There's no doubt that sustainability pervades every part of our lives. Our diet, lifestyle, and even where we live or work are all influenced by our environment. Here are some examples of buildings from around the world that have followed an environmentally friendly operating model.
1. Bank Of America Tower, New York
The Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, New York, was designed by the architecture firm Cook and Fox and is very eco-friendly. It has facilities for recycling wastewater and rainwater, and the tower itself is heated as much as possible by the sun. Its windows are also built to let in as much natural light as possible, cutting down on the need for artificial lighting. Wherever possible, the majority of the building was built with recycled materials.
These features, among others, helped the building gain LEED Platinum certification (which ranks buildings based on their green and energy-savings initiatives), making it the first commercial high-rise to do so.
2. Cube Berlin, Germany
This office structure is said to be 25 per cent more energy efficient than other "green" structures in its class. This, according to the architects, is accomplished by smart energy management systems that observe and learn from the energy habits of the building's occupants. The building, which was designed by the Danish firm 3XN, first opened its doors in March last year. This smart office building is built to look like a cube, but a broken one, as its name implies.
3. Svart Hotel, Norway
This under-construction hotel in Norway is touted to be one of the most unique and environmentally sustainable structures in the world. It is billed as the world's first energy-positive hotel, having been built by the architectural firm, Snhetta. The building's name, "Svart," means "black" in Norwegian, was inspired by the dark glaciers in the region where it will be constructed. Traditional Norwegian fishing equipment and houses were also used as inspiration by the architects.
It is set to have unrivalled 360-degree views of the surrounding fjord and glacier thanks to its unique circular shape.
4. Salesforce Tower, San Francisco
The former Transbay Tower (now known as Salesforce Tower) in San Francisco is yet another of the world's most eco-friendly structures. At 1,070 ft (326m), it is the tallest building in the world, and it houses a bus terminal and a glass rooftop park. The building's design was completed to reduce the need for mechanical HVAC by using 100 per cent natural air on each floor. It also has large wind turbines on its roof and solar control sunshades.
Because of these characteristics, the building was able to achieve LEED Platinum certification.
5. The Clock Shadow Building, Wisconsin
The Clock Shadow Building in Wisconsin is perhaps one of the most eco-friendly structures in the world. This house, which was built on a former brownfield site, is already a winner due to its reuse of previously unusable property. Not only that, but this structure uses geothermal energy to reduce its dependence on less environmentally friendly energy sources. The walls and roof of the building are ultra-insulated, resulting in a massive improvement in energy efficiency.
It also comes with a green roof and 5,000-gallon (18,292L) cistern that provides the bulk of the building's toilet flushing reservoir. This made it the first commercially permitted Graywater flushing system (where the water used in washrooms can be collected and recycled) in all of Milwaukee.