A Magnificent Seven: Green Buildings Show How to Build Better
More energy-efficient buildings are the cheapest, fastest way to reduce energy demand--and the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change
GENZYME HEADQUARTERS: In Cambridge, Mass, the Genzyme building has a ventilated double-facade that blocks solar heat in summer and captures it in winter while steam from nearby power plant drives central heating and cooling systems. It also uses 32 percent less water than comparable office building and construction materials were chosen for low emissions, recycled content or local manufacturing.
SZENCORP BUILDING: Located in Melbourne, Australia, this green building has a dehumidification unit that dries and cools office space simultaneously and a ceramic fuel cell that supplies electricity and heat for hot water. Together, these technologies help the building use 70 percent less energy compared with conventional offices.
SZENCORP © TONY MILLER, 2006
FORMER ABN-AMRO HEADQUARTERS: This green building in Amsterdam has automated blinds, a heat recovery system, digital climate regulators and light fixtures that automatically adjust for changing light and occupancy levels.
EDIFICIO MALECON: This long, narrow structure in Buenos Aires, Argentina minimizes solar heat and has naturally ventilated stairwells. Its open floor plan and operable windows harness breezes from the nearby river.
MENARA MESINIAGA: This green building in Subang Jaya, Malaysia has external louvers provide shade on hot sides of building and unshielded windows on cool sides to improve natural light. It also boasts natural ventilation and a roof covered with plants that reduces heat buildup.
JERUSALEM APARTMENTS: Solar heating panels and solar hot water heaters are cropping up on apartment buildings from Jerusalem in Israel to Rizhao in China.
SWISS RE TOWER: This skyscraper in London, England uses 50 percent less energy than a conventional office building by employing natural ventilation and lighting systems and passive solar heating. It is also constructed of materials that can be easily recycled.