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Ten great examples of green building worldwide

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Buildings are responsible for the biggest share of greenhouse gas emissions. See examples of a greener architecture.

 

July 17, 2009

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The German Reichstag (1/10)

Visitors walk inside the glass dome of the German Reichstag parliament building in Berlin. The building's energy system is based upon a mix of solar energy, geothermal power, combined heat and power, biofuel generators, and innovative ventilation. Special insulation limits heat loss.

More than 80 percent of electricity needed is generated internally. A geothermal installation cools the building in summer and provides heat in winter. Annual CO2 emissions are thus reduced from 7,000 to less than 1,000 tons.

(Source: Reuters)

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The Bird's Nest (2/10)

Laborers on the construction site of the National Olympic Stadium, also known as the "Bird's Nest," in Beijing. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, the stadium will incorporate solar power and rainwater collection. Since all of the facilities inside the stadium are planned as self-contained units, it is possible to do largely without a solid, enclosed facade. This allows for natural ventilation of the stadium, which is the most important aspect of the stadium's sustainable design.

(Source: Reuters)

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Ecological Building (3/10)

The Wayne L. Morse U.S. Courthouse in Eugene, Oregon was awarded the U.S. LEED Gold certification for its use of environmental enhancements and energy efficiency. Reduced irrigation through native, drought-tolerant plants combined with waterless urinals and low-flow toilets, and showerheads reduce water use by more than 40 percent, compared with a conventional facility. The building materials have a high recycled content, are regionally available, need minimal maintenance, and have low chemical emissions.

(Source: Reuters)

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Urban Sprawl (4/10)

A suburb in Cincinnati, Ohio. Badly planned housing with little or no public transportation increases traffic and waste of resources. Without proper infrastructure or nearby shopping, residents are forced to use their car for every errand. Residents of sprawling neighborhoods thus tend to emit more pollution per person. Due to their low population density, sprawls also use up a lot of land and degrade land and water quality.

(Source: Derek Jensen/Public Domain)

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New Urbanism (5/10)

New urbanism, an American design movement, arose during the early 1980s out of frustration with sprawling cities. The graphic shows a map of one example, Prospect New Town in Colorado (USA), a walkable neighborhood designed to contain a diverse range of housing, jobs, and community buildings.

(Source: Kiki Wallace/Prospect Newtown)

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Prospect New Town (6/10)

With its mix of aggregate housing, traditional detached homes, workplaces and shops, Prospect New Town in Colorado (USA) is an example of new urbanism. After facing initial criticism, the town's planners won the Governor’s Smart Growth Award in 1996.

(Source: Kiki Wallace/Prospect New Town)

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K2 Housing Project (7/10)

The K2 Apartments are the most environmentally sustainable public housing development in Australia. The apartment complex uses only renewable energy and has a life span up to 200 years. Its is made partially of recycled timber and employs rainwater harvesting, grey water re-use, solar water heating and photovoltaic panels. According to the Victorian State Government's Office of Housing, its K2 apartments use 55 percent less electricity, 46 percent less gas, and 53 percent less water than conventional apartments.

(Source: Victorian State Government's Office of Housing)

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Solar Decathlon (8/10)

The Solar Decathlon in Washington in October 2005. The event saw 18 collegiate teams from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Spain competing for which solar-powered house offered the best mix of aesthetics, convenience, energy production, and efficiency. Each house also had to produce enough "extra" power to run an electric car.

(Source: Stefano Paltera / Solar Decathlon)

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Renewable Style (9/10)

Solar panels function as a wall in a solar house from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. In energy efficient houses, building materials become part of the energy system, combining decoration and functionality.

(Source: Stefano Paltera / Solar Decathlon)

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Building Material (10/10)

Climate neutral and highly isolating building materials are an integral part of sustainable architecture. This masonry block, made of recycled, waste-wood chips and fly ash, was used in the construction of the University of Colorado’s solar-powered house.

(Source: Stefano Paltera/Solar Decathlon)

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