Around the world, buildings are becoming greener as technology and tenant behaviour combine to lower the impact of urbanisation on the planet. Ping Manongdo (Eco-Business) presents the top 5 green building stories in 2016.
The author states that this year, we saw buildings both new and old rise to the challenge of becoming more resource efficient. But greening buildings isn’t enough—tenants hold the key to lowering a building’s carbon emissions.
The top 5 green building stories in 2016
1. From Shanghai’s greenest, super-tall tower to Singapore’s first carbon-negative home
China unveiled its tallest building this year. The 128-storey Shanghai Tower, also the second tallest building in the world, claims to be the world’s greenest skyscraper. From there, we go to the Sydney Opera House, which proved that even old buildings can go green. In September, it became one of only a handful of World Heritage buildings in the world to achieve a four-star rating for green building performance from Australia’s Green Building Council. Finally, Singapore’s contribution to the world this year was its first carbon-negative home. The B House opened its doors in January, generates more solar energy than it consumes, and costs the same as similar properties in the area.
2. Data centres go green
Streaming videos, downloading books and posting on social media became friendlier to the planet, thanks to internet and ICT giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google powering their mega data centres with clean energy this year.
3. Groundbreaking net zero project launched
This year, the World Green Building Council (WGBC) launched Advancing Net Zero, a groundbreaking project that will ensure buildings all over the world are ‘net zero’ by 2050, which means all existing and future buildings will be certified capable of generating enough clean energy on-site to meet heating, cooling, lighting and other electricity needs.
4. Tenants hold the key to buildings’ lower carbon footprints
This year, the role of tenants in helping to achieve lower carbon footprints in buildings was also highlighted. Greenbiz reported that tenants could unlock US$5 billion a year in savings if they use spaces efficiently and update fixtures with energy-efficient lighting and equipment in the US alone.
5. Green buildings for the people
While the movement to green buildings around the world can benefit the planet, research points out that ultimately the quality of life of the occupants is at the heart of building green.
Eco-Business reported why Amsterdam’s the Edge is a model for green offices worldwide. Completed in 2015, The Edge, an innovative and energy efficient office building in the financial centre of Amsterdam, can sense where its inhabitants are, what their schedule is at a given time of day, and direct them to spots that are most productive for their tasks.
Meanwhile, Austrian capital Vienna almost automatically tops the list for cities that offer the best urban quality of life. As human resources consultancy Mercer notes, social policy that mantles over urban development plans –which include affordable housing, a clean, safe and fast public transit, and creating more green spaces in urban centres– are reasons 1.8 million Viennese are happy to be home.
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