By Jodi Summers
In the future, big buildings are not going to be called skyscrapers, they’re going to be known as eco-towers. This new breed of buildings are utilizing green technologies on an entirely new scale. And, like the elliptical shape our new Marriott hotel downtown, they will not look like those box-shaped structures that have become familiar to world skylines. Let us share with you 10 of the world’s most unique green eco-towers;
1.The Bahrain World Trade Center Towers, Kingdom of Bahrain
There is a lot of land in developing nations, and space allows for tremendous innovation. The Bahrain World Trade Center, located in the capital city of Manama, is a 50-story eco-tower, the second tallest building in Bahrain, and the firstskyscraper in the world to integrate wind turbines into its design. Bridges between the buildings house 3 96-foot suspended between the towers house propellers which supply the spires with over 1100 megawatts per year. These towers face north to capture the winds from the Persian Gulf, and the sail shape of the building was designed to to maximize the airflow for the jumbo blades. The “S” shape flow is ideal because it ensures that any wind coming within a 45 degree angle to either side will create a wind stream that is perpendicular to the turbines. These turbines are intended to provide 11% to 15% of the towers total power consumption.
2. The Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China
The China Green Building Council offers basic energy efficiency rules for building, and features a 5-star labeling system as a market-based incentive. The Pearl River Tower exemplifies China’s green push, as this eco-tower is designed to harness winds at lofty heights, using internal wind turbines for lighting. Fashioned like a giant wing, the tower pushes air through wind tunnels on two of the building’s 71 stories. Other green features on the Pearl River Tower include geothermal heat sinks, ventilated facades, waterless urinals, integrated photovoltaics and daylight responsive controls. The skyscraper has net zero energy goals, and anticipates generating enough power to meet its energy demands. Pearl River Tower is a self-sustaining, environmentally intelligent building that is a stunning new icon for the future of the region.
3. Bank of America Tower, New York City
The Bank of America Tower is Manhattan’s 2nd tallest building and 1st LEED Platinum eco-tower. The designers of, Cook + Fox Architects have incorporated rainwater capture and floor-to-ceiling windows for natural lighting, natural gas fuel cells for on-site electricity and sunlight-sensing LED lights maximize efficiency.
4.The Lighthouse Tower, Dubai
The Dubai International Financial Centre Lighthouse Tower incorporates 4,000 photovoltaic panels on the south facing facade as well as three mega 225 kilowatt wind turbines to meet its electricity needs.
Designed by the Atkins Group, the 66-floor Lighthouse Tower is designed to produce the smallest carbon footprint possible. It is structured as two separate towers connected by a bridge at level 10, and features numerous sky gardens. The tower hopes to reduce energy consumption by 65% and its water consumption by 40% when matched against similar structures.
5.The CIS Tower, Manchester England
The CIS Tower is the second-tallest building in Manchester, England. Measuring 387 feet tall, the glass roofed building is home to Co-operative Financial Services. The Tower was built in 1962, and is a fine example of green retrofitting. The new and improved CIS Tower may be considered the ultimate is solar, with more than 7,000 panels on the façade provide a weatherproof barrier, and 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”). Additionally, there are 24 wind turbines on the roof, and the ability to produce 10% of its energy needs.
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.
6. The Hearst Tower, New York City
The Hearst Tower was the first skyscraper in Manhattan to achieve LEED Gold accreditation. Built atop the existing Hearst building, this innovative addition hsed 80% of the steel was recycled, as well as the floors and ceiling tiles are made from recycled materials. Architect was Norman Foster designed a “diagrid” triangular framing pattern required fewer steel beams to achieve the same rigidity as a conventional skyscraper. Rainwater is collected on the roof and is funneled into a 14,000-gallon tank in the basement, and accounts for 50% of the tower’s usage. It’s pumped into the cooling system, used for irrigating plants in communal spaces called “sky gardens” and to power the 3-story waterfall which cools and humidifies the lobby air (like NYC needs more humidity). The building also boasts a smart elevator system, which retains memory and optimizes paths based on previous data, headcounts, and floor requests.
7.The Burj al-Taqa (Energy Tower), Dubai
Unlike most of the U.S. and Europe, Dubai has the issue of extreme heat. The Burj al-Taqa is 68-story super eco-tower has a cylindrical shape that is designed to expose as little surface area to the sun as possible, thanks to a façade built from a new generation of vacuum glazing. A protective solar shield reaches from the ground to the roof and covers 60% of the building. It protects the side most affected from the sun’s glaring rays, making sure that none of the rooms are exposed to direct sunlight. The remaining 40% of the structure has diffused light that is tempered by a mineral coating on the windows. This objective is to shield the building from outside heat, keeping the temperatures inside at a low, comfortable temperature.
“Such a building has to work like a thermos flask,” says DS-Plan’s energy manager Peter Mösle. “It has to have a cooling effect in the summer and retain heat in the winter.”
Burj al-Taqa also has a natural air conditioning system. Lateral openings in the towers suck in cool air like a chimney. The heavier cool air sinks downward, displacing the lighter air; therefore creating a temperature that is ideal for the working environment. Additional fresh air, cooled by sea water, is pumped into the interior of the building by means of a duct system at the same time. There are three large cooling units in the cellar of the skyscraper, also lowering the inside temperature.
Burj al-Taqa was modeled after ancient Persian architectural features. It is #22 on the list of the tallest buildings in the world thanks to the 200-foot wind turbine that will sit atop the building. The turbine, accompanied by two photovoltaic facilities produce the electricity to meet the needs of the building. Additional energy is provided by an island of solar panels that drift in the sea within viewing distance of the tower.
8.Waugh Thistleton Residential Tower, London
This eco-residential building employs 4 helical wind turbines attached to one side of the tower have the potential to generate 40,000kW hrs a year, more than 15% of its energy needs.
9. 340 on the Park, Chicago
If you have $700K to throw down on a 1,600 square-foot condo in this tower designed by archtiectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, you can enjoy low utility bills thanks to the building’s fully insulated windows and rainwater capture system. The building was designed Post-Tensioning in order improve the floor-to-ceiling height for residents.There is also a multi-story winter garden starting on the 25th floor and it is connected to the Chicago pedway system. 340 on the Park is the first residential tower in the Mid-West America to achieve Silver LEED certification.
10. The Urban Cactus, Rotterdam
Designed by UCX Architects, the Urban Cactus is a residential project in the Netherlands that offers 98 residential units on 19 floors. The staggered design and curvy balconies which looked like a stacked set of rotated, swoopy plates allow each unit’s outdoor space to get plenty of light from the sun. This also affords greater angles of natural sunlight to penetrate into the interior of the units themselves. While this tower may lack in the technology department, its carbon-mitigation potential is high thanks to all the photosynthesis happening on the porch gardens. Additionally, the building is white to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
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