May 6, 2014

Top 10 sustainable buildings in the world

6 min
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The 10 best sustainable buildings range from Santa Monica, U.S., to Hyderabad, India, to Brisbane, Australia, and Budapest, Hungary, which shows that countries across the globe are embracing sustainability and the importance of becoming more energy efficient with new construction.

1.)    Robert Redford Building

The Robert Redford Building in Santa Monica, Calif., headquarters for the National Resources Defense Council, combines cutting-edge technologies and materials with elegant, energy-efficient architecture to create a showcase for green building design and to promote environmental activism. The building was named a LEED Version 2 Platinum green building rating – the highest possible level of sustainable design -- the first structure in the United States to achieve this status.

The building uses 60 percent less water than a standard building of its size by capturing and filtering rain, shower and sink water to irrigate landscaping and flush toilets. It reduces electricity consumption 60 to 75 percent by maximizing natural light and using efficient fixtures and appliances, task lighting, dimmable electronic ballasts, occupancy sensors and extra insulation. The building also meets 20 percent of its electricity needs through rooftop photovoltaic cells. The structure uses only recycled or recyclable materials, and 98 percent of the materials left over from dismantling the original building and constructing the new one were reused or recycled.

2.) Bank of America Tower

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York City earned the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Core & Shell Platinum certification. This certification recognizes the building as the world's most environmentally responsible high-rise office buildings. The building makes use of a 5.1 megawatt cogeneration system and conserves about 10.3 million gallons of water every year due to a combination of low flow plumbing fixtures and gray water storage system.

In 2010, the building received the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Best Tall Building Award for the Americas Region, as well as a New York State Environmental Excellence Award from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

3.) Council House 2

Council House 2 is an office building located in Melbourne, Australia, that is occupied by the City of Melbourne council. In 2005, it became the first purpose-built office building in Australia to achieve a maximum Six Green Star rating, certified by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The building uses a gas-fired micro-turbine located in the roof plant room to generate electricity, thus reducing reliance on the public electricity grid. The process produces waste heat, which is used to assist the building’s air-conditioning plant. The co-generation plant has much lower CO2 emissions than coal-fired electrical generation and provides 60kVA of electricity, meeting up to 30 per cent of the building’s needs. In CH2, the waste heat is also used for heating hot water for the building and also for cooling via an absorption chiller.

4.) Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies,on the campus of Oberlin College in Ohio, uses sustainable building practices to keep it energy-efficient and comfortable. The building uses geothermal wells for heating and cooling, a photovoltaic system on the roof generates energy, and a water treatment system treats and purifies the water so that it can be reused for toilets.

The building has received many awards, including:Most important green building constructed in the last 30 years (July 2010), Architect Magazine; one of the 30 Milestone Buildings of the 20th Century, U.S. Department of Energy, William McDonough & Partners; and one of the Top 10 Green Projects (2002), American Institute of Architects (AIA).

5.) Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre

CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad, India,offers advisory services to the industry in the areas of green buildings, energy efficiency, water management, environmental management, renewable energy, Green business incubation and climate change activities.

The Centre is housed in a green building, which received the prestigious LEED Platinum Rating in 2003 and was named one of the most environmentally advanced buildings in the world. The building boasts a 50 percent savings in energy use, 35 percent reduction in water consumption, and usage of 80 percent recycled and recyclable material.

6.) Santos Place

Santos Place is a 6 Star Green Star office building in Brisbane, Australia, which opened in 2009. The property incorporates the latest technology in Environmentally Sustainable Design and energy efficient initiatives to achieve a 5.5 Star target NABERS energy rating.

Over $10 million has been spent upgrading the design and specification to: improve environmental and workplace conditions for occupants; maximize building services efficiency; reduce ongoing building operating costs; “future proof” the value of the building. The savings in greenhouse emissions that result from the significant investment in green design will ensure that the asset value of Santos Place will continue to strengthen with the Carbon Tax being introduced.

7.) Clinton Presidential Library

The William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark.,has been designated as one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly places to work in the United States by the U.S. Green Buildings Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Program.

The Library is the first federal building to receive a platinum rating, the highest in the LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) Green Building rating system. Waste reduction was accomplished by increased recycling and source reduction for paper, light bulbs, batteries, metal, cardboard, plastic, glass, etc. The Clinton Foundation implemented several initiatives for water savings and energy conservation in the Clinton Library park grounds.

8.) K&H Bank Headquarters

On the banks of the River Danube, the K&H Bank Headquarters in Budapest, Hungary, is the country’s first LEED-NC rated building. The energy-saving design and technologies have resulted in a building that consumes around 22 percent less than a comparable conventional building, while providing optimum occupant comfort. New technologies were also applied to curb potable water use, while a cistern captures and stores rainwater – relieving the public storm water system of more than 90 percent of rainfall, and irrigating roof top gardens and landscaped grounds.

 9.) Park Hotel in Hyderabad

The Park Hotel in Hyderabad, India, is a 270-room hotel distinguished by its impressive facade of perforated metal, which serves as a sun and rain screen that protects the building’s high-performance windows. Daylighting, orientation, solar gain and local climate were all taken into account during the design of the building to maximize light and minimize heat gain.

The team also collaborated on incorporating an on-site waste water treatment plant that processes both gray water for reuse and waste water before it is released back into the city’s sewer system. The hotel is the first in India to achieve LEED Gold certification and it has been awarded Best New Hospitality Project of 2010 from Cityscape India.

10.) Marco Polo Tower

Directly on the Elbe, commanding a prominent position in Hamburg, Germany, stands the Marco Polo Tower right beside the new Unilever headquarters. The 55 meter high tower brings together high-class living accommodation and a holistic ecological building concept. The recessed façades are protected from direct sun by the overhanging terraces above so that additional sunshades are not necessary. Vacuum collectors on the roof, using a heat exchanger, turn heat into a cooling system for the apartments. Innovative sound insulated air louvers in the sleeping areas make natural ventilation possible without increased noise pollution from outside.


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Mar 20, 2020

Top 10 ways to prepare for COVID-19

Georgia Wilson
3 min
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management
Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s To...

Energy Digital sets out Gartner’s Top 10 ways organisations can prepare for a pandemic, via effective operational risk management. 

As the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop, many businesses are left uncertain as to whether their risk mitigation plan is sufficient. 

In a recent webinar conducted by the research and advisory firm just 12% of 1,500 people believe that their business is highly prepared for the impact of COVID-19, while 56% believed themselves to be somewhat prepared, and 11% believed themselves to be very unprepared. 

“Most organizations have done some pandemic planning but still have many unanswered questions about whether they have done everything they can to manage risks,” says Jim Mello, Senior Director, Advisory, Gartner. 

Establish a preparedness framework

Establish a team that represents all critical business functions. These people will report directly to executive management and are responsible for prioritising the importance of business activities and organise them in tiers for response and recovery.

Monitor the situation

It is important to ensure that organisations monitor the rate in which the infection is spreading and its severity. Many rely on the World Health Organisation for information.

Revise finance

Be sure to revise revenue forecasts and communicate with investors, as well as suppliers in regards to any potential finance issues. It is important to ensure that the business has the working capital to ride it out. 

Ways to ensure this include: working capital checks, seeking loans or government-sponsored financial relief.

Extend personal hygiene and cleaning protocols

It is important to comply with any changes to workplace regulations. In addition, it is important to establish protocols for staff returning from infected areas, as well as extending existing hygiene activities.

Review HR 

Ensure close monitoring of absenteeism rates for signs of problems. It is important to identify critical staff in order to make sure the company can continue to function in their absence and be prepared for up to 40% absentee rates.

In addition to reviewing HR policies and procedures, it is important to maintain a level of sensitivity when it comes to engaging with employees and workplace preferences. 


Establish a communication programme

People can feel out of the loop quickly. Establish a spokesperson appropriate for the situation who can maintain lines of communication. In addition, organisations should establish pre-approved messages and scripts for various stakeholders.

Review the impact on the operation

Although this may seem overwhelming, the team established to represent all critical business functions should identify key areas to consider. It is important to maintain a connection with the reality on the ground in countries affected.

Key questions to consider: is transport functioning? Have holidays been extended? Where can operation continue and where do they need to stop?

Review IT 

IT business functions tend to be relatively well-prepared for business continuity. However, it is important to assess the supply chain for critical equipment and keep extra inventory if required.

In addition, organisations should keep in mind remote data centre management and cloud options for critical systems as well as enabling remote working programs and rescheduling any non-essential IT work prioritising key applications. 

Review pandemic plans to identify any gaps in response

Conduct a preparedness exercise by validating roles and responsibilities as well as recovery requirements and procedures, in order to identify any gaps in the recover capabilities and resource needs.

Review after-action

Following the establishment of a pandemic plan, identify three lessons learned, key observations or improvements for the exercise. After establishing these organisations should priorities the short and long term follow up actions.

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