The 21st century has seen necessary growth in environmentally conscious architecture. Sustainable buildings, some of which are quite beautiful, are being designed and built around the globe.
Architects, other construction related professionals, along with private individuals are all involved in this global movement to design and build in ways that touch the earth lightly. Sustainability and design have linked arms, with some especially notable results.
Here are the world’s top 100+ sustainable buildings. As we are a British company we have started off with Great Britain.
We’ve done a lot of research to put this feature together for you, however we’re aware that it is by no means the definitive list. So if you know of a special eco-friendly building that you believe should be included, let us know in the comments below we’d love to make this even more valuable to our readers.
Europe Sustainable Buildings
London – Pricewaterhouse Coopers Building
Considered to be the most environmentally friendly building in London; the Pricewaterhouse Coopers Building even features an integrated IT system. This allows workers to control the temperature and light in their individual spaces -not only environmentally good, but also much better for the staff, who get to choose settings that they feel good in. However there’s a far bigger story behind this amazing project, which you can discover by clicking the architect’s link below.
More about PWC & sustainable building
Architects & further information: Foster and Partners
London – Lovefonebox
I know this one isn’t your typical green building example, but all the same you’ve got to love it!!! If you need your phone repaired or charged in London, then look out for this iconic red telephone box in Greenwich. A group of London-based techies promise to repair mobile devices in under 30 minutes, in the re-purposed phone box located next to The Mitre Pub, 291 Greenwich High Rd, London SE10 8NA.
Photo credit & more information: https://www.lovefone.co.uk/pages/press-info
London – Five Pancras Square
In 2015 Camden’s Five Pancras Square won the best public building award. It has 14 floors in total, which includes the basement. The facilities include a leisure centre, two swimming pools, a library facility and a café.
As it is connected to the King’s Cross Central low carbon heating network, it has a distribution from a combined heat and power energy centre, which provides all of the lower temperature hot water requirements in order to heat the building, including its domestic hot water systems. To read the full project story check out the architects’ website.
More about the King’s Cross sustainable building
Architects: Bennetts Associates
London- BowZed, Bow, East London
A block of 4 zero fossil energy flats in East London actually impressed the government so much that both Gordon Brown and Ruth Kelly paid a visit!! BowZed was designed by eco-architect Bill Dunster, the man behind the BedZed development.
BowZed is so well insulated there are no central heating systems necessary in the flats. One of the other architects who worked on the project alongside Bill, actually lives in one of the flats now. The architect along with the other residents get 50% of their electricity from a micro wind turbine, which is on the stair tower, and another 40% from the photovoltaic panels. Wood pellets power the boiler to provide hot water.
More about BowZed and sustainability
North Yorkshire – Dalby Forest Visitor Centre
Imagine a reception desk made of old wellies, mobile phones and yoghurt pots? If you can get to the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre in North Yorkshire, you don’t need to imagine it, you can see it for yourself!
Here the roof cover is made from old tyres and inner tubes. In fact the entire building can be wholly recycled when it is deemed to be at the end of its life.
In 2007 the buildings won the British Prime Minister’s Better Public Building Award and was praised for its “uncompromising commitment to sustainability”.
Electricity is supplied by a collection of photo voltaic panels, along with a micro wind turbine. Rainwater is collected via the roof and is then stored in a tank. This rainwater is also used to flush the toilets.
Even the forest has been brought into the equation. Wood chips are used to give power to the boiler.
More about the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre sustainable building
Project: The Forestry Commission
Purfleet Surrey -RSPB Environment and Education Centre, Thames Gateway
Bill Oddie opened up this eco-building, which made its way onto the list for the coveted Stirling prize, which is considered to be Britain’s highest architectural accolade.
Sheep wool was used for insulation. The vast majority of the materials used were locally sourced. The design includes two roof cones, which are translucent, to allow in daylight as well as glowing in the dark. The development is carbon-neutral.
More about RSPB Environment and Education Centre
Architects: Van Heyningen & Haward Architects
Honingham, Norfolk – Honingham Earth-Sheltered Social Housing Scheme
Do you know your weekly home running costs? Gary and Keron Lawson’s are £3.80 per week. The live in one of four, 2-bedroom bungalows in the Honingham Earth-Sheltered Housing Scheme.
The homes are earth-sheltered. What this means is that the east, west and north walls are covered with an earth mound. It’s almost the same as the house having its own overcoat. Of course the south face is left uncovered to capture the sunlight and heat. The scheme has no conventional heating or cooling systems. The housing scheme has zero carbon emissions.
Pedders Way Housing Association both commissioned and manage Honingham Earth-Sheltered Social Housing Scheme.
Architects & photo credit: sustainable buildings best in world
Northwich, Cheshire – Kingsmead Primary School
Kingsmead Primary School has been specifically designed to be a learning tool for students to understand as much as possible about the environment.
Students can see an electronic metre which gauges how much rainwater is being collected via the inverted roof. They can also check the solar panels active voltage displays.
When in the classroom, these children are less likely to doze off, as there’s a automatic system that runs on renewable energy, which automatically senses the need for air. It opens and closes the windows automatically, as well as doing the same with the blinds and skylights.
More about Kingsmead Primary School
Architects: White Design Associates
Swindon – The National Trust Headquarters
Welcome to one of the greenest offices in Great Britain! The National Trust’s HQ has 65% less carbon emissions than other similar developments. 30% of the yearly electricity use is supplied by an array of photo voltaic panels, placed on the roof. Ventilation snouts, also on the roof, have been made from recycled beer cans.
Throughout the building eco-friendly materials have been used, such as water based paints and PVC-free linoleum. The National Trust have also sheered their Herdwick sheep to make the building’s carpets.
Architects & photo credit: National Trust top sustainable buildings architects
Southwold, Suffolk- Adnams Distribution Centre
Apparently rats don’t like cannabis, or to be more specific in this instance hemp! At the Adnams Distribution Centre, hemp has been combined with lime and used as insulation for the cavity wall in the main warehouse. Not only do vermin not like it, but it’s also fireproof and doesn’t degrade.
The centre also claims to have Britain’s largest green roof, which has been planted with alpine sedum mosses. This dense growth traps the majority of the rainwater, which also makes it far less of a flood risk. Rainwater is also collected in a tank underground. 80% of the power required to heat water is supplied by the building’s solar panels.
Architects & photo credit:best environmentally friendly buildings Adnams
West Cumbria – Eco centre at Cockermouth School
In West Cumbria we have another great example of educating children about the earth and green living. The eco-centre at this school has four biomes, each of which replicates specific types of ecosystems. These include wet, alpine and arid climates.
There has also been some great inventive re-uses of materials, such as paving slabs that have been recycled from a local derelict cinema, that make up part of the foundations. Old food drums have been used for the foundation piles. The eco-centre also has a 9-metre high wind turbine.
Architects & photo credit: 2030 architects sustainable buildings
Kenfig Hill, Bridgend – Llys Ton Extra Care Centre
This residential facility for older people aims to encourage independent living and establish community spirit. Full of sustainable features, the Llys Ton Extra Care Centre provides ‘homes for life’.
Flats are predominantly south-west or south-east facing in order to encourage passive solar power gain, along with natural ventilation. The flats have low water use fittings. There’s under floor heating and light towers that are designed to drive natural light. Low environmental construction materials have been used.
Architects & photo credit: www.pentan.co.uk
Brighton – Jubilee Library
The Jubilee Library in Brighton has won the locals’ hearts and minds because of its environmental and design values. Located north of the famous Lanes, the library is attracting visitors as well as the locals.
This is a superb example of green elements, architecture and engineering being seamlessly blended into one whole. The library has gigantic glass frontage, where there are solar controlled louvres, which prevent the building from becoming over heated. Cement has been used in the structure to serve as an energy store, to either cool or heat the building as required.
St. Austell, Cornwall – Eden Project Building
Last for now in our Britain section, but certainly not least, is the Eden Foundation Building in Cornwall. Considered one of the best insulated buildings in the country, the Eden Foundation uses newspapers for insulation in its roof, walls and floors.
The entire structure is raised off the ground using timber columns. This method minimises the amount of soil that needs to be removed from the construction site. Additionally it reduces the amount of cement that is required. Cement is one of the least green products we can use in construction. The development is also 100% PVC-free.
Built by local companies using local materials, Manchester University is one of the most sustainable education buildings in the entire UK. To meet the strict energy saving and carbon emission targets that they set themselves, the university is committed to only using energy efficient boilers and other green technologies like solar thermal panels and earth tubes wherever possible.
LED lighting is used throughout the university building, and toilets are all dual-flush to encourage water to be saved. Their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint is really inspiring and despite how much work they’ve put in to reduce their emissions, they’re always trying to reduce it even further.
Nominated by Turnbull & Scott, who were involved in the project – more information about this top sustainable university
Photo credit: IntoStudy
Other parts of Europe
Suvela, Espoo – Suvela Chapel
In the Suvela Espoo neighbourhood in Finland, around 33% of the population are of foreign descent, making this a diverse community. The Suvela Chapel was designed to serve as a welcoming multi-functional community space.
It has achieved this aim. It is a welcoming, bright multi-faith chapel and space that serves its multicultural residents. This striking building uses materials that were selected for their re-cyclability and durability. The Suvela Chapel is clad in bright, gleaming copper, which symbolises and emphasises unity.
architecture firm OOPEAA
Netherlands – Min2 Dune House
A striking vision – the Min2’s Dune House in North Holland, dramatically rises up out of a coastal dune crest. It has been superbly designed to match its surrounding landscape. It fits perfectly into the undulating landscape, with a design that reflects the shape of windswept trees and dunes. Not only this, but the Min2 Dune House also reinterprets the concept of a traditional Dutch farmhouse, but with a sustainable twist.
The large amounts of glass have been installed with superior installation. Heating and cooling are provided via a glass vacuum tube system and an air pump.
The design is not only sustainable, but also brings nature indoors, with the magnificent large windows, which perfectly fame the sea views and dune landscapes.
Lausanne, Switzerland- La Tour des Cedres
In La Tour des Cedres the renowned architect, Stefano Boeri, has accepted another challenge, as he said: “Another global challenge to implement urban quality together with sustainability and biodiversity.”
The intention of the design is the same as the architect’s Bosco Verticale projects in Milan, Italy. The design will encourage the trees’ leaves to be able to trap fine dust, as well as absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. All of this will improve the air quality of the area.
In Lausanne, La Tour des Cedres – The Tower of Cedar Trees, rises to 117 metres and is home to 100 cedars, as well as 18,000 perennials and 6000 shrubs. The green surface totals an area of 3000 square metres.
Zurich – Europaallee District
At the time of writing, the Europaallee District in Zurich has been awarded a DGNB gold pre-certificate. This means that the project has already been judged on its simulations and basis of its fundamentals.
This certification implies that all aspects of sustainability have been taken into account. These include ecological, social and economic.
Architects: Max Dudler
Swiss Alps, White Pod
In a stunning location, you can choose to stay in low impact accommodation, which utilises renewable resources, produces less waste, and uses minimal electricity and water.
Russia – Russia Tower
There seems to be quite a trend of spiky eco-towers all over Russia. In fact it is the famous British architect, Norman Foster, who is responsible for most of these! Anyhow, this one is located in Moscow. It stands at 612.2 metres and is one of the tallest towers in the whole world. The Russia Tower is also the largest building with a natural ventilation system in the world.
Leuven, Belgium – De Balk van Beel
The De Balk van Beel is on the former site of the InBev brewery. The development is a car‐free district, which has 70% open public spaces and 1,200 low‐energy apartments. It is both sustainable and innovative.
France – Theatre Jean-Claude Carrière
The Théâtre Jean-Claude Carrière basically advertises itself with its brightly coloured exterior, which is perfectly apt for a performing arts centre. This flamboyant theatre, in Montpellier, is situated at the edge of a forest.
Its brightly coloured just screams creativity and drama, and there’s no doubt that for its green design the Théâtre deserves a Tony!
The material used have been predominantly locally sourced. The wooden structure has been designed so that it is a sort of a portable structure, in so far as it is possible to dismantle and reassemble it. The timber that has been used is also respectful of the woods that surround this area.
With a low carbon footprint, this theatre has minimal footprint yet maximum flair. Inside acoustic insulation cuts out sound pollution, while optimising the acoustics for performances. Additionally there is energy efficient LED lighting, insulation and heating.
Guyancourt, France – Challenger, Headquarters of Bouygues Construction
Also on a wooded site, the Bouygues HQ, on a 30 hectare site, was the first building to achieve three certifications in the world, under the following schemes: LEED, BREEAM and HQE and LEED. Renovation commenced at the beginning of 2009 with an estimated completion date of 2014. The renovation project involved electrical, mechanical, plumbing, interior and facade decoration work. An extensive solar photo voltaic farm was installed, plus there is a grey water treatment plant which treats all waste water that is generated by the campus.
Munich- BMW Welt
This is a strange structure which supports a roof which has been covered in a photo voltaic array. This produces a minimum of 824kWp energy. Additionally there are steel panels. These use solar gain in order to help heat the building.
Hamburg – Algae-Powered BIQ House
Algae farms have been incorporated into this project, literally making it green! Located in Hamburg, this is a commercial and residential project. The facade is adorned by 200m2 of bio-reactive panelling, filled with algae. Carbon dioxide is absorbed the by the algae and then transformed into oxygen. Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 6 tonnes annually.
It is a self sufficient building in terms of energy. Biomass is produced by the algae colonies. The panelling also provides thermal insulation, shading and noise abatement.
Splitterwerk Architects, working with Arup Group Limited
Weil am Rhein – Renzo Piano’s Diogene
This legendary architect has created minimalist luxury. Piano believes that real luxury incorporates the possibility of having space and time to oneself. Therefore he has created single occupancy cabins, which can operate in various climatic conditions independently of the environment which surrounds it.
It certainly is minimalist with a living space that has a pullout sofa bed and a fold-out table and chair. The kitchen and washroom space constists of a sink, refrigerator and composting toilet.
The insulation is excellent, with triple glazed windows and exterior aluminium panels. Photo voltaics and solar panels power the home. There is also a rainwater collection system.
Top Sustainable Buildings Africa
The ‘Inno-native’ Home
This beautiful private home, with the great title of Inno-native, was driven by the deep desire of Joe Osae-Addo to build a desirable, eco-friendly house for his own family.
Materials were locally sourced, taken mostly from rural areas. The construction utilises adobe mud blocks and timber. The home doesn’t have air conditioning, but the design takes this into account. Both the floor to ceiling jalousie windows and the sliding slatted wood screens provide cross ventilation. Additionally a cooling under the floor breeze provides further natural air conditioning, as the home is raised three feet off the ground,
The home is currently on the grid for electricity, but it does have solar already installed for back up purposes, as well as to heat water.
This house cost $50,000.
Architects: Joe Osae Addo
Universidade Agostinho Neto
The university in Angola is an ambitious project to create a world class university, which has been adapted to suit the dry, hot climate. It has a community of outdoor spaces and buildings.
Cape Town, South Africa
Sandbag Houses, Freedom Park
The future residents took part in the construction these sandbag homes. The concept of these eco-friendly buildings is to both conserve resources and money. The cost comes in typically at $6,000 per home.
Local inexpensive materials were utilised. The EcoBeams system is used to replace traditional bricks and mortar with sandbags. Reportedly it is an affordable, cheap housing solution, which is safe and strong.
New Gourna Village
This property is situated within the UNESCO World Heritage Ancient Thebes in Egypt. The village was originally designed and constructed between 1946 and 1952, under Hassan Fathy, the famous Egyptian architect – considered the Pioneer of Sustainable Architecture.
Architects: Hassan Fathy
Gando Primary School
The Gando Primary School was designed in 1999. It makes use of local materials, as well as local community potential. To be sustainable the school was designed to be a low cost construction with climatic comfort. Technology from the more industrialised world was adapted in simple ways.
Additionally the design was conceived as an adaptable standard model, which would serve to raise community awareness of traditional materials, as well as being possible to copy within the local community.
Architects: Diébédo Francis Kéré
Using bio-mimicry in the form of a ventilation system which self-cools the mounds of native termites, the Eastgate Centre draws inspiration from Zimbabwean indigenous masonry. Built predominantly from concrete, the building stays regulated all year round without the use of conventional heating or air conditioning. This, of course, dramatically reduces energy consumption. In fact the Eastgate Centre only uses around 10% of the energy used by an average building of the same size.
Architects: Mick Pearce and Arup
Catholic University of East Africa Learning Resource Centre
A space that is not only fulfilling as a library, but that wonderfully tackles cost issues, has been created in the Resource Centre Catholic University of East Africa.
Here you can find a sense of place as well as a piece of art that uses local low energy material. The building is cooled passively, uses diffused and natural light, along with wind driven chimneys.
Architects: Musau Kimeu
El Mandara eco-resort
This beautiful eco-resort was originally a bunch of rundown buildings. A group of young people saw its potential, so set about renovating it. Local sustainable materials were used, which included mud bricks. It pays deep respect to its wonderful natural surroundings, on the Lake Qurun. Shade from the desert sun is provided with palm fronds.
Floating School, Makoko
Costing a “massive” $6250 to complete, the Floating School uses locally sourced wood. Constructed by the Makoko residents, it can accommodate up to 100 students. 256 plastic drums are used to keep it resting on the water’s surface. Solar panels provide electricity and rainwater harvesting is in place for the toilets.
Architects: NLE and Kunle Adeyemi
Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali
Rwanda has a special day that falls on the the last Saturday of every month, in the morning, whn all of the country’s residents, ages 18-65, pull together to do national housekeeping. The day is called umuganda. Additionally plastic bags are banned in Rwanda.
The Nobelia Office Tower in Kigali is the first 6-star green rated building currently on the entire continent of Africa, only with the exception of South Africa. It is a 19-storey building with a total floor space of 11 469 m2. It will be used as a benchmark for future green construction in Rwanda. To learn more about the project, click the architectural firm’s link below.
Architects: WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Chumbe Island Bungalows
Chumbe Island boasts only 7 wonderful eco-bungalows, that Robinson Crusoe would have dreamt about! The small privately owned island is a few kilometres off of Zanzibar, the main island. It has exceptional coral reefs and is world-renowned for its ecological innovation.
A horribly “long” 30 seconds walk will take you to the sea, and all seven bungalows have sea views. The Chumbe Island Bungalows were designed to have pretty much zero impact on the environment. The technology includes solar water heating, composting toilets, rainwater catchment, photo-voltaic energy and vegetative grey water filtration.
Architects: A collection of individuals
Antarctica Sustainable Architecture
Definitely an experience of a lifetime, if you ever manage to spend some time at White Desert Camp Whichaway, surrounded by penguins! It is the only luxury camp on desolate Antarctica.
It is superbly impressive from all perspectives: visually, luxury and environmentally. It has been designed to have zero impact on the environment.
The beautiful dome cabins were recently refurbished, and cost guests around $70,000 for adventures of 7 days to 11 days. These igloo shaped cabins were designed by Ryan Ashworth. The six private cabins comprise of a private wash area that has a composting toilet, sleeping space and a desk.
On a more functional level, Halley VI, was designed to have a positive psychological effect on the team working there, as well as being movable. Naturally constructing on Antarctica is essentially inherently unsustainable. Everything needs to be shipped and then built there. The challenge is then to design and build so as to have the minimal impact on the environment that is possible. Halley VI has definitely made some significant progress in that respect. One of the biggest features is the reduced water usage.
The Hjertefølgers, which as if by magic translates into Heartfollowers, live in the Arctic Circle, in their Nature House with their four children. The family moved into Nature House on the 8th December 2013, after they had constructed it with friends and neighbours. It is a cob home which has been topped with a single glazed Solardome geodesic dome.
“The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house,” Ingrid Hjertefølger told Inhabitat magazine. “The process changed us, shaped us.”
The home was designed with the extreme temperatures and strong winds in mind. The design has enabled the family to be able to grow food 5 months longer inside than they would otherwise be able to do outside.
Asia Green Buildings
Imagine living in a tiny Himalayan kingdom where prosperity is measured in Gross National Happiness? Not only this but Bhutan is a superb example of sustainability, with over 70% of the population using electricity which is generated by hydropower. Education and healthcare are free, and half of the country’s pristine forestland has been designated a protected area. Bhutan even has a National Housekeeping Day one Saturday each month.
Bhutan Happiness Centre, Bumthang, Bhutan
Bhutan now has a Happiness Centre where people can become happy or happier, meditate, and share their ideas and experiences. The architecture balances space, harmony in materials and building technology.
Completed in 2010, the India Tower symbolises the country’s shift towards an eco-friendly future. The design uses rainwater recycling, natural ventilation and lighting
Believe it or not, the Antilia Building in Mumbai is only one man’s home! The owner is the property mogul Mukesh Ambani. Part of his intention in its design is that the Antilia Buildings will act as a carbon filter for the city, with its rooftop gardens.
The Park Hyderabad
The hotel’s stunning exterior maximises natural light, which greatly reduces the need for electricity. On top of this the Park Hyberabad has a culture of incentives for green transportation, such as electric cars, bikes etc.
A futuristic city that relies entirely on renewable sources and solar energy, the Masdar in Abu Dhabi is monumentous at a grand total of 64,583,462 square foot development. Plans include being car free, self sustaining and carbon neutral.
The plans for this structure include a 200 foot wind turbine and a huge number of solar panels. The progress of the Burj al-Taqa stopped due to the financial crisis.
The design of DuBiotech maximises daylight, as well as regulating the internal temperature of the building. As a research and biotechnology park they wished to create a new headquarters that looks and plays the part.
The Change Initiative Building
Dubai’s Change Initiative Building is distributed over an area of 4,000-square-metres. As a business it offers sustainable solutions. The property incorporates a total of 26 technologies, which of course includes solar panels and insulation. The insulation utilised is three times more than the outer insulation of a normal building.
Additionally there’s heat-reflective paint on the TCI’s roof, which by itself accounts for 40% of the building’s energy requirements. The majority of the materials utilised in its interior are recycled.
Thuwal, Jeddah – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)
The university at Thuwal, close to Jeddah, was developed using 20% recycled materials and 38% locally sourced materials. Its chilled beam heating, ventilation and air-condition (HVAC) removes heat from rooms with cold water. Naturally this requires far less energy than a convention system. Ventilation is created by wind towers.
Bahrain – Bahrain World Trade Centre
The Bahrain World Trade Centre is a twin-tower complex that stands at 240-metres-high. Between 11-15% of the 50-floors’ power consumption is generated by wind turbines. These turbines are located on the Trade Centre’s three sky bridges, which are its most prominent green feature. Each of these sky bridges holds a 225kW wind turbine. This means that the total wind power capacity is 675 kW, which is enough to supply lighting to around 300 homes.
Qatar National Conference Centre, Doha,
The QNCC is around 32% more energy efficient than other similar buildings. It was the first project of its kind to be awarded the LEED Gold certification. Innovations include energy efficient fixtures and water conversation.
Designed by Arata Isozaki in partnership with RHWL Architects
China – Shanghai Tower
Considered one of the greenest commercial tower, the Shanghai Tower’s glass façade boasts a 120° twist as it rises. The aim of this it to reduce wind loads by up to 24%. The construction used lots of recycled materials and the Shanghai Tower is powered by wind turbines. Public green space accounts for one third of its interior.
Singapore – CapitaGreen
At CapitaGreen office workers can feel connected with nature throughout the day. 55% of its exterior is covered with foliage and on the rooftop there’s a gorgeous sky forest. Not only is this lovely, but it channels cool fresh air via the core channels, which provides air conditioning with a far lower energy consumption rate than normal.
The remainder of its façade has double-skin glass which keeps the interior cool and reduces solar heat gain. The building, which is 242 metres tall with 40 storeys, also has its own rainwater harvesting system, which self irrigates the vertical garden.
Workers can eat at Artemis, the building’s Mediterranean style restaurant, which uses ingredients from eco-conscious farms.
CapitaGreen, 138 Market Street, Singapore 048946
Singapore – Tree House
A Guinness World Record was set by Tree House for the world’s largest vertical garden. This is just one of the world’s sustainable buildings.
When completed in 2014, the Singapore condominium was recorded by Guinness World Record as being the world’s largest vertical garden. It consists of four towers with 24 stories’ each that are encased in lush foliage that helps to filter carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the air and reduces the carbon footprint created by this residential estate. In addition to the green wall’s ability to remove greenhouse gas emissions, the building also minimises heat absorption with the heat reducing technology in its state-of-the-art windows that keep homes cool all day long.
The green sky terraces located on various floors help the property to blend further into its surroundings while it is situated between Upper Pierce Reservoir and the forest canopy of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Its sloped design is great at maximizing the harvesting of rainwater which is channeled into a self-sustaining landscaping irrigation system.
Tree House, 68-70 Chestnut Avenue, Singapore 679521
Singapore Nanyang Technological University – NTU School of Art, Design and Media
Eco-friendly functionality and sustainable buildings do not have to mean the loss of stylish design.
The ultimate goal of Nanyang Technological University is to become the world’s most eco-friendly campus by maximising the efficient use of resources while minimising waste, water and energy. The School of Art, Design and Media are attempting to do this by creating art composed of sustainable buildings with dramatic roof slopes intertwining over three blocks. Easy access to communal outdoor space is made possible through turf coverings that connect seamlessly to the contours of the ground.
Along with the aesthetic appeal of the designs, the green roof combined with high performing glass façade help maintain low ambient temperatures. The central courtyard is kept cool with a reflective pond. Photo-cell and built-in motion censors are utilized for the lights to reduce energy waste, and air-conditioning systems have been retrofitted with carbon dioxide sensors which improve indoor air quality.
School of Art, Design and Media, 81 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637458
Singapore – Oasia Hotel
Standing out from the rest of concrete jungle in Central Business District is a vividly coloured building that adds a splash of red and green to the otherwise drab cityscape.
Oasia Hotel, with its verdant tower and tropical look adds a bit of refreshment to commercial high-rise developments. Its builders were committed to offering urban landscapes a greener solution by making an impact on architectural design that is more than just rooftop gardens. The building’s red vertical grid is encased by a green skin that houses creeping or flowering plants that entwine themselves throughout every panel.
Israel – Dizengoff Centre Shopping Mall
Dizengoff Shopping Mall is definitely bringing Green to Tel Aviv -although it could easily seem like an unlikely place to be home to an amazing farm. This fabulous farm is on the mall’s rooftop, right in the heart of Tel Aviv. In fact it is situated on top of the oldest mall in Israel.
Tucked in between high-rise buildings the “Green in the City” is a farm that all year round successful produces 10,000 heads of leafy greens every month using only hydroponic and organic methods without soil. This is just one surprising example of thriving urban agriculture sustainable initiatives of the Dizengoff Centre shopping mall. Also included are a tree nursery, bird habitats, rooftop apiary and a bat cave for native fruit bats.
Vietnam – Six Senses Con Dao
So what is eco-friendly about this sumptuous resort property in Vietnam? All the materials used in construction have come from sustainable resources and the structure reduces the requirement for air conditioning by maximising air flow. The staff is passionately committed to its social responsibility and the reduction of its carbon footprint.
Sydney Opera House
The sound of applause is a common occurrence at Sydney’s Opera House which is the busiest performing arts space in the world. This time the achievements of this sustainable building are what the accolades are all about. The 4 Star Green Star-Performance rating was awarded to the Opera House in 2015. Only a handful of buildings listed as World Heritage in the world have ever achieved green certification status.
Sydney Australia – The Ponds Shopping Centre
Located in Sydney’s north west, the Ponds Shopping Centre achieved the first global 6 Star Green Star-Retail Centre Design v1 in 2015 to take its place alongside other worldwide sustainable retail complexes.
The Ponds is part of the Frasers Property portfolio. Formerly Australand, Frasers Property Australia has for a long time been committed to the improvement of sustainable outcomes throughout its operations. Frasers Property is a leader in sustainability across all sectors of its business with its specialist expertise for delivering enhanced environmental outcomes within the retail industry. This sector is typically known for high water and energy usage along with rapid fitout churn.
WWF Australian Headquarters
Located in what was a wool store in the centre of Sydney, this century-old building has become a carefully designed office space. It is not just a place where WWF conducts its conservation and advocacy initiatives, but also serves as a base from which WWF Australia works to minimise its own environmental footprint.
It was one of just three organisations to earn a 5 Star Green Star fitout rating for interiors since this program was launched in 2012. This reaffirmed the WWF Australia’s position as an environmental leader.
The goal of WWF is to maintain its global footprint within the earth’s ability to sustain natural resources and life on this planet in an equitable manner. The achievement of this 5 Star Green Star interiors rating for its headquarters in Australia, it has been certified that its operational DNA is environmentally sustainable.
WWF is helped to live its brand by Green Star
Urban Tilba, Sydney
Urban Tilba is a retrofit of a brick veneer home that in 2013 become self-sufficient in Blacktown in Sydney. It even includes powering an electric motorcycle from home battery storage
The home harvests over 5000 kWh hours per year which is all put into battery storage. The house collects over 270,000 litres of water per year saving it from going down the drain.
The property also has 5 chickens, 40 fruit trees and a total of 1000 edible species of plants on 620 sqm of land in the centre of Sydney.
The building contains many energy efficient applications with solar powered air-conditioning. It also uses plants to reduce cooling with grape vines and bamboo.
The home will soon have a hemp wall installed to reduce the use of mechanical cooling.
Learn more and also consider going on a house tour: http://www.yabba.com.au/house-tours/
A new benchmark for liveable cities has been set by Lendlease
Five impact categories – Governance, Liveability, Innovation, Environment, and Economic Prosperity were used to assess Barangaroo South precinct which was then awarded the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) rating.
Mills Park Community Facility
The Mills Park redevelopment in the City of Gosnell has brought sustainability to its people. As a recipient of Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star – Public Building Design v1 rating in March 2015, this community has achieved the status of ‘World Leadership’ for its sustainable civic infrastructure design.
Features of this facility include a new community hall and function center serving 300, a café and commercial kitchen, activity spaces, meeting rooms, children’s indoor play space for parties, club room for sporting groups and changing rooms along with staff office space.
Mills Park has incorporated a wide range of outdoor recreation areas to help connect residents, engage the community and protect the environment that can continue for decades.
Council House 2, Melbourne
The council building features of Melbourne include wind turbines, chilled ceilings, sewage recycling and photovoltaic-powered recycled louvres to track the sun while promoting a healthier environment.
Coles Bay, Tasmania – Saffire Freycinet
What makes it Eco-Friendly? The kitchens at Saffire Freycinet get food deliveries from local vendors and the lighting, air conditioning and windows are all energy-efficient.
NEW ZEALAND, AUCKLAND – IRONBANK
Located in Auckland, New Zealand, Ironbank is a stunning stacked and folded building, that encompasses seven storeys. It has received the 5-star Green Building certification. Some of its environmentally friendly facilities include its use of green materials, and energy conversation. Ironbank’s design allows it to dispense with the need for air conditioning.
At the time of writing, it has received the following awards/commendations:
- NZIA Architecture Medal
- World Architecture Festival Highly Commended
- MIPIM Futute Project Awards Highly Commended
Although you may assume it’s a bank because of its name it isn’t! The commercial building which spans around 10,000m2, is a mixed-usage facility, predominantly for office and retail spaces. Additionally it features a garage with a 96 car capacity, along with a 4-storey storage wall and a robotic storage system.
The design concept, from the architects, RTA Studio, takes into consideration the historical neighbourhood in which Ironbank is situated. In order to alleviate mass that would not have been in tune with its finely scaled environment, RTA Studio fragmented the building vertically, making a beautiful composition of retail and office spaces. These lend themselves to a sustainable and socially working community.
Architects & photo credit: RTA Studio
Ironbank was nominated by Michael Fulkerson of Wide Span Sheds New Zealand
New York – Bank of America
One Bryant Park was completed in 2010. It has an amazing space of 2.36 million square feet, and is a 21-storey office tower, that is the renowned home of Bank of America’s worldwide HQ, along with an A-list of other prestigious tenants.
There’s no doubt that One Bryant Park has set a new standard in the arena of sustainable commercial construction. It was North America’s first skyscraper to successfully achieve LEED Platinum. Worldwide it ranks up there as one of the most environmentally advanced sky scrapers.
Building designers Cook Fox created a way to reuse rainwater and waste water in this building composed of a tower that is heated by the sun, and windows that provide maximum natural light. This tower was constructed using renewable materials as well. It also includes green roofs, an urban garden room and many more green features.
Architects: Cook Fox
One Bryant Square was included in our first draft of this article, and was also suggested by Sionic Mobile
San Francisco – Transbay Tower
Upon completion, the Transbay tower reached 1,200 feet tall with a bus terminal with a rooftop park, which is intended to absorb CO2 released from the buses. For greater solar control the tower’s roof will be home to sun shades and wind turbines.
Although it may be strange in appearance, this building has a high level of energy efficiency with garden terraces and wind turbines housed in bubble like enclosures.
Arizona – Northern Arizona University
The building that is home to the university is one among only three of the world’s greenest buildings and provides it with the coveted platinum award rating. The solar power system provides this university with a minimum of 20% of its energy. Automatic shade controls and venting windows are also in use.
Pittsburgh – Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The concept for this building was to achieve zero-net energy consumption using wind turbines, geothermal wells and solar panels to reach this goal. It has a rooftop garden and storm water and black water are treated onsite to be reused.
California – Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments
Solar and photovoltaic panels are on the roof of this building, and the windows feature high-performance glass that is designed to help maintain a comfortable interior temperature. To aid in keeping the apartments cool during summer without the use of air conditioning, it has a low volume ventilation system.
California – Levi’s Stadium 49ers
In August 2014 the gates of Levi’s® Stadium opened. Making history, it was the first US football stadium that has achieved the LEED Gold certification. When you go there you can see the dashboard which displays various energy measurements.
The stadium had achieved 44 points in February 2014, while only 39 is the requirement for Gold LEED certification. The site itself is sustainable with a bike path, which helps to reduce greenhouse gases, as well as being accessible for public transportation.
There are pedestrian bridges which are solar panelled, as well as a solar panelled roof deck. The wood which has been used for the Citrix Owner Suites is 100% reclaimed wood. In fact reclaimed and recycled products have been used as much as possible throughout.
On top of the suite tower, sits a 27000 sq. foot green roof. Reclaimed water is also used. Local suppliers are used to offer visitors farm to table menus.
Texas – Pearl Brewery
A gold LEED award has been given to this brewery and warehouse because of the ingenious cooling system it uses. This cooling system allows air to travel throughout the building. Rainwater is recycled and then used for landscaping irrigation.
Wisconsin – Clock Shadow Building
The brownfield site on which this building was constructed has a reputation for being difficult to build on. Therefore, this sustainable building uses land that might otherwise be wasted and it also operated on geothermal power with its mechanisms drilled directly underneath the building.
Cleveland – The Huntingdon Convention Centre
Did you realise that around 1.3 billion tons of food which has been produced for human consumption is either wasted or lost? While this is a very scary fact, the good news is that some convention centres are putting sustainable initiatives in place to combat it. In fact in America, around 80% of centres are now donating their excess food to charitable organisations.
In Cleveland the Huntingdon Convention Centre is a LEED Gold Facility, which is working hard to reduce environmental impact and to be socially responsible. The team there have implemented recycling, utilises eco-friendly products and practices, and also focuses on conserving their resources.
The complex has an eco-friendly design. There is a green roof top, low flow water systems, and water re-fill systems. Additionally the complex uses state of the art lighting, which is set up to utilise daylight harvesting. It is highly programmable.
Sustainable food is provided by Levy Restaurants, which is grown on a sustainable farm.
Photo credit & learn more www.clevelandconventions.com
This building was nominated by Flickinger Legal Group
Little Rock, Arkansas – Heifer International HQ
In 2007, the headquarters of Heifer Intl. achieved LEED platinum certification. Considered to be the highest green building rating available, LEED is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
In case you are not familar with Heifer, their mission is to care for the earth and work worldwide with communities to end poverty and hunger.
Their campus was constructed on the site of a railroad yard, which had been abandoned for a long time. Almost all materials that were used in the construction were sourced within a 500 mile radius around Little Rock. The only exception was the bamboo, which Heifer International chose as it is both sustainable and fast growing.
The building has a beautiful glass exterior, which is not only aesthetically pleasing, but means that staff are able to work in natural light. The property has sensors which adjust according to the level of darkness outside. Additionally the building has a rainwater collection tower, which supplies the non-consumable water.
Architects & further information & photo credit: Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects
Building nominated by Christopher Bond, Professor of PR, Crisis & Health Communication at Missouri Western University
New Jersey – Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association
This environmental centre received LEED platinum certification in April 2015. Located in the heart of an 84-acre preservation site, this environmental centre provides exhibition and administrative facilities, as well as classrooms, conference rooms, gallery spaces, a laboratory, a gift shop along with support space. A beautiful butterfly pavillion frames the site’s interior.
The role of water is wonderfullly showcased at the building’s entry, where there is a naturalistic garden. This includes a range of features that serve to educate on the hydrological cycle and the role of water. There is a rain garden, a linear green roof, a solar hot water array, and a roof scupper which cascades water onto locally quarried stone.
The site also has a wetland waste water treatment system, rain water harvesting, a geothermal system and bioswales. Right throughout the complex water is used in educational exhibits.
There is a roof mounted solar system, plus an electric heat pump system. The site’s renewable energy is predicted to come close to energy net zero performance. Inside the buildings has been meticulously modelled for daylight performance. Materials used in the building include cellulose insulation, FSC certified wood, exposed aggregrate concrete and cypress siding.
Architects, photo credit & further information: Farewell Architects LLC
US Federal Center Buildings, USA – Federal Center South
One of the first buildings in the Western world to utilise geothermal cooling and heating with piles, this building also makes use of open office lighting and chilled sails to reduce energy consumption.
Seattle – Bullitt Centre
Like many of the buildings on this list, this building an array of ways to minimise its energy usage and is known as the greenest commercial building in the world. Officially opened on Earth day, it is designed to be of continued service for more than 250 years. It even proudly proclaims it is not dependent upon municipal water system.
The Bullitt Centre is considered the world’s greenest building by some!!
Canada – Vancouver Convention Centre West
One of the greenest convention centres in the entire world, this building has an on-site water treatment system that serves as a fish habitat built right into its foundation. It also has a seawater cooling and heating system and a living roof.
An average 180,000 kilograms of materials are recycled by the centre every year and this accounts for about half of its total volume of generated waste. No canned good or disposable utensils and dishes are used here and leftover food is donated to local charities.