Architecture firms across the world are adopting eco-friendly operational and constructional techniques. This rise in the number of sustainable practices in architecture doesn’t just accrue from the growing awareness on the impact of construction on climate change, but buildings that meet sustainability standards provide huge cost reduction. Sustainability aims at conserving natural resources by minimizing the use of water, increasing energy efficiency, and lowering material wastage, thereby creating a refreshing and healthy environment to live in.  It’s not just the new buildings that are adopting sustainable architectural practices but even existing establishments are being revamped to become energy-efficient. Listed below are the 20 most sustainable buildings in the world.

1. Shanghai Tower, China

Shanghai Tower is Shell Platinum and LEED Core certified. It is the world’s second-tallest building and was built using locally sourced materials, including recycled materials. 

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Shanghai Tower ©Baycrest

2. Bullitt Center, Washington

This Seattle building was the first of its kind to be awarded the Living Building Certification from Living Building Challenge. The building’s supporting system comprises 575 solar panels, generating sixty percent of the energy requirement of the building. It also houses rainwater harvesting systems. 

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Bullitt Center ©

3. Council House 2, Australia

The Council House 2 in Melbourne, Australia was the first to receive the Six Green Star Rating. The building has gas-fired cogeneration plants that reduce carbon emissions, solar panels, and advanced lighting technology.

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Council House 2 ©

4. DPR Construction’s Phoenix Regional Office, Arizona

This building was awarded the Net Zero Energy Building certification and the LEED-NC Platinum Certification. Amongst several high-tech features, the building also has a shut-off switch to turn off the energy supply when there are no occupants in the building.

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DPR Construction’s Phoenix Regional Office ©

5. The Change Initiative Building, UAE

Heat reflective wall paint, solar panels, and recycled materials for indoor construction are some of the green technologies adopted in the construction of this shopping complex.

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The Change Initiative Building ©

6. The Crystal, UK

This project tops the LEEDs Platinum and the BREAM Outstanding Sustainability scores owing to its 90% water self-sufficient, solar and thermal panels, and high-performance insulation technologies.

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The Crystal ©Ian Hughes

7. Powerhouse Kjørbo, Norway

This construction demonstrates how existing buildings can be refurbished to become self-sustainable. It is 100% energy efficient and aims to have a zero carbon footprint by 2070.

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Powerhouse Kjørbo ©

8. Vanke Center, China

Located in Shanghai, the Vanke Center is a tsunami proof building and LEED Platinum certified. Its architectural design makes maximum use of natural ventilation and includes a landscaped garden. 

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Vanke Center ©

9. CIS Tower, UK

The CIS Tower in the UK is an office skyscraper whose façade is covered with solar cells that generate over 180,000 kWh of electricity, making it self-sustainable. 

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CIS Tower ©

10. Manitoba Hydro Place, Canada

This project is well-known for its self-renewable water power systems. This building is designed to respond to changing weather conditions by adjusting insulation and humidity levels.

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Manitoba Hydro Place ©
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Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.