Information Technology

Information Technology


Information Technology

Mike KempGetty Images

Information Technology

Information Technology

Information Technology

In many ways, skyscrapers came to define the 2oth century. Rising out of skeletons of steel, iron, and glass, they showed a new landscape and ecosystem to the world. Cities become incomplete without their own, and some like Hong Kong or New York City have gone full in on buildings 150 feet or taller, with 355 and 280, respectively.

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But as climate change defines the 21st century, skyscrapers are among the first targets that urban developer would want to adjust. It’s easy to see why: they take up a tremendous amount of resources.

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“With today’s technology, a tower will always be more energy-hungry,” said Philippe Honnorat, head of building services at the consultancy WSP in the UK said in 2013. “If you’re going to wash or take a shower on the 80th floor, you have to bring the water up there. When you take your shopping up to your apartment in an elevator, that will consume more energy than if you lived on the ground floor.”

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The challenge, Honnrat said at the time, is that while a one-to-one comparison with a skyscraper is dirtier than a smaller building, a city filled with them might have an advantage.

“In Manhattan, most people don’t even own cars, whereas LA has lots of low-rise, low-energy buildings that can only be reached by car, and require extensive energy and water infrastructure. On a building-by-building basis, it’s a no-brainer that towers use more energy.”

Here some buildings, some iconic and some brand new, pointing the way to a more sustainable future. They’ve earned their green status through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation program, which is overseen by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

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1

Empire State Building, New York City

One of the most well known LEED certified buildings in the world, the Empire State Building originally finished construction in 1931 and was the tallest building in the world for 40 years. Featured in countless movies, the building qualified for LEED Gold certification in 2011. That same year, it saved $2.4 million energy costs. In 2012, the building saved $2.3 million.

Those savings allowed the classic building to gain modern relevance with better occupancy rates.

“The energy efficiency was a huge component of our success in repositioning the building,” said Anthony Malkin, president of Malkin Properties, which controls the building, in 2013.

2

Two International Finance Center, Hong Kong, China

The International Finance Centre in Hong Kong is split into two towers, 1IFC and 2IFC. 1,352 feet tall, the 84-story building has 62 elevators and was completed in 2003. It’s the 27th tallest building in the world and the 2nd tallest in Hong Kong.

It earned its LEED gold certification with its efforts to maximize natural light, minimizing solar heat gain, and lower noise intrusion.

3

Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai, China

Certified at the LEED Gold level in 2013, the Jin Mao Tower is 1,380 feet tall with 61 elevators. Completed in 1999, the Tower is the 24th tallest building in the world and the 12th tallest building in China.

It’s a building that shows going green can integrate historic styles with its traditional Chinese architectural style. As reported in World Architecture News, top conservation strategies for the Tower have included “reusing or recycling 70% of all durable goods and the diversion of 70% of the waste accumulated from facility alterations and additions.”

4

Manitoba Hydro Place, Winnipeg, Canada

At 377 feet, it may not be as tall as the other buildings on this list. Completed in 2008, this building earned the hard-to-achieve LEED Platinum status by incorporating drastic reductions in energy consumption, over 70%. It’s secret sauce includes glass, which maximize natural daylight for employees, and solar panels including an iconic ventilation tower known as the “solar chimney.”

“The future in sustainable architecture lies in being open to experimentation, communication and collaboration at every step of the process which is integral to green building,” said Bruce Kuwabara, the design architect for KPMB Architects, at the time of its being awarded Platinum status in 2012, in a press statement.

“Manitoba Hydro Place demonstrates that one building can simultaneously create a synthesis of design excellence, integrated high performance sustainability, air quality, healthy work environment and city revitalization. To achieve LEED Platinum proves that this is the way forward to low carbon and climate responsive design.”

5

Torre Reforma, Mexico City, Mexico

Completed in 2016, the tallest building in Mexico City, and the second-tallest in all of Mexico stands at 807 feet tall. When it was completed, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat called it “a dramatic departure from the existing high-rise architecture of Mexico City.”

With what LEED called a “versatile, column-free space,” Torre Reforma has been able to make a “great impact on energy consumption reduction, shifting from an all-glass façade generation.” From a design standpoint, it calls to mind Pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexican architecture, where solid materials were predominant.

For all its effort, it earned LEED Platinum status.

6

KK100, Shenzhen, China

Standing at 1,449 feet tall, KK100 is the second-tallest building in the booming tech epicenter Shenzhen. Completed in 2011, its signature curved shape is meant to suggest a fountain of water, representative of the city’s massive growth in recent years.

The building was meant to set an example for Shenzhen in sustainability. That includes drastic reductions in water use, according to LEED. The building has seen a 50% lowering in wastewater, a 40% reduction in baseline indoor water use, generation and an incredible 100% curtailment in potable landscape water use, making for green surroundings.

As a pace-setter for the city, it earned a LEED gold notification.

7

Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwain

Standing at 1,671 feet and holding a LEED Platinum certification, TAIPEI 101 is the tallest green building in the world. With double-paned green glass curtain walls, the building is able to reduce solar heat gain by 50 percent. It also includes energy efficient luminaries, custom lighting controls, low-flow water fixtures, and a smart Energy Management and Control System.

When a building is as tall TAIPEI, it faces unique challenges from wind. That’s why at it also contains a giant steel pendulum that acts as a 728-ton tuned mass damper, keeping the building in place.

Although it was awarded certification in 2011, the building has continued to innovate.

“It is rare to see a commitment to upgrade an existing building to this level of environmental performance. The extensive documentation of its energy upgrades and sustainability initiatives speaks for itself; TAIPEI 101 has been the subject of a tireless and exhaustive effort to become one of the most sustainable tall buildings in the world, and it has been successful in this mission,” said Bill Browning, a juror who helped award TAIPEI the “Best Performance” Award from CTBUH in 2016.

The building is filled with symbolism, starting with a 101 meant to represent January 1st. It’s become a standby of Taiwan’s new year’s celebrations, as well as a look into how buildings will look deep into the 21st century.

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