From museums to office complexes, some of the world’s most impressive and vitally important buildings are taking energy efficiency seriously.
The LEED – Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – ratings are no longer just a goal for buildings, but a new reality, with thousands of buildings around the world achieving credits in categories such as water efficiency and green infrastructure.
In this article, we look at five of the world’s most innovative and impressive modern buildings that have achieved LEED Platinum – the highest certification offered to an office, residential, or industrial development. From Presidential libraries to luxury hotels, discover five of the world’s most energy efficient buildings.
1. Water + Life Museums: The World’s First Platinum Museums
In the San Jacinto Valley city of Hemet, California, you’ll find two amazing museums dedicated to life and water. The Water + Life Museums are some of the most energy efficient buildings in California and, by some measures, the entire world.
The buildings are part of an award-winning educational complex located near the Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir. Inside, visitors can view fossils discovered during the digging of the manmade lake, as well as other important exhibits.
2. Gateway Energy Center: Innovative Design on the Kona Coast
Kona is known for beautiful beaches, multi-million dollar vacation homes, and some of the sunniest weather in the United States. Hawaii’s vacation capital is also home to the environmentally friendly Hawaii Gateway Energy Center.
This incredible 3,600 square foot facility is designed to use all of the latest energy efficiency technology. The building is designed to capture heat and generate its own solar energy, using just 20% as much as energy to operate as a typical building.
3. One Waterfront Place: Portland’s Most Energy Efficient Building
4. Park Ventures: Thailand’s New Business Hotspot and Luxury Hotel
In tropical Thailand, incredible heat is an everyday occurrence. The Park Ventures complex, built in Bangkok’s central business district, is the city’s first LEED Platinum development and one of the first mixed-use Platinum developments in all of Asia.
The stylish tower contains modern offices, a shopping mall, and even a prestigious Okura five-star hotel. Unlike other buildings in this heavily concrete city, the Park Ventures complex is surrounded by a beautiful and welcoming green garden.
5. Clinton Library: The Most Energy Efficient Presidential Library
The presidency of Bill Clinton is synonymous with technology – under his leadership the dot-com boom occurred and the Internet grew in importance. It’s fitting that the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is one of the most energy efficient libraries in the nation, and the first LEED Platinum Presidential Library.
The building, which is located on President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock, Arkansas, was built from 2001 until 2004 by the Clinton Foundation. Originally given an LEED Silver rating in 2004, it was upgraded to Platinum in 2007 following upgrades.
Not all buildings manage to achieve the top LEED rating. Some of the world’s most remarkable buildings, despite undergoing extensive renovations, only manage to achieve Silver or Gold LEED ratings.
These two buildings may not have achieved the highest environmental honor, but their iconic designs and impressive history makes it important to include them in any summary of famous energy-efficient buildings.
6. Empire State Building: LEED Gold Certification
New York City’s most iconic skyscraper is now energy efficient. The Empire State Building achieved LEED Gold certification in 2011 following an extensive energy efficiency renovation plan.
The renovations have reportedly reduced the building’s energy bills by more than $4.4 million every year. The building owners believe that they will achieve a return on investment from the renovations in as little as three years.
7. Taipei 101: The World’s Tallest LEED Building
Although Taipei 101 is no longer the world’s tallest building, it is the world’s tallest LEED certified structure. The massive skyscraper recently underwent a three-year retrofit and renovation that’s significantly reduced its energy usage.
The building’s management company believes that the green additions will reduce its energy bills by as much as $700,000 per year. According to experts, it’s already achieved a 30% annual energy saving, as well as using 10% less water than before.