GUEST POST: Five of the World’s Most Sustainable Building Concepts

As most of us know from hearing the word too many times, sustainable building covers a very wide range of definitions. But regardless of how we might define something and spar on who has the best meaning, the idea of practicing sustainability for what we build and how we live is a measure we should put into practice as often as possible. Here is one competent analysis by guest writer, Jay-Jay Stephens concerning five of the world’s most sustainable building concepts. In hopes of creating a dynamic platform about sustainability, your comments are invited so we might expand our reporting on the subject.

#1 Cascadia Centre for Sustainable Design and Construction; Location: Seattle, Washington, USA, Architects: Miller Hull Partnership

© Miller Hull Partnership

Continuing Seattle’s tradition for being at the forefront of sustainability, the Cascadia Centre is one of the world’s most energy efficient commercial buildings. The building spearheaded the movement for sustainable development and improved people’s awareness of energy efficiency. It was one of the nation’s first commercial buildings to achieve a ‘living building’ status which is a new benchmark for sustainability.

The Cascadia Centre is able to generate 100 percent of its own energy due to an extensive photovoltaic array, features a highly innovative wastewater management system, encourages resource sharing and strongly promotes progressive planning and smart, sustainable growth.  The building was built with the future in mind and is designed to be able to adapt to changing needs and technological developments.

#2 ASU Polytechnic Academic Buildings; Location: Mesa, Arizona, USA, Architects: Lake|Flato Architects in collaboration with RSP Architects

© Bill Timmerman

The design completely transformed a discontinued airbase to considerably increase the space of the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. The building is separated into five different spaces which provide environmentally sound practices designed to maximize visibility, delighting and the sense of community while significantly reducing energy usage. Intentional environmental designs such as narrowing the various sections of the building and introducing shading devices and solar placement has allowed for 90 percent of the spaces to be effectively daylit.

#3 Urban Remediation and Civic Infrastructure Hub; Location: São Paulo, Brazil, Architects: Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Urban Think Tank, Brazil

© Holcim Foundation

With an estimated 100,000 inhabitants residing in Grotão, the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo is one of the world’s largest informal communities. Lead architects Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner propose transforming this barren landscape into a dynamic, multifunctional public space.  Largely cut off from the social and cultural infrastructure of the centre of São Paulo, this particular area has been subject to erosion and dangerous mudslides over the years and preventing this in the future was at the forefront of the project.

The building aims of bring the community together and provide it with more opportunities and features areas for urban agriculture, a water management system which has been created to use rain water and an improved transport infrastructure. The vertical structure creates a number of different spaces which have been used to cater for educational and cultural needs by featuring a music school, a small concert hall and sports facilities.

#4 Sustainable LEED Gold Office Tower; Location: Warsaw, Poland, Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

© Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Easily identifiable and certain to stand out in the Warsaw skyline due to its elegant design, this building has sustainability at its heart and aims to reduce energy consumption to attain the highest levels of sustainability.

The façade is constructed from glass elements which deliver high levels of transparency and fully integrated sun shading and light reflection systems. The roof is created to collect and harvest the rainwater that falls on the sloped designed roof. A strong emphasis is placed on passive elements and intelligent management of the building in order to reach total sustainability.

#5 Centre for Life Science; Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Architects: Tsoi/Kobus & Associates

© Ed Wonsek

One of the first buildings to be entered into the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Core and Shell Pilot Project and has been pre-certified Gold. The Centre for Life Science demonstrates that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and this approach to sustainability allowed the team to overcome a number of challenges during the project.

The building focuses on reducing water wastage and can save as much as 1 million gallons of water each year thanks to a combination of a reclaim tank which collects falling rainwater and lab processes which reject water for reuse in the core toilets.

This guest post was provided by Jay-Jay Stephens, writing for Kingfisher Windows, designing, manufacturing, and installing energy efficient windows.



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