Wednesday, 13 May, 2009 Environment

Top 5 Most Inspiring Green Buildings


With a high level of carbon emissions that lead to climate change, governments worldwide take actions to reduce the footprint by forcing plants to lower greenhouse gas emissions while making use of green energy. A lot of architects follow the same path by developing sustainable energy-efficient buildings that use the sun and wind to generate power. Below you will find 5 buildings that we selected as the most inspiring eco-friendly projects.

Harvest - Vertical Farm by Romses Architects

In one of our previous articles we wrote about this incredible building. The idea of this farm lies in vertical farming of vegetables, herbs, fruits, fish and egg laying chickens. It will also include a boutique goat and sheep dairy facility.

A number of design elements included in the Harvest will be able to generate renewable energy by making use of geothermal, wind and solar power. Every structure of the building will have photovoltaic glazing as well as small and large-scale wind turbines. Non-edible parts of plants and animals will be fertilized to produce methane that will basically add energy back to the grid. Irrigation for crops and roof gardens will be provided by a large rainwater cistern mounted on top of the farm.

Gish Family Apartment Complex

This complex is located in downtown San Jose. It features 35 apartments that offer quality at an affordable price. In fact, the complex represents a transit-oriented family apartment building that includes two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments, from which 13 are set aside for people with developmental disabilities. Besides being an incredible structure from the architectural point of view, the building also takes advantage of renewable energy technologies and a number of other green building features, including reuse of an urban brownfield site, a roof-top photovoltaic array, as well as heating and hot water systems.

For more information on the project visit

The Edible House - Green House of the Future

We might soon cultivate our own food, according to architects that were asked to design the green house of the future. Specialists from the Rios Clementi Hale Studios from Los Angeles developed an incredible concept of a green 3-story building that doubles as a vertical garden. They named their design The Edible House. It is made of 3 prefab containers that are stacked on top of one another. Due to the fact that the containers are stacked on top of each other, the footprint of the Edible House is rather small. According to the designers this is a "nod to the importance of building dense, urban-style houses in order to reduce energy use." The building's three floors include the eating and living space, found on the bottom, sleeping rooms in the middle, and room for office and/or studio on the top together with a magnificent deck.

The green aspects of the design include vertical axis wind turbines, installed on the roof, facing an evaporative cooling reservoir. Such systems are going to considerably reduce the energy use. Besides, the designers included a photovoltaic awning, installed over the top deck. It will have two functions: energy production and shading. The Edible House will also include adjustable doors on its sides that will provide natural cross ventilation. Probably the most interesting feature of the house is that it will allow people to walk out on the deck and collect vegetables from personal edible garden.

For more information on the project visit The Wall Street Journal

The Terry Thomas

Initially the idea of The Terry Thomas building was to offer a healthy work environment that would show the possibilities of eco-friendly design. The building is located in Seattle. Its four floors provide 37,000 square feet of office space, including shower facilities to support bicycle use. The main goal was to reducing the dependence on energy. The ground level of the building houses restaurant space and a central courtyard, where office workers can gather and communicate. There are also 2 levels of an underground garage were workers can park their vehicles and bicycles. Some other sustainable practices include simple interior finishes, daylighting and natural ventilation. The Terry Thomas was erected without air conditioning in order to save energy. However, it has a cooling central courtyard, heat-resistant blinds, as well as automatic exterior vents that control temperature.

For more information on the project visit The American Institute of Architects

Envision Green Hotel

We wrote about this egg-like skyscraper previously, noting that it is part urban eco-resort, part wind tower. The building makes use of wind and atmospheric conversion systems to produce natural air without any mechanical involvement. Photovoltaic exterior sheathing produces energy. Recycled pools of water are used as water reservoirs and fire barriers. The wind turbine generates power that heats the boiler, thus producing steam that is needed for the chiller water plant found beneath the building. The water plant then cools and heats the entire construction. There are a lot more features that designers wish to include in this building, such as LED curtains that would change color during the day to highlight the process when the day turns into night.

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