20 Stunning Photos Of The World's Most Sustainable Buildings

Published On 04/21/2015 Published On 04/21/2015
Most sustainable buildings
Joe Fletcher

Proving that green can be gorgeous, these 20 buildings are marvelous examples of sustainability that will drop jaws as well as carbon emissions. From giant wind turbines to living roofs, check 'em out and celebrate low-impact architecture with high-minded design. 


Genzyme Center

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Green attributes: Prismatic louvers to deflect too much heat from the sun; vegetative roof to reduce stormwater runoff. 

Asian Pictures

Bahrain World Trade Center

Manama, Bahrain
Green attributes: An unprecedented pair of 42-story wind turbines.

Paz Arquitectura

CV by Paz Arquitectura

Santa Rosalia, Guatemala City
Green attributes: Uses heat-repelling concrete foundation; built around trees; uses recycled materials. 

Flickr/San Francisco Public Works

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters

San Francisco, California
Green attributes: Built with low-emitting materials; uses wind turbine power.


OUTrial House

Ksiazenice, Poland
Green attributes: Built into the existing terrain for low environmental impact.

Flickr/Jonathan Lin

Council House 2

Melbourne, Australia
Green attributes: Gas-fired cogeneration plant to reduce carbon emotions; T5 light fittings which consume less energy.

Joe Fletcher

Sustainability Treehouse, by Mithūn and BNIM

Glen Jean, West Virginia
Green attributes: Water cleansing system; photovoltaic panels; wind turbines.

Benjamin Benschneider

Federal Center South Building 1202

Seattle, Washington
Green attributes: Geothermal heating and cooling; solar panels.


SUNY-ESF Gateway Center

Syracuse, New York
Green attributes: Natural gas-powered turbines; biomass; steam-fueled electricity.

Wikimedia Commons

Bank of America Tower

New York City, New York
Green attributes: Insulated floor-to-ceiling windows for natural light; reusable rainwater-capturing system, constructed from recyclable materials.

Wikimedia Commons

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco, California
Green attributes: Over 60,000 photovoltaic panels; 2.5-acre green roof; natural light in 90% of the building.

Wikimedia Commons

Vancouver Convention Centre West

Vancouver, Canada
Green attributes: Green roof is home to many indigenous plants; recovery rainwater system for irrigation; habitat for fish built into building’s foundation.

Geoffrey Steventon

The HemLoft Treehouse

Whistler, Canada
Green attributes: Built around surrounding trees; uses recycled wood.

Wikimedia Commons

Marco Polo Tower

Hamburg, Germany
Green attributes: Solar panels on the roof; low-energy light bulbs; geothermal heating.

Wikimedia Commons

First Unitarian Society Meeting House

Madison, Wisconsin
Green attributes: Green roof to curb stormwater runoff; geothermal heating and cooling.

Wikimedia Commons

Shanghai Tower

Shanghai, China
Green attributes: One third of interior is public green space; powered with wind turbines; built with a high percentage of recycled materials.

Packard Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Los Altos, California
Green attributes: Living green roof; 915 rooftop solar panels; built from 95% recycled materials.

Wikimedia Commons

One Angel Square

Manchester, UK
Green attributes: Has computer systems that recycle waste heat and rainwater harvesting; passive solar building design.


Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media

Nanyang, Singapore
Green attributes: Living green roof.

Wikimedia Commons

Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building

Portland, Oregon
Green attributes: Rainwater collection tank; radiant heating and cooling; elevators that generate electricity when descending.

Ali Drucker is a staff writer for Supercompressor. She, too, generates electricity. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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