Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you will already know all about how serious an issue climate change has become in recent years. With sea levels on the rise, atmospheric carbon dioxide at its highest ever level, and polar ice caps shrinking on a daily basis, even the strongest climate change denier will have difficulty denying it isn’t happening.
With this in mind, there is now a need for everyone, everywhere to improve their personal level of eco-friendliness and sustainability. Businesses need to do the same as well, in order to ensure their buildings and employees aren’t contributing any more to the already high levels of pollution and waste.
Fortunately, many businesses have started to do this already, working alongside specialist energy consultants to design new low energy, high performance buildings. But which companies are leading the way, setting the standard for other businesses to aspire to?
Join us as we take a look at some of the eco-friendliest buildings the planet has to offer.
- Bloomberg Headquarters. London.
Considered the world’s most sustainable office building, Bloomberg’s headquarters achieved the highest-ever Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) score back in 2018.
After working with the architecture firm Foster + Partners, Bloomberg – the news and financial tech giant – decided to build a new European headquarters which featured more of an environmental focus. The ambitious seven-year project resulted in a truly stunning ten-storey building set on the 3.2 acres between London’s Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The headquarters was designed to incorporate an abundance of eco-friendly features, including a grey water collection system on the roof to recycle water, and vacuum-drainage toilets to dramatically reduce water usage. However, the building’s crème de la crème is its ceiling, which integrates almost 4,000 specially-designed panels. Each of these panels help control the building’s heating, cooling, lighting and acoustic functions, reducing the overall energy usage by more than 40%.
The eco-friendly features don’t stop there though. The building also features living walls, a unique desk set-up for its staff members, and its very own natural ventilation system. It was also constructed in an eco-friendly way, using specialist suppliers who abided by strict environmental policies. Now that’s sustainable.
- Revolving Tower. Dubai.
From the iconic Burj Khalifa to the upcoming Museum of the Future, Dubai is widely known across the globe for its various feats of architecture. That trend looks set to carry on as well, following the approved plans to add what’s being referred to as ‘The Revolving Tower’ to the Dubai skyline.
This yet-to-be-built engineering marvel will feature more than 60 independently rotating floors, giving its inhabitants a constantly shifting view of the world outside. As a result, the independent rotations will also give the building an ever-changing exterior, constantly bending and warping into different, highly complex designs.
However, the rotations are not solely designed for aesthetic purposes – they’re designed to do good too. Each rotation will use the kinetic energy it releases to power the entire building. There will also be wind turbines integrated in between each floor, capable of powering the entire tower block both sustainably and independently.
- One Bryant Park. New York.
Bryant Park in the centre of New York City is one of the world’s greenest skyscrapers and even includes the very first sustainable Broadway theatre. It was also the first building to receive LEED Platinum certification, producing clean energy from its own generation plant.
However, the building’s pride and joy comes through the innovation of its cooling unit. Rather than pumping out tons of greenhouse gases using traditional energy-draining air conditioning systems, the architects involved with building One Bryant Park have installed a thermal ice storage system. This system produces ice overnight, ready to be melted the next day to provide a cooling effect for the workers.
The building is also home to The Bank of America and incorporates LED lighting, carbon dioxide monitors and waterless urinals to keep its carbon footprint as low as possible.
- The Edge. Amsterdam.
While ‘The Edge’ may make you immediately think of the backing vocalist from U2, it is also the name given to one of the world’s most innovative buildings. This architectural masterpiece is the home of Deloitte’s Amsterdam Headquarters, and again functions by using clean energy – this time taken from 30 metres below the Earth’s surface.
The building also uses solar panels to collect energy and has been fitted with a specialist aquifer thermal energy storage system too. This system relies on two wells – one to provide heating during colder periods and another to provide cooling during warmer periods.
However, in order to control these wells, the Edge has been fitted with a huge network of more than 30,000 sensors. These function by measuring pretty much every single energy output – lighting, humidity, carbon dioxide – via a range of apps, and can automatically open or close particular areas to minimise energy expenditure. Now that’s innovation.