50 Greenest Buildings Around the World

“Greenest” is, of course, always a highly subjective and nebulous term. An environmentally-friendly building encompasses an exceptionally broad spectrum of elements – with some excelling in a couple of areas but potentially in need of a boost in another. Therefore, once one gets to the platinum LEED certification levels as outlined by the United States Green Building Council it is difficult to define what makes a building “greener” than one of its fellow sustainable contemporaries. Not to mention that there are far more than 50 platinum-certified buildings, both retrofitted and built from the ground up around the world. Some nations also play host to extremely green buildings, but hold them to different standards than the United States or have not submitted themselves for LEED certification in spite of probably meeting at least one level of their different criteria. So please consider this list not as a definitive compilation of the latest and greatest in environmentally-friendly architecture, but rather a brief overview of some highlights instead.

1. Alamaden Tower

Location: San Jose, California, USA

According to Forbes, Alamaden Tower is one of three LEED-certified platinum buildings owned and retrofitted by Adobe Systems.

2. India Tower

Location: Mumbai, India

Once the construction team puts the final touches on India Tower and officially opens its doors in 2010, it will be considered amongst the tallest, greenest building in the country.

3. William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

Although initially built up to LEED’s silver level certification standards, the combined forces and finances of Powers of Arkansas, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and The Leonardo Academy renovated it up to platinum.

4. Robert Redford Building

Location: Santa Monica, California

Home of the Natural Resources Defense Council, CNN states that the Robert Redford Building strives to live up to green initiatives by going so far as to flush their toilets with rainwater.

5. RIT’s University Services Center

Location: Rochester, New York, USA

Rochester Institute of Technology also plays host to a LEED-certified gold building as well, but their website proudly outlines some of the hallmarks of their first platinum achievement.

6. Philip Merrill Environmental Center

Location: Annapolis, Maryland, USA

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation makes its headquarters here and includes some interesting green features such as composting toilets, bioretention, and natural lighting – among many, many others.

7. United States Green Building Council

Location: Washington, D.C., USA

It would make perfect sense that those who administer the certifications themselves strive for the highest possible level of achievement as a way of setting an example.

8. Tahoe Center

Location: Incline Village, Nevada, USA

Tahoe Center serves as one of only five platinum-certified science laboratories in the world, playing host to University of California Davis’s environmental research department.

9. Cundall Sydney Office Fitout

Location: St. Leonard’s, New South Wales, Australia

Engineering firm Cundall obtained the first LEED-certified platinum honor for their office fitout as the first in the Southern hemisphere.

10. East and West Towers

Location: San Jose, California, USA

Another Adobe Systems venture, Forbes states that this building sports a state of the art irrigation in perfect tune with nearby weather stations.

11. Perkins + Will

Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

Renowned architecture firm Perkins + Will also obtained LEED platinum certification for their Chicago office as well.

12. The Chicago Center for Green Technology

Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

This extremely eco-friendly space was the subject of a case study by the United States Green Building Council, who extolled its use of solar and geothermal energy and storm water filtration system – among other features.

13. Rocky Mountain Institute

Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

This four-star charity works tirelessly to promote alternative energy and sustainable resources, reflecting their green sensibilities in their architecture as well.

14. Green Tomorrow

Location: Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea

Sponsored by Samsung, the Green Tomorrow home only exists as one highly functioning prototype for the moment, but some estimate that it will be affordable for regular residential use around 2015.

15. Eldorado Business Tower

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

This office-use skyscraper seems to be one of the few to obtain LEED platinum certification in South America.

16. Pratt & Whitney and China Eastern Airlines Engine Maintenance Company

Location: Shanghai, China

Both global leaders put money towards opening up the first LEED-certified platinum building in China. The construction wasn’t cheap, but the product speaks for itself.

17. Bloomberg Office 38 Finsbury Square

Location: London, England

Bloomberg owns what is currently the only platinum-certified building in Great Britain, but their offices around the world have also been awarded with lower honors.

18. TECOM Management Office

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

When the TECOM Management offices needed a bit of renovations in 2008, they opted to outfit the building’s first floor to meet the requirements of LEED platinum certification.

19. Spectral Corporate Office

Location: Noida, India

These green consultants set the standards for their clients by boasting a multitude of platinum and gold buildings throughout India.

20. Banner Bank Building

Location: Boise, Idaho, USA

Forbes points out a couple of the green features this building includes, such as recycled rainwater and biodiesel generators.

21. Kalpataru Square

Location: Kolkata, India

Kalpataru Square furthered the environmental movement when it became the very first building on the entire continent of Asia to achieve LEED platinum status.

22. La Maison du Developpement Durable

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Canada’s Centre for Sustainable Development promotes green initiatives not only in its architecture, but other aspects of life as well.

23. Discovery Park Building 12

Location: Burnaby, British Colombia, Canada

Part of a large research center focusing on environmental and natural concerns, Discovery Park’s Building 12 initially achieved gold status before a few additional changes bumped it up to platinum.

24. Pacific Controls Headquarters

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Pacific Controls set the stage for the growing amount of environmentally-friendly architecture projects and plans when it became the first to score a platinum rating.

25. Brandix Casualwear Ltd.

Location: Seeduwa, Sri Lanka

As the only clothing factory that has ever achieved LEED platinum certification, Brandix raises the bar for others in its field to step up and provide their workers and the environment with a more sustainable future.

26. Turbo Energy Ltd.

Location: Chennai, India

Turbo Energy Ltd. has received considerable recognition from the Indian Green Building Council as well as its counterpart in the United States.

27. Ronald McDonald House Austin

Location: Austin, TX, USA

Corporate juggernaut McDonald’s has begun doing its part to construct green buildings around the world, and the Austin location of its much-beloved charity is touted as “the first of its kind” for them.

28. Tata Consultancy Services IT Park

Location: Bhubaneswar, India

One of the leading IT services in India, Tata has been doing its best to act as a leader in sustainable architecture and design. Its complex in Bhubaneswar obtained the first ever platinum award for an IT park in India.

29. Infinity Benchmark

Location: Kolkata, India

This IT complex was only the second building in the world to receive a platinum certification outside the United States.

30. California Department of Education Building

Location: Sacramento, California, USA

When the State of California received the LEED platinum award for its Department of Education Building, it marked the first time the honor was bestowed upon a state-owned office.

31. Council House 2

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The City of Melbourne takes great pride in its Council House 2, using it as a benchmark for others in the area.

32. Mercy Corps Headquarters

Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Mercy Corps Headquarters in Portland is a newcomer to the LEED platinum party – to the point they even still mention their attempts to achieve the award on the front page of their website.

33. Melink Headquarters

Location: Milford, Ohio, USA

Melink is the first platinum building in the State of Ohio, awarded after their having first received gold status.

34. Burt Hill India Office

Location: Ahmedabad, India

Not only does the India office for Burt Hill boast a platinum LEED certification, it also maintains a design conducive to creative, productive thought.

35. Dockside Green

Location: Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

A Perkins + Will venture, the architecture firm is rumored to have promised the Canadian government $1 million if the numerous buildings in Dockside Green could not reach platinum.

36. Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitor Center

Location: Mineral, California, USA

The information complex at the Lassen Volcanic National Park strives to reduce its CO2 emissions, conserve energy and water in accordance with USGBC’s platinum standards.

37. Shell Business Service Center

Location: Chennai, India

Shell’s Business Service Center located in Chennai initially held gold status before moving up into platinum.

38. KAUST Campus

Location: Thuwal, Saudi Arabia

The first – and, thus far only – LEED platinum building in Saudi Arabia belongs to King Abdulla University of Science and Technology, and the honor spreads to the entire campus.

39. Alberici Corporate Headquarters

Location: Overland, Missouri, USA

Alberici’s nerve center became the subject of one USGBC case study, mentioning that the company wanted to stand as a local leader in adhering to green initiatives.

40. California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters

Location: Sacramento, California, USA

As one can imagine, the central location of the California Environmental Protection Agency features such green facets as composting cafeteria waste and solar energy.

41. 30 The Bond

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Australian Green Building Council bestowed Lend Lease’s headquarters 30 The Bond with its very first 5-star rating.

42. Data Center

Location: Frankfurt, Germany

Citigroup owns at least 3 LEED certified buildings, though their Frankfurt location was their first to obtain platinum.

43. McDonald’s Headquarters

Location: Oak Brook, Illinois, USA

Due to its environmentally-friendly constructs in other parts of the United States, it comes as no surprises that McDonald’s took the time and effort to retrofit their old headquarters to meet LEED platinum standards.

44. Sweetwater Creek State Park Visitor Center

Location: Lithia Springs, Georgia, USA

Forbes discusses in brief this green building’s toilets that act as compost heaps and urinals that function entirely without water.

45. National Guard Annex

Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Owned by the Portland Historic Rehabilitation Fund, Forbes mentions that construction on the National Guard Annex was able to recycle about 95% of its waste.

46. Queens Botanical Garden Visitor and Administration Center

Location: Flushing, New York, USA

Every aspect of the Queens Botanical Garden teaches young and old alike about the value of nature and keeping the environment healthy and proudly carries this mindset over into their visitor’s center.

47. Confederation of Indian Industry’s Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Center

Location: Hyderabad, India

This stunning complex houses the Confederation of Indian Industry and its employees eager to pave the way to future green innovations for their nation and the world alike.

bankofamericatower48. Bank of America Tower

Location: New York City, New York, USA

Bank of America’s looming skyscraper utilizes rainwater as much as possible, recycles materials, stores ice whenever necessary, and numerous other environmentally-friendly features.

49. BMW Welt

Location: Munich, Germany

Translated as “BMW World” into English, this green building showcases the luxury vehicle manufacturer’s latest lines and serves as a conference center and event hall.

50. Lewis and Clark State Office Building

Location: Jefferson City, Missouri, USA

Owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, this government building recycles rainwater, cools and shades with concrete “shelving,” and sports elevated floors that allow wiring to pass underneath people’s feet.

Although declaring one building “greener” than another becomes exceedingly difficult to define, the previous 50 buildings have been recognized as amongst some of the most environmentally-friendly to date. Many, many more exist than this, of course, so this list cannot be thought of as the most detailed or comprehensive by any means. Rather, think of it at a small sampling – a cross-section of what is that may very well predict what is to come.

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