From the expansive office complexes of the American public sector to the high-tech towers of London’s top financial firms, some of the world’s largest organizations are making environmental responsibility and energy efficiency core design priorities.
These five offices and public buildings span the entire globe, from the remote capital of New Zealand to the City of London. While they may look different and serve very different purposes, they share one common design principle: energy efficiency.
Whether you’re looking for a source of inspiration for your own building or simply interested in environmentally sustainable architecture and design, read on to learn about five of the world’s most impressive green offices and public buildings.
California EPA Headquarters, Sacramento
California is widely regarded as the United States’ greenest state, and its numerous environmental regulations and green incentives have made it the center of energy efficient design in North America.
It makes sense, then, that California’s Environmental Protection Agency – known to most as the EPA – would be located in one of the world’s most energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings.
While this 25-story high-rise may not look different from other office buildings on the outside, it’s packed with green technology. From recycled materials to interior compost systems, the green tech in the California EPA building reduces its annual operating budget by more than $1 million.
30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), London
Located on St Mary Axe – a street in the City of London named after the medieval church that once stood there – this iconic tower, sarcastically referred to by locals by the name ‘the Gherkin’ – is one of London’s most well-known landmarks.
Completed in 2003 after a two-year construction process, the building is one of the most energy efficient in the UK. One of its unique features is its ‘air chimneys’ – tiny gaps between floors that act as a natural ventilation system for the entire building.
Popular with both the architectural community and the energy efficiency industry, the Gherkin – officially called 30 St Mary Axe – is easy to spot in London’s skyline as a reminder of the city’s commitment to energy efficiency and contemporary design.
Conservation House, Wellington
New Zealand is one of the world’s greenest countries, boasting a commitment to the environment that extends from its power sources to is architecture. The main office for the country’s Department of Conservation is appropriately energy efficient.
Designed in the early 2000s and built from 2004-2006, Conservation House differs from the other offices and public buildings on this list in that it’s a renovation of an existing building rather than a brand new project.
The office, which was built over two years, replaced a cinema and retail complex on the city’s chief commercial strip. Today, it’s one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most energy efficient and environmentally friendly government buildings.
Shiodome Tower, Tokyo
While Tokyo’s most visually interesting skyscrapers are found in the Shinjuku office district, it’s the Shiodome Tower – located in the Shiodome shopping, entertainment and business district – that’s its most environmentally impressive building.
Built in 2003, the Royal Park Shiodome Tower houses the offices of some of Japan’s largest corporations, a variety of retail stores and a luxury hotel. Unlike most of the cramped offices in Tokyo, the tower’s two-story suites all have individual atriums.
Taipei 101, Taipei
No list of the world’s most architecturally impressive green buildings is complete without the famous Taipei 101 tower. Finished in 2004 after five years, this super-tall skyscraper features a number of impressive energy efficient design features.
One of the building’s most notable features is a clock located at its entrance, which draws its power from wind turbines installed on the building. It also uses double-plane windows to reduce heat transfer and was certified LEED Platinum in 2011.
From its incredible height – the building measures 509 meters from top to bottom and has 101 floors – to its amazing energy efficiency, Taipei 101 is an architectural, engineering and environmental wonder in every aspect.