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11 Super-Green Skyscrapers

Submitted by on Thursday, 23 October 20083 Comments

Visionaire
Here is a list of eleven green skyscraper developments from all over the world. Developments that are not just building up, but building green.

As people look for long-term savings and seek to live in healthier environments, more architects and developers have been incorporating energy efficient and environmentally sound technologies. Alt Dot Energy takes a closer look at some of the new high-rise projects sustainable residential towers are sprouting up all over the globe.

11. The CIS Tower – Manchester, UK
CIS Tower
Nearing Completion

The CIS Tower is the second-tallest building in Manchester, England. Measuring 387 feet (118 m) tall, the glass roofed building is home to Co-operative Financial Services. The Tower was built in 1962.

The facade of the service tower of this Manchester skyscraper was originaly covered with small mosaic tiles, but they began to detach and fall off. Solarcentury came up with a clever idea replacing the failing tiles with solar cells.

The solar cells provide a weatherproof barrier, and they also generate about 390kW of power for the building. In total, 7,244 Sharp 80W modules are used to cover the entire service tower (but apparently only 4898 of these modules are “live” the others are “dummy modules” — I presume to cut costs, but no explanation is given). The building also has 24 wind turbines on the roof, which provide 10% of the total power used by the building.

The £5.5 million ($10.1 million) solar project was supported by a £885,000 (US$1.64 million) grant from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and a £175,000 (US$ 324,435) grant from the Department of Trade and Industry. The panels started feeding electricity to the national grid in November 2005

Solarcentury

10. COR – Miami
COR Miami
Design Stage

The COR project by Chad Oppenheim, is a futuristic high-rise tower to be built in Miami, FL. The project is still only a design and facing delays, but with its provocative facade, wind turbines, solar panels, and sleek interior design, COR promises to be a landmark high-rise for the US if or when it is built. Even if buying a green home may not be on anyone’s mind right now, at least there are some gorgeous, green options out there, both built and in-the-works, for homeowners who want to make a long-term investment in sustainability.

9. Urban Cactus, Rotterdam, Holland
Urban Cactus
Under Construction

The Urban Cactus is a residential project in the Netherlands that will offer 98 residential units on 19 floors. Each unit’s outdoor space will get plenty of light from the sun, thanks to the staggered design of the curvy balconies. That means that this skyscraper really will be green when all the residents’ gardens are in full bloom. While this tower is not packed full of green technology, its carbon-mitigation potential still looms high thanks to all the photosynthesis happening on the porch.

8. The Visionaire – New York City, NY
Visionaire
Completed

Built upon excavated land from the building of the World Trade Centers, the Battery Park City neighborhood in New York City is quickly becoming one of the greenest neighborhoods in the country. Many of its structures have been LEED certified and in 2003, the first sustainable high-rise residential building in the U.S. was developed in Battery Park City: The Solaire by the Albanese Organization.

Today from the same developer comes The Visionaire, another LEED Platinum high-rise. The 35-story condominium will feature 251 studio-to-three bedroom residences starting from $690,000. The Visionaire, designed by Rafael Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, will be a striking glass and terracotta tower featuring a unique curved façade showcasing generous river views from all corners of the building.

The Visionaire will incorporate a high-efficiency air filtration system that conditions, filters and supplies fresh air into each unit, as well as programmable thermostats and other measures that will yield 35 percent more energy savings than code-compliant buildings. The building will also harvest approximately five percent of its electric load through building-integrated solar panels, and 35 percent of the building’s electric energy will be supplied through wind generated power. Natural gas will power the residential cooling systems and contribute to a substantially lower peak electric demand on New York City’s grid.

7. The Hearst Tower, New York City, NY
Hearst Tower
Completed

The Hearst Tower became New York City’s first skyscraper to achieve LEED Gold accreditation from the USGBC when it opened its doors last year. 80% of the steel used to make the behemoth was recycled. On the inside, the floors and ceiling tiles are made from recycled materials as well.

The diamond shapes on the building’s façade aren’t just for show either. The diagonal grid required fewer steel beams to achieve the same rigidity as a conventional skyscraper, and the design allows more natural light to enter the tower.

Rainwater is collected on the roof and is funneled into a 14,000-gallon tank in the basement. The Hearst gathers enough water from the sky to account for 50% of the tower’s usage. It’s pumped into the cooling system, used for irrigating plants and for the innovative water sculpture in the main lobby.

6. Bank of America Tower, New York City, NY
Bank of America
Under Construction

The designers of Bank of America Tower, Cook + Fox Architects, are hoping to go one-up on the Hearst Tower by going for LEED Platinum certification. Like the Hearst, The BOA tower will also use rainwater capture and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural lighting—but it will also employ even more ecological technologies. Natural gas fuel cells will create on-site electricity, and sunlight-sensing LED lights will maximize efficiency. Bank of America also states that the building will be made largely of recycled and recyclable materials. Air entering the building will be filtered, as is common, but the air exhausted will be cleaned as well, making the tower a giant air filter for Midtown Manhattan.

The tower has a 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant, which will provide part of the base-load energy requirements. On-site power generation reduces the significant electrical transmission losses that are typical of central power production plants.

5. Burj al-Taqa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Burj Al-Taq
Design Stage

If this 68-story super greenscraper becomes a reality, it may become the tallest of all eco-towers, thanks to the proposed 200-foot wind turbine that will sit atop the building. Burj al-Taqa (also know as the Energy Tower) will be number twenty-two on the world’s tallest buildings list should it get the go ahead.

Wind isn’t this building only green technology however. Solar panels will cover a 161,459 square foot artificial island chain connected to the building and seawater will power Burj al-Taqa’s air conditioner.

4. The Lighthouse Tower, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Lighthouse Tower
Design Stage

The Dubai International Financial Centre Lighthouse Tower plans to use a raft of energy saving, energy generating technologies. There will be three large 225 kW wind turbines, 29 meters in diameter, on the building’s south facing side in order to generate electricity. These turbines will have the freedom to yaw, in order to maximize power generation. It will also be clad in 4,000 solar panels to generate additional electricity. The tower will also reduce its overall energy consumption by 65%, and its water consumption by 40% in comparison to an equivalent building. At the building’s base, a four storey glass lobby will house an environmental visitor center. It was designed by the Atkins group.

3. 340 on the Park, Chicago
340 Park
Nearing Completion

340 on the Park has also become the first residential tower in the Mid-West America to achieve Silver LEED certification for its green design, including a large winter garden for residents. Additional benefits include a connection to the Chicago pedway system. If you have $700K to spend on a 1600 square-foot condo, you can enjoy low utility bills thanks to the building’s fully insulated windows and rainwater capture system. And the most awesome amenity is the multi-storey winter garden starting on floor 25.

2. The Bahrain World Trade Center Towers, Kingdom of Bahrain
Bahrain World Trade Center
Under Construction

Three 96-foot propellers suspended between the towers will supply the 42-storey spires with over 1100 megawatts per year. The shape of the building itself will create an accelerated airflow for the jumbo blades. Three bridges connect the towers, each hold one large 29 m (32 yd) turbine. These turbines face north, which is the direction of the prevailing winds inn the Persian Gulf.

The sail-shaped buildings on either side are designed to funnel wind through the gap to provide the maximum amount of wind for the turbines. This was confirmed by wind tunnel tests, which showed the the building create an ‘S’-shaped flow, ensuring that any wind coming within a 45° angle to either side of the central axis will create a wind stream that remains perpendicular to the turbines. This significantly increases their potential to generate electricity. The wind turbines are expected to provide 11% to 15% of the towers’ total power consumption. This is equivalent to providing the lighting for about 300 homes annually. The three turbines were turned on for the first time on 8 April 2008.

1. The Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China
Pearl River Tower
Under Construction

Our winner is another greenscraper designed to harness winds at lofty heights. The Pearl River Tower will use internal wind turbines to keep the lights on. Fashioned like a giant wing, the tower pushes air through wind tunnels on two of the building’s 71 stories. The building is designed to produce more energy than consumes.

It is designed to be one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the world. Among its features are turbines that turn wind into energy for the HVAC system, solar collector for more power generation, a rainwater collection system, part of which is heated by the sun to provide hot water. The building is cooled, in part, through heat sinks and vertical vents. The turbines do more than generate electricity, though. The openings through which the wind flows help reduce the overall wind load on the skyscraper.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, construction started in 2006 and completion is planned for autumn 2009. It is intended for office use and will be occupied by the China National Tobacco Corporation.

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