The global climate crisis is now the focus of attention and conversation in many areas of life, with close attention being paid to ways to curb the ongoing climate change and prevent its consequences. One of the main factors contributing to the crisis is the way we produce energy, and often the traditional methods of generating electricity end up leaving a lot of production waste, releasing large amounts of atmospheric and water pollutants and some non-renewable resources. It is the social responsibility of architects in our time to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from buildings by adopting regenerative design principles. We have selected 19 building projects that offer solutions as case studies. These energy treatments were so unparalleled in their success that some of the buildings generated an excessive supply of energy that was able to be provided to nearby buildings.
Swatch & Omega Campus, Switzerland Shigeru Ban Architectural Design
The newly completed Swatch and Omega Campus, consisting of three buildings, is a monumental timber-frame architectural project. The three buildings are the Swatch headquarters, which is used for the Swatch leapfrog offices; the Omega factory, which is used for the production of Omega watches; and the exhibition museum called “City of Time”. The three buildings are highly consistent in terms of design language, material palette and ambience, in order to express the unity presented by the Swatch & Omega brands while adapting the structural forms to express the individual character of each building.
Brattørkaia Energy Building Snøhetta
The Brattørkaia Energy Building is located in Trondheim, Norway. The location is at 63 degrees north latitude, so the amount of sunlight varies greatly throughout the year. This creates a unique opportunity to explore the production and storage of solar energy. The architects designed the waterfront façade to be extremely thin and light in order to maintain the same scale as the surrounding built environment. The Trondheim Fjord on one side will also reflect the black aluminum and solar panels that cover the building’s façade. In general, the energy building generates more than twice its daily consumption of electricity. As a result, the building will power itself while providing renewable energy to the surrounding community, electric transit, new energy vehicles and ships through the local microgrid.
California Academy of Sciences RPBW + Stantec Architecture
The California Academy of Sciences was founded in 1853 in San Francisco. It is one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States and one of the few natural science institutes to combine scientific research with public experience in one location. The 37,000 m² complex is a “natural” building created by cutting off a corner of the park and raising it 10 meters from the ground. The “eco-roof” is filled with 1,700,000 carefully selected native plants, all planted in specially designed containers of biodegradable coconut fiber. The roof is flush around the perimeter and the closer to the center, the more undulating the topography becomes, with small and large domes rising from the roof deck to bring itself closer to the natural landscape. The two main domes cover the planetarium and the rainforest exhibit. The pattern of the dome’s self-opening and closing ventilation skylights forms its own mottled pattern.
Tree Pittsburgh Headquarters GBBN
Tree Pittsburgh is dedicated to the planting of urban forests. It wanted to set up a sustainable headquarters where employees and volunteers could conveniently engage with the 100,000 trees they are involved in cultivating and planting each year. The prefabricated modules were delivered to the site. They are held in place by foundation piles that compress the soil rather than replace the existing soil. Strategically placed windows and doors capture views and bring in light. A long linear porch serves as an outdoor space for employees to relax and for guests to gather. Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof facing south will provide electricity to help the organization achieve its goal of net zero energy consumption. A 3,000-gallon thermostatic water tank provides drinking water for the campus; sensors alert staff when supplies run low.
Paris Racecourse Longchamp Dominique Perrault Architecte
The Paris Longchamp is a world-renowned high-octane race track and a learning target for similar environmental facilities in the climate plan developed by the City of Paris. Its measures include the creation of a more natural site to encourage future planting. This is thanks to an innovative design that also integrates passive and active systems to encourage the use of renewable energies and the energy independence of the building; a more flexible site that allows Longchamp to welcome more people in conditions adapted to different races.
Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Urban Planning Blue Sky Group
The Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning (MOCAPE) is part of the master plan China for the Futian Cultural District, Shenzhen’s new urban center. The project combines two separate but structurally unified institutions: the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Planning Exhibition Hall (PE) as a cultural meeting point and venue for architectural exhibitions. It is highly integrated, including a lobby, multi-functional exhibition hall, auditorium, meeting rooms and service areas. The building’s technical equipment is designed to reduce the overall demand for external energy: pollution-free systems and facilities use renewable energy through solar and geothermal energy (using a groundwater cooling system), achieving a building with a highly energy-efficient energy system. The museum’s roof filters daylight for the exhibition rooms, reducing the building’s need for artificial lighting.
Aquarium Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés, Lausanne, Switzerland
The aquarium is part of the technology park Biopôle, which also includes a hotel and parking for 1,200 cars. The energy system and the physical design of the building are aimed at maximizing energy efficiency and achieving better sustainability. The thermal properties of the building’s “outer skin” have been further upgraded. At the same time, the building’s remote heating system will use heat from the incineration of household waste, generating only a small amount of greenhouse gases, through the connection to the city of Lausanne’s urban industrial services. The overall cooling of the buildings will come from high-performance cooling equipment, using environmentally friendly coolants and optimized heat recovery systems. The centralized management of the two buildings optimizes the synergy between the two types of users and increases energy efficiency while ensuring the reliability of equipment operation.
Danish Building Center Headquarters BLOX OMA Ellen van Loon
BLOX is the headquarters of the Danish Architecture Center (DAC) and includes exhibition spaces, offices, co-working spaces, a café, a bookstore, a fitness center, a restaurant, 22 apartments and an underground automated public parking garage. Comfort of use and longevity flexibility are important elements of BLOX’s longevity. The building is isolated from road noise and vibration, has the same highway bridge construction technology and highly insulated facades. The office facades are fully glazed to ensure good visibility while reducing the use of energy for lighting. Minimal low-energy lighting fixtures and user task lights are used, and lighting and façade shading are controlled by central daylighting and can also be controlled by the user. The building also has a high-specification heat recovery unit that utilizes a Copenhagen area heating and cooling system based on seawater cooling and the use of waste heat to generate electricity.
Daoíz y Velarde Cultural Center Rafael De La-Hoz
As part of the former military barracks Daoiz y Verlarde complex, the building is a representation of what remains as an industrial and troop site in Madrid. The existing brick masonry exterior has been preserved intact, together with the metal roof, through which a concrete building was created, with HVAC turned on by high voltage electricity. The beams and metal steel frame in the existing space, as well as the rest of the building interior, work together to ensure the integrity of the building. The continuous energy of the geothermal heat can be used to regulate the building temperature, and the land-to-air heat exchanger will pre-treat the original circulating air system. The ultimate consumption of building energy costs will be much lower than conventional air conditioning systems due to the use of geothermal heating and air conditioning systems.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory SmithGroupJJR
The $135 million Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, is a model of sustainable design and energy efficiency performance. It has earned a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. In response to the stringent low energy rate, the team employed a range of advanced technologies and best practices to balance the building’s energy and performance goals: (i) windows and doors that promote natural cooling and ventilation; (ii) solar fans that help absorb heat from the office environment; (iii) vertical and horizontal exterior shading devices that control daylight into the building and reduce solar heat absorption; (iv) extensive diffused skylight glazing with 15-foot-long skylights that combine to bring daylight deep into the building interior; ⑤ Electric lights are turned off in the offices and labs from 1000 AM to 200 PM daily; and ⑥ Waste heat from the data center is captured and reused to heat the facility in the winter and is exported to the rest of the campus.
Fojansa Headquarters Office Estudio Beldarrain
Fojansa is a company with 15 years of experience in the installation of plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, with a commitment to contribute to sustainable development. The façade is made of thick skins made of black polyethylene pipes intertwined as if forming a wicker basket, giving the new office a new object resembling the abstract character of the objects of the old Middle Temple. The pipe skins form a dense lattice that protects the glass surface from the summer sun. The skins act like unique collectors and energy exchangers that combine with the photovoltaic panels on the roof deck of the nave to minimize the building’s energy consumption.
Solar Energy Research Center Chu Hall SmithGroup
As a member of Berkeley Lab, Chu Hall successfully met the 30 percent energy savings requirement set by the U.S. Department of Energy based on ASHRAE 90.1. Adequate windows and skylights allow daylight in and minimize lighting consumption. LED lighting Light sensors and daylight sensors are used. The light is dimmed when sufficient daylight is available. Energy-efficient sanitary equipment, efficient landscaping and an efficient drip irrigation system and drought-resistant plant selection reduce water consumption by 30%. The building is also equipped with solar hot water panels.
Cradle of Commerce Alchena Amaa
The Alchena Cradle of Commerce is a living and spiritual building that represents the growth of a company in a rapidly changing environment. The interior spaces are open-plan and wrapped in a translucent polycarbonate double skin. This design allows the dynamics and changes inside to be observed even from the outside of the building, and allows the building’s appearance to change throughout the day. The building is very efficient in its use of energy and natural resources. It is capable of storing rainwater and pre-adapting to the renewable energy system of the Canadian Water Well. The southern cantilever creates a shaded area, which serves as the main entrance sign welcoming visitors.
San Bernabé Community Center, Mexico Pich-Aguilera Arquitectos
This is a street-level building designed for the community center of San Bernabé that attempts and communicates civic values related to the urban architecture of the neighborhood. The building attempts to incorporate local natural resources (both climatic and material), resulting in a comfortable experience that allows for air conditioning that only needs to be open during extreme heat periods throughout the year. The project includes an installation for energy reproduction, which is integrated into the building through a “solar beam” system and also forms a shade structure for the plaza.
Sustainable Landscape Center The Design Alliance Architects
This is one of the greenest buildings in the world and the first building project to comply with all three of the highest green building and landscape standards, including the Living Building ChallengeSM, LEED® Platinum and the Sustainable Land Initiative” (SITES™) certification. The facility is designed to achieve net zero energy consumption. It utilizes solar panels, geothermal wells and wind turbines to produce all of its own renewable energy on site, and utilizes passive cooling, heating and lighting methods. It will also treat and reuse all blackwater and stormwater captured on site, thereby significantly reducing the impact on municipal wastewater treatment and energy-intensive drinking water systems.CSL was designed and built with local talent and American-made materials, and, from recycled structural steel and salvaged wood siding to locally sourced plant, the Sustainable Landscape Center is a model of commitment to sustainability and smart building technology.
Garzón Wine Cellar Factory Bórmida & Yanzón
Garzón Wine Cellars is located 60 kilometers outside of Punta del Este, Uruguay. LEED standards were applied to the choice of materials, production techniques, the use of renewable energy, especially wind energy, and the disposal of industrial waste products. The use of green roofs not only reduces the impact of solar radiation on the interior and saves energy, but its symbolic design of national flowers and other environmentally friendly objects integrates interesting balconies with the surrounding landscape.
Fresneda & Zamora Arquitectura, Port of Motril Operations Headquarters
All these constructive decisions for the building are closely related to the goal of zero energy consumption. The geothermal system takes advantage of the groundwater available in the subsoil, thus ensuring an efficient air conditioning system and DHW production using geothermal heat pumps. Panels covering the roof of the parking garage are used for photovoltaic solar energy collection. In addition, the building uses an inertial system designed with the “hypogeal building” concept in mind, in which the energy exchange between the building’s internal environment and the subsoil is facilitated, while being isolated from the external environment. A double skin construction system is designed both vertically and horizontally, capable of storing air conditioning energy and using the thermal inertia of the material to create a circuit for its gradual transfer to the internal environment.
Hut-to-Hut” project in India Rintala Eggertsson Architects
The project called “Hut-to-Hut” is a shack developed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects in Norway in collaboration with students from the Trondheim University of Technology in Norway. The whole house is as eco-friendly as possible and made of locally produced materials, including stone for the kitchen worktops and bathrooms. This simplifies the manufacturing process and the long-term maintenance process in the future. The project is completely self-sustaining. Solar panels are installed on the roof of the shacks, which can provide enough electricity for the residents. Compostable toilets also provide sufficient biogas for the households. A rainwater collector allows water to be collected and used for bathing.
Dutch Oaks Project Equipe Voor Architectuur En Urbanisme
This is a grassroots project fully integrated into the rural context of the southern Netherlands. It is equipped with integrated photovoltaic panels and a green roof. The green roof goes beyond its amenity role and is a testing ground for the emerging technology of water filtration, which in the early 20th century civilized Tilburg again with its textile industry, recycling and filtering workers’ urine for use as bleach. Today, the project follows this tradition with the invention of the world’s first artificially inclined wetland. The urine is separated from the black water and used as a nutrient in the fertilizer of the client’s landscaping process. The gray water then flows through the green grass roof, leaving clean water that can be used again in the building.