With sustainability high on the agenda, the importance of creating environmentally-friendly buildings has become a priority for nations around the globe.
While countries like Switzerland lead the way in terms of clean energy solutions, others are focusing their attention on architecture and the role this can play in making the world a more sustainable place.
Using natural materials, transforming urban buildings to make them greener, and favouring renewable energy over traditional methods are just some of the ways the architecture landscape is rapidly changing.
Sustainable buildings marvels can be found all over the world. Here are a 5 that caught our eye…
#1. Bosco Verticale
Standing proudly in the Porta Nuova Isola area of Milan, Bosco Verticale (or Vertical Forest), are two residential towers, designed by Boeri Studio.
Arch Daily reports the structure is home to ‘480 large and medium trees, 300 small trees, 11,000 perennial and covering plants, and 5,000 shrubs,’ increasing biodiversity within the urban area.
With all of this greenery bolstering the building, CO2 is easily absorbed, while the microclimate also protects against noise pollution, giving the residents inside a quieter and healthier environment to live in.
All of the plants and trees you see on Bosco Verticale were specifically chosen for their ability to grow among the facades of the building. For three years, botanist experts investigated which species would flourish on the structure, cultivating them in nurseries beforehand to get them used to the conditions they’d experience when in situ.
The concept of a tower block, designed to look and feel like a tree, was dreamed up by the architects at Boeri Studio, who wanted Bosco Verticale to be ‘a house for trees, that also hosts humans and birds.’ They certainly achieved just that as the landmark magnificently stands out amongst the urban landscape of Milan.
#2. Vancouver Convention Centre
One LEED Platinum certification is impressive. But have you ever heard of a building with TWO such awards to its name?
Vancouver Convention Centre boasts just that as the world’s first double LEED Platinum certified convention centre.
Visitors can enjoy six-acres of indigenous plants on the living roof, where four beehives are home to European honeybees. The honey they produce is then used in the kitchen where locally sourced and seasonal goods are used to keep carbon emissions down.
Insulated to retain heat in the winter and keep the building cool in the summer, this clever function can regulate the temperature of the centre throughout the year.
A water treatment plant also helps vital resources to be reused, whether in washrooms or rooftop irrigation.
Winning multiple environmental awards, the Vancouver Convention Centre demonstrates the many ways in which we can reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings.
#3. Shanghai Tower
Rising high above the city, Shanghai Tower stands at a staggering 632 metres.
Built in 2008, the structure has received multiple environmental accolades, including the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) Platinum status – the highest level of certification a building can achieve.
With water-saving and recycling facilities in place, as well as 10,000 square metres of roof greening, Shanghai Tower is proving that sustainable innovations can save you cash, as well as saving the planet.
The USGBC estimates that the skyscraper saves more than $556,000 on energy each year, simply through its intelligent lighting systems.
Even the parking spots encourage people to drive low-emission cars, with 94 spots for new-energy vehicles. The second-tallest building in the world is most definitely a magnificent sight to behold and an example of green engineering at its finest.
#4. PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering
A hotel with a difference, PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering in Singapore invites guests to dwell in its gorgeous greenery.
Based in a bustling city centre, the hotel is easily recognisable from its waterfalls and beautiful plants that trail down the sides of the building.
PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering is constructed to make the most of natural light and the stunning views around the hotel. Green and blue glass improves solar performance throughout the building while the greenery tumbling down the west side keeps rooms cool. Fifty different varieties of plants adorn the building, absorbing heat and improving air quality.
Guests can even relax in luscious recreational areas on the roof terrace and enjoy a plant-based menu in the on-site restaurant.
The PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering is a sustainable spectacle like no other.
#5. 7 More London Building
Created by the prestigious Foster + Partners, 7 More London was the final building to be erected in the More London plan.
Offering sustainable headquarters to PwC, the imposing structure looks like it’s been constructed entirely from glass. In fact, this clever façade insulates the building and offers shade to keep workers cool. The exterior sparkles in the sun, while flooding the offices with beautiful light and colour.
An energy-efficient air-cooling system was installed throughout 7 More London so there are 55% fewer carbon emissions than standard building regulations require.
A derelict plot of land before 7 More London was built, the development has helped to bring a boost to the area, with businesses and tourists alike coming to visit.
If you’re in the area, you’re bound to be captivated by it.
More ways to be sustainable
It’s down to all of us to do our part for the environment, whether it’s designing more eco-friendly buildings or bringing sustainable processes into our businesses.
Over the next few years, it’ll be even more crucial that companies are putting sustainable practices in place, otherwise they could find themselves overlooked for those who are going green.
If you’re not sure where to start, having green skills in your business could really benefit you.
Our IEMA courses give you a full overview of sustainability, how it can impact your business, and how you can take steps to prevent that happening.