper - as a very different kind of sustainable officebuilding, and proves sustainability isn’t always just about energy consumption.The building is as long as the Empire State Building is tall, and is builttough to withstand the full force of a seasonal typhoon. Also, interiors arefitted with mostly durable and fast-growing natural materials like bamboo. Itis a structure that is build to last, and proves longevity and durability arejust as important as conservation.
As if we needed another reason to love Canada,this structure makes effective use of passive temperature control and naturalventilation to be one of the most energy efficient buildings on the planet. Inaddition, it utilizes a geothermal heating system to keep grid-usage at aminimum, and keeps the building cool with a green roof garden and triple-glazedwindows. It is about as environment-proof a structure of this scale can get,which has earned it a spot as one of Canada’s greenest buildings.
The Middle East has quickly become a testingground for designers and builders who are looking to experiment with innovativesustainability practices. This massive office structure in Bahrain - an islandoff the coast of Saudi Arabia - is no exception. It features two sail-esquetowers which bookend three wind turbines that are over 90 feet in diameter.These turbines provide the building with almost all required energy, and arethe focal point of a design that does everything right when it comes tosustainable interior comfort in the middle of an arid desert.
This self-sustaining office building in theheart of Seattle, Washington features a massive shed roof canopy that iscomprised entirely of solar panels. But with the Bullitt Center, energycollection is just the beginning. It also features a 56,000 gallon rainwatercistern, composting toilets, and offices which themselves are dedicated toresearching and implementing new clean-energy building techniques. It’s safe tosay The Bullitt center would survive just about any apocalypse you would throw itsway.