Sustainable construction is an increasingly important part of our global response to reduce emissions and moderate the impact of climate change.
Reducing the resource burden of property through sustainable building solutions offers a pathway to a more eco-friendly industry that everyone benefits from. It also throws up some really cool buildings too!
This Earth Day, we want to explore the eco friendly houses and green developments from around the world.
This is an amazing opportunity to visit some inspirational sustainability in architecture that also offers aspirational visions of what property could look like for the future.
Plant yourself in front of the screen, and get ready for Earth-positive property across the globe. It’s time for amazing sustainable construction around the world.
1) Bosco Verticale, Milan
Where: Milan, Italy
What: Twin residential green towers
Bosco Verticale (quite literally "Vertical Forest" in Italian) is one of the most iconic green developments in the world.
This majestic structure offers up a pair of residential towers that stretch 111 metres into the sky above Milan, Italy. The exterior is home to over 20,000 trees and perennial plants.
Not only does the building offer a vision of truly green architecture, it’s designed to provide a self-sufficient and sustainable development.
Renewable energy from solar panels, alongside water filtration systems to water the plants, help ensure that this wonderful development stays green and vibrant.
It’s worth highlighting the vision of designer Stefano Boeri, which offers a wonderful reflection on the goals of Earth Day and sustainability in architecture.
“It’s very important to completely change how these new cities are developing. Urban forestation is one of the biggest issues for me in that context. That means parks, it means gardens, but it also means having buildings with trees.”
2) Bahrain World Trade Centre, Manama
Where: Manama, Bahrain
Region: Middle East
What: Multi-purpose commercial complex
The towering Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC) in Manama, Bahrain is a majestic 787 feet of futuristic sustainable construction.
Its iconic outline is designed to leverage on traditional sustainability techniques, positioned in such a way that allows the natural winds to power three giant turbines positioned between the towers.
This allows it to generate renewable wind energy that powers the building. BWTC was opened in 2008, and represented the first building to incorporate this pioneering integrated wind turbine technology.
The tech supplies around 15% of the total electricity demand of the towers. It also utilises reflective pools at the base of the towers to cool the outside through evaporation.
3) Shanghai Tower, Shanghai
Where: Shanghai, China
What: Multi-purpose development
The 128-storey Shanghai tower is a big development with big sustainability commitments. This monumental skyscraper was the tallest building in the world upon completion at the end of 2015, and remains the tallest building in China still, today.
With its impressive size, the Shanghai Tower boasts shops, offices, hotels, and even tourist attractions at the top, with what’s believed to be the world’s highest observation deck.
At 516 metres off the ground, that observation deck really puts our KL Tower (at 300 metres) to shame! Of course, it’s the sustainability credentials that really set Shanghai Tower apart.
200 wind turbines at the top of the tower generate 10% of the structure’s power demands, forming part of an energy ecosystem that includes 40 other energy-saving measures, ranging from heating and power, to lighting.
Developers indicate that all these measures together reduce the building’s annual carbon emissions by about 34,000 metric tonnes.
Rainwater harvesting and reuse also adds to this virtuous circle of sustainability at the heart of the Shanghai Tower.
4) Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro
Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Region: South America
What: Arts and culture centre
Who wants to visit the Museum of Tomorrow, today? After exploring the amazing pictures of this wonderful sustainable construction, we certainly do!
The Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is an eye-catching museum and tourist attraction with a sustainable vision.
Its design incorporates magnificent solar panels which can adjust to optimise capturing of solar energy, as part of a design that developers claim consumes 40% less energy than a traditional building.
This fascinating sustainable construction also uses an innovative cooling technique, tapping cool water from deep within the nearby ocean, which is then pumped through the building to cool the structure.
5) Eastgate Centre, Harare
Where: Harare, Zimbabwe
What: Shopping complex
The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, offers a fascinating look at a type of sustainable design known as 'biomimicry'.
This awesome concept studies structures and learnings from the natural world, then attempts to mimic them in man-made developments, so as to unlock the benefits.
Eastgate Centre actually benefits from understanding of what many might consider to be a major pest – the termite! Yes, this eco-friendly building is constructed based on the awesome design skills of termites.
Despite its location in the warm Zimbabwe climate, where temperatures can touch 40 degrees Celcius during heatwaves, the Eastgate Centre actually operates without any conventional form of air cooling.
The design of this fantastic building is crafted in such a way that air temperature is regulated due to the flow through the building structure.
Fans are strategically placed throughout, to ensure the air flows in such a way as to reduce the internal temperature.
It’s estimated that the building uses 10% less energy than a conventional building of its size. Those termites are really onto something.
6) Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver
Where: Vancouver, Canada
Region: North America
What: Convention centre
The Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, Canada ‘sits on the doorstep of nature’, and is designed to reduce the impact on the planet in this environmentally-conscious city.
This award-winning green development includes a diverse range of sustainability features, including a sprawling rooftop nature garden home to more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses… and four beehives. That’s a sweet solution to sustainability!
Its location perched on the edge of the ocean feeds into the sustainability concerns, with the complex boasting a restored marine habitat as part of the structure.
It also offers the chance for a smart cooling system that takes advantage of the chilly nearby seawater to reduce the energy needs for cooling.