The 10 most sustainable office buildings worldwide
Sustainability in design is no longer a nice to have, it's a critical necessity. Credible schemes such as LEED and BREEAM are raising the bar and ambitious climate change goals are driving the accelerated uptake of new technologies and innovation. These are the 10 most sustainable office buildings in the world today.
1. The Edge - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Designed by London-based PLP Architecture, the edge features a 15 story atrium to create a contemporary work environment. The building itself has achieved the highest BREEAM rating ever, with 4,100m2 of rooftop solar panels. LED lighting is controlled by smartphone and rainwater harvesting is used for toilet flushing and watering plants.
2. Bullitt Centre - Seattle, USA
This six-storey building is certified as a 'living building'. Designed by the Miller Hull Partnership for the Bullitt foundation, it features a rainwater harvesting system capable of dealing with 56,000 gallons of water and five aerobic composters to treat human waste without any nasty odours.
3. RB12 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Designed with sustainability and positive energy strategies in mind, this Triptyque designed building generates its own electricity with photovoltaic cells. A bioclimactic facade is created using adpative windows that automatically optimise natural light.
4. Pixel - Melbourne, Australia
The extraordinary Pixel building has a playful facade that is also strikingly functional, decorated with fixed shading louvres, solar panel shades and a double glazed curtain wall. The building, by Studio 505, combines multiple environmental systems in a relatively small footprint and achieved a perfect 100 score in the Green Star rating system and a LEED platinum certificate.
5. 1 Angel Square - Manchester, United Kingdom
3D Reid's innovative office block achieved the highest BREEAM rating in the UK, with 80% reduction in carbon emissions and 50% energy reduction. The double-skinned facade and high thermal mass concrete control heating and cooling, while a natural aerodynamic system in the atrium allows waste air to be warmed and reused. Responding to predictive weather data for 2050, the design is future-proofed to cope with a rise in temperature of 3-5 degrees in summer and up to 30% more rainfall in winter.
6. CH2 Melbourne City Council House 2 - Melbourne, Australia
Design Inc created a building that focuses on the interaction between urban and nature. The concrete structure is 100% ventilated using wooden ventilation ducts. These combine with natural lighting to reduce energy consumption giving the building a rating in excess of Australia's six-star energy rating system.
7. Federal Center South Building 1202 - Seattle, USA
This renovated warehouse design is based around sustainability and cost-effectiveness, reusing timber from the original building and incorporating active and passive energy saving systems. Natural ventilation and daylighting, rainwater harvesting and natural drainage have all contributed to the building achieving a gold LEED certificate.
8. Genzyme Center - Massachusetts, USA
Behnisch & Partner's building features a 12-storey atrium designed to meet 75% of the building's daylight needs while providing an effective air stack. Hanging mirror panels help to bounce light throughout the rest of the building. The centre has achieved LEED Platinum certification.
9. One Embankment Place - London, United kingdom
TP Bennett retrofitted this 25 year old building to achieve the highest ever BREEAM rating of 96.31%, until it was surpassed by the Edge. Operating on biofuel created from waste oil, it features green walls and water saving methods plus staircases instead of lifts.
10. Powerhouse Kjørbo - Bærum, Norway
Oslo-based Snøhetta renovated two 80's office blocks with solar panels capable of producing 41kWh/m2 per year, insulation, natural ventilation and energy-efficient lighting. Energy use was reduced by 90%, gaining an "outstanding" rating from BREEAM-NOR.