Pixel Building (Melbourne, Australia)
The Pixel Building shows how “green” can be a multicolored affair. Credit: Roger Wong/Moment Editorial/Flickr Vision/Getty Images
Opened: 2010 | Use: Offices | Design: Decibel Architecture
Among its energy-saving features are colorful, eye-catching panels that provide shade and maximize daylight as needed, supports that help process wastewater, a roof that captures rainwater, and a series of vertical wind turbines.
One Central Park (Sydney, Australia)
One Central Park features vertical gardens on the facade. It consists of two interconnected towers — the shorter one is in the forefront. Credit: Kok Kai Ng/Moment Editorial/Flickr Vision/Getty Images
Opened: 2014 | Use: Residential | Design: Ateliers Jean Nouvel with PTW Architects
Sydney’s Central Park redefines high-density living
Bahrain World Trade Center 1 and 2 (Bahrain)
The twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manama, capital city of Bahrain, use the wind to full advantage. Credit: Andia/UIG/Getty Images
Opened: 2008 | Use: Offices | Design: Atkins
Museum of Tomorrow (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
The Museum of Tomorrow’s shapes were inspired by bromeliads of Rio’s Botanical Garden. Credit: Luiz Souza/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Opened: 2015 | Use: Science museum | Design: Santiago Calatrava
Vancouver Convention Centre West (Vancouver, Canada)
Vancouver Convention Centre West is an urban oasis in bustling Vancouver. Credit: LMN Architects
Opened: 2009 | Use: Trade shows, conventions, events | Design: LMN Architects
So what’s creating the buzz? For starters, four hives of European honey bees have been installed to pollinate the roof’s plants and grasses, which in turn help reduce heat build-up in summer and retain it in winter. On top of that, the roof’s sloping shape also assists with water drainage and the distribution of seeds.
But not all the action is on the roof. Some of the project is built over the water on piles (columns) that help support a marine ecosystem that includes native crabs, salmon and shellfish.
Shanghai Tower (Shanghai, China)
Shanghai Tower’s graceful spiral is a site to behold — and its relatively low energy bill is another. Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Opened: 2015 | Use: Offices, hotel and retail | Design: Gensler
Thanks to measures like these, the tower uses significantly less power than other skyscrapers and has a platinum LEED certification.
CopenHill (Copenhagen, Denmark)
The waste-to-energy plant CopenHill has an unexpected bonus: It’s also a place Credit: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images
Opened: 2017 | Use: Power plant, sports facility | Design: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
It’s both a power plant that burns waste to generate electricity, and a sports facility where you can take on one of the world’s tallest climbing towers. But it’s most spectacular offering is an artificial ski and snowboard slope.
Marco Polo Tower (Hamburg, Germany)
Set on the banks of the Elbe River, Marco Polo Tower is one of Hamburg’s most striking buildings. Credit: Franziska Krug/German Select/Getty Images
Opened: 2010 | Use: Residential | Design: Behnisch Architekten
Each floor of the apartment building is turned a few degrees away from the one below, around an axis. This allows for recessed facades that protect residents from direct sun and negates the need for electrical air conditioning.
Bosco Verticale (Milan, Italy)
Bosco Verticale translates to Vertical Forest. It’s one of the most intensively green facades you’ll find anywhere in the world. Credit: Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Opened: 2014 | Use: Residential | Design: Boeri Studio
Architect Stefano Boeri designed these deluxe apartments in the sky with plenty of spaces to accommodate large, full-grown trees, and a variety of ground cover plants and shrubs. The effect is “one of the most intensive living green facades ever realized,” according to Skyscrapercenter.com.
Suzlon One Earth (Pune, India)
Suzlon One Earth was built using only recycled and nontoxic materials. The design lets in fresh air and natural light to all parts of the campus. Credit: Suzlon
Opened: 2009 | Use: Offices | Design: Christopher Benninger
It should come as no surprise that wind turbine supplier Suzlon has a top-tier green headquarters.
ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall (Fukuoka, Japan)
With ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, the public didn’t lose a park — it just gained a building! ACROS is an acronym for Asian Crossroads Over the Sea. Credit: Shutterstock
Opened: 1995 | Use: Mixed used, including concert hall | Design: Emilio Ambasz and Associates
The city of Fukuoka in southern Japan got into the green architecture movement early with ACROS.
The terraces not only look gorgeous, but also moderate the building’s temperature and support insects and birds.
Torre Reforma (Mexico City)
Torre Reforma (or Reforma Tower in English) is Mexico City’s tallest building and it helps lead the way in sustainability there. Credit: Shutterstock
Opened: 2016 | Use: Offices | Design: LBR&A Arquitectos
The tower, which has LEED platinum certification, comes with another important bonus: It’s built to withstand a major earthquake, a vital consideration in the quake-prone city.
The Edge (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
The Edge, headquarters of Deloitte, is one of the greenest and smartest office buildings in the world. Credit: Shutterstock
Opened: 2014 | Use: Offices | Design: PLP Architecture
Eschewing traditional electric lights and wiring, LEDs are powered by a “digital ceiling” with computer cables connected to sensors, anticipating lighitng needs rather than running at a steady rate. The architects estimate an 80% savings over traditional lighting.
PARKROYAL Collection Pickering (Singapore)
PARKROYAL Collection Pickering incorporates the tropical climate of Singapore into the building. Credit: iStock Editorial/Getty Images
Opened: 2013 | Use: Hotel | Design: WOHA Architects
Robinson Tower (Singapore)
An open-air garden sits atop the retail portion of Robinson Tower. Credit: Tim Griffith
Opened: 2019 | Use: Offices and retail | Design: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
The design meets the stringent standards set by Singapore’s Landscape Replacement Policy, which require that new projects include public green spaces equal to any greenery removed to construct the building.
Loaded with podiums and tracks for trees and other plants, the design also maximizes the amount of available natural light coming in, which reduces artificial lighting costs.
The public can visit an enclosed garden on the roof and an open-air garden on the top of the retail spaces in the building.
The result is a very creative design loaded with podiums and tracks for trees and other plants. The design also maximizes the amount of available natural light coming in, which reduces artificial lighting costs.
The public can visit an enclosed garden on the roof and an open-air garden on the top of retail part of the building.
One Angel Square (Manchester, United Kingdom)
One Angel Square is lighting the way to a greener future in Manchester. Credit: Alamy
Opened: 2013 | Use: Offices | Design: 3DReid
Manchester helped lead the way during the Industrial Revolution, so it seems fitting one of its 21st century buildings is helping lead the way to a greener future.
The building’s structure and systems allow new tenants to easily rearrange and reorganize space to fit their needs. This saves on refit costs and the energy bills that go with them.
It received a BREEAM score of 95.16%.
Bullitt Center (Seattle, Washington, USA)
The Bullitt Center in Seattle takes green to the ultimate level. Credit: Nic Lehoux for the Bullitt Center
Opened: 2013 | Use: Offices | Design: Miller Hull
It’s just six stories, but the Bullitt Center has made a big splash in American sustainability circles since it opened on Earth Day 2013.
Secrets behind the super-green Bullitt Centre
Tenants keep chilly weather at bay with radiant heat that uses warm water circulated through tubes in the floor, and the graywater treatment system puts clean H20 back into the ground. It even features a toilet composting system.
Eastgate Centre (Harare, Zimbabwe)
The innovative Eastgate Centre takes a lesson from one of Africa’s most successful engineering groups — termites. Credit: Alamy
Opened: 1996 | Use: Shopping center and office | Design: Mick Pearce
Termites — those notorious chewers of wood and destroyers of homes — are the design inspiration for one of Africa’s most remarkable green buildings.
Instead, Pearce combined traditional Zimbabwean masonry with design techniques that termites use to keep their mounds at a constant temperature. The result? Natural comfort all year long and lower costs for tenants.