As the population rises, more and more buildings are being erected all over the world. It’s become a popular trend to make ‘green buildings’ or ‘eco-friendly buildings’. Of course, this is a great trend as most of these buildings are competing to be the one that uses the least resources and create the most energy. If you look up any of these buildings individually, they will all claim to be the greenest building in the world. I don’t know which one really is, or if their is even a clear winner as they all have some innovative designs that utilize eco-friendly technology in different ways. The bottom line is that all of these buildings are amazing examples of green building technology.
One Angel Square, Manchester, UK
This office building in Manchester England completed construction in 2013. It’s occupied by The Co-operative Group which is a British consumer co-op group with a diverse family of retailers. It received a BREEAM* rating of ‘Outstanding’, which is the highest rating a building can get. It uses rapeseed oil to power a special heat engine that generates power and heat at the same time. It has a double-skin facade that creates natural ventilation. It harvests rainwater and recycles grey-water among other sustainable building techniques.
Bank of America Tower, Manhattan, NY, USA
Also known as ‘One Bryant Park’, this fourth tallest building in New York City was completed in 2009. Not only was it built with mostly recycled materials, almost all of that material was obtained from within 80 km to cut down on transportation costs. The glass panels in the building have a tiny dot pattern printed on them that is nearly invisible to the naked eye. What this does is restrict infra-red heat radiation from the sun while still allowing light to pass through. It has a LEED* score of ‘Platinum’ which is the highest rating they give.
Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China
Though the exterior was complete in 2015, most of this building is still closed. The 120 degree twist on the glass going up the building reduces wind loads by 24%. This reduced the amount of material needed to build the tower. The top of the building has vertical-axis wind turbines that are capable of generating up to 350,000 kWh of supplementary electricity per year. Add the geothermal heating and cooling and it’s no surprise that this building is certified by the China Green Building Committee and the US Green Building Council. It’s also the second tallest building in the world.
Sun-Moon Mansion, Dezhou, China
China is home to the largest solar powered office building in the world. Nothing more that a large, square, white building, what really stands out on this facility is the giant half circle solar array that spreads out over the main structure. It also utilizes photo-electric sun shades that boost energy savings. The building is located in Dezhou which boasts itself as a clean energy city with new construction requirements of solar water heaters and installed solar power lights along miles of road.
Manitoba Hydro Place, Winnipeg, Canada
Located in downtown Winnipeg, this building is the home of Manitoba Hydro. The building has a bioclimatic, energy efficient design which contains a 377 ft. tall solar chimney and a geothermal HVAC system that uses tubes drilled 380 feet down into an underground aquifer. It also has an exterior skin with computer controller vents that adjust throughout the day. This building obtained a LEED Platinum status in 2012.
Bahrain World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain
The most notable feature of the Bahrain World Trade Center, besides it’s unique twin tower design, is the fact that it’s the first skyscraper in the world to incorporate wind turbines into that design. The turbines are pointed North in order to catch the wind that blows in from the Persian Gulf. Not only that, but the sail shape of each tower is designed to funnel wind in toward the turbines. This building has been given the LEAF* Award for ‘Best Use of Technology within a Large Scheme’ as well as The Arab Construction World for Sustainable Design Award.
The Edge, Amsterdam, Netherlands
the Edge in Amsterdam has everything you would want in a sustainable office building. It uses a solar array to produce more electricity than it uses, it harvests rain water, it uses Ethernet powered LED lighting and has below ground thermal energy storage. It also was positioned in a way to use the optimal amount of sunlight. When it was completed in 2014, it received the highest BREEAM accreditation score ever at 98.36%. If all of that wasn’t enough, the building has an on site gym which uses the equipment to generate more power.
The Bullit Center, Seattle, WA, USA
Not only was this Seattle building designed to be the greenest building in the world, it also qualifies for the classification of “Living Building” by the International Living Future Institute. It was designed to be energy and carbon neutral by incorporating solar panels and it’s own water and sewage treatment which keeps the building largely off the grid. It uses 26 geothermal wells that help heat the building in winter. All of the building material had to be sure to not contain any of over 360 toxic chemicals and the lumber had to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The water system is so cutting edge that local regulations haven’t caught up to the technology. It is the first building in the US to earn FSC* Project Certification.
Pixel, Melbourne, Australia
The Pixel Building is Australia’s first carbon neutral building. It was designed by Studio505 to utilize energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste reduction. It has a green roof that contains all native plants that also works as a rain collection system. It can collect all of the water the building needs right on the roof. It uses solar panels and vertical axis wind turbines to generate renewable energy. The building got a perfect score on Australia’s Green Star Rating System. It gets its name from the colored panels that are all over the buildings facade. They work to shade the building when it’s hot and allow light in when it’s cold.
Powerhouse Kjorbo, Oslo, Norway
The Powerhouse building in Norway is specially designed to generate more energy than it uses. Unlike most new green buildings, the Powerhouse Kjorbo was not built from scratch. It was a current office building with an average energy consumption that was renovated into one of the worlds most eco-friendly buildings. It houses the largest rooftop solar array in Norway and has geothermal wells which keep its carbon footprint in the negative. ‘Powerhouse’ is a collaborative effort to build energy-positive building.
- BREEAM: Building Research Establishment Assessment Method
- LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
- LEAF: Leading European Architects Forum
- FSC: Forest Stewardship Counsel