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  • Emmanuel Dean

Five buildings that won't only drop jaws, but also carbon emissions

Green is gorgeous, and it shows. These five marvels of architecture combine beautiful design with innovative sustainable development technologies.

1. Sustainability Treehouse, by Mithūn and BNIM

The Sustainability Treehouse was built using local timber and there’s also a rainwater recovery and filtration system. Furthermore, it uses two wind turbines and a 6,450-watt photovoltaic array to generate energy.

2. Corallo House, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Corallo House integrates the forest into the layout of the house, merging nature with architecture. The building is built on a heat-repelling concrete foundation, using recycled materials. The forest is brought into the living room by the inclusion of mature trees that pass through the floors of the house.

3. Council House 2, Melbourne, Australia

Council House 2 features 48 m2 of solar panels, which provide 60% of the hot water in the building, as well as a gas-fired generation plant which provides 40% of the building's overall electricity and heating which significantly reduce carbon emission. The total construction cost was about $51 million, $12 million of which were invested in energy, water, and waste innovation. However, the investment for these innovations is expected to pay themselves back in less than 10 years!

4. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California

The California Academy of Sciences has a living roof that serves as natural insulation and prevents water runoff from carrying polluting elements into the ecosystem. The native plants also serve as a natural habitat for local birds and butterflies. The automated ventilation system uses natural air currents to regulate temperatures inside the building. The solar canopy around the perimeter contains 60,000 photovoltaic cells that supply almost 213,000 kWh of clean energy per year.

5. RB12, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

RB12’s defining element is its bio-climatic façade. The office building incorporates the use of photovoltaic panels (the first in Brazil) which allows the building to produce its own energy. The building was first constructed in 1970 and then revamped by design studio Triptyque to show that it’s possible to reduce energy consumption simply by changing certain elements instead of demolishing and starting from the ground up.

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