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Green & Environment-Friendly Buildings

apple headquarter
Apple Park (Cupertino, California)

Increasingly, climate change is a topic on people’s minds. Over the past decade, the concern has manifested itself in everything from all-electric vehicles to solar-powered air travel. Eco-friendly living has even seeped into some of the largest man-made projects in the world: skyscrapers. Many might assume that green architecture can only be achieved at the expense of high design — but that is not the case. From the heart of midtown Manhattan and the Rick Cook–crafted Bank of America Tower to the verdant WOHA-designed Oasia Hotel in downtown Singapore, AD rounds up nine of the most sustainable skyscrapers on the planet that turn eco-friendly measures into a beautiful design.

Key values of green-buildings:

  • Solving environmental and overpopulation problems;

  • Projects which meet the major urban and ecological challenges of the 21st century;

  • People-oriented and environmentally-friendly architecture that uses in new eco-lifestyles and new circular economy

The WOHA-designed Oasia Hotel in Singapore is a prime example of sustainable architecture meeting high design. Completed in 2016, the verdant building utilizes its many gaps and porous exterior to allow natural air to funnel in and around the interiors, thus saving on energy.
Oasia Hotel (Singapore)

Biomimetic and plus-energy buildings which produce their own power, vertical forests, pollution-removing towers and boats, floating cities and ocean scrapers, vertical food farms.

Drivers of Green Building

Market and client demand have been two of the major forces driving green construction. Over the past few years, we have also seen a number of state and local governments adopting regulations, requirements, and initiatives focused on green and sustainable buildings. Reducing energy usage and water usage are the top environmental issues driving green construction. In 2015, residential and commercial buildings accounted for nearly 40% of U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Reducing construction waste, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and conserving natural resources are some of the other environmental concerns that are forcing us to reevaluate how our buildings are constructed.

Designed by the Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel, Sydney's One Central Park is as bold as it is eco-friendly. The structure is covered in 35 different species of plants, effectively trapping carbon dioxide, emitting oxygen, and providing energy-saving shade.
One Central Park (Sydney, Australia)

Green & Sustainable Building Materials

According to a study by BCC Research, the U.S. market for green building materials is expected to grow from $43 billion in 2014 to $69 billion in 2019. Green building materials cover those that are made from renewable resources, are recyclable at the end of their life, manufactured using environmentally friendly processes, made from salvaged, recycled, or waste content or is beneficial to the interior built environment.

Designed by American architect Rick Cook, the Bank of America Tower in New York City is at the forefront of sustainable building with such features as floor-to-ceiling window glazing, which traps heat and maximizes natural light. What's more, the building collects rain water to reuse throughout the structure.
Bank of America Tower (New York City)

Healthier Buildings

Constructing healthier buildings has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. Owners and developers have started realizing the benefits of healthy buildings, for both the building occupants and their bottom line. Two of the main contributors to delivering a healthy building is improved or increased daylighting and better air quality.

The Gensler-designed Shanghai Tower is the second tallest building in the world (behind Dubai's Burj Khalifa). Towering 2,073 feet in the air, this skyscraper implements such advancements as a "transparent second skin," which consists of a double-glass façade that significantly reduces the building’s carbon footprint. A LEED Gold certified building, Shanghai Tower's exterior lighting is powered by wind-driven generators.
Shanghai Tower

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