Some of the most ingenious, cutting-edge architecture in recent years has been created to combat problems of the modern world. Much like the 2014 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel*—the first clean diesel passenger car from a domestic automaker, demonstrating the best highway fuel economy of any gasoline only or diesel car in America**—these technologically advanced buildings go easy on our world by being as efficient as possible.
The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington
Officially opened on Earth Day earlier this year, the self-proclaimed “greenest” office building in the world may very well be just that. Home to 50,000 square feet of office space, the center is powered by solar energy and exclusively uses rain water gathered in a giant cistern located on the roof. The center is so committed to avoiding waste that it doesn’t even waste its waste—its toilets are compostable. The most daring choice the center’s architect’s made, though, was to offer only limited parking in order to encourage its tenants to carpool.
Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China
While the rapid industrialization of China has led to many environmental problems there, this 71-story skyscraper was designed to have as little effect on the environment as possible. One way the tower accomplishes this noble goal is by drawing wind into four large openings on its side, then directing the wind through a series of turbines that power the building. If that doesn’t blow you away, maybe the tower’s many other energy conservation techniques will, such as solar power, the maximization of natural light, and radiant heating. All told, this amazing tower consumes nearly 60% less energy than other buildings its size.
Bosco Verticale in Milan, Italy
Known as the world’s first vertical forest, this pair of residential towers’ terraces are filled with more than 900 trees. This means that when an observer on the street looks up at the towers he or she will see nothing but trees stretching 390 feet into the sky. The purpose of the trees, besides beautifying the towers’ surroundings, is to reduce smog and pollution, produce oxygen and control the towers’ temperatures throughout the year, which greatly reduces energy usage.
Lucky Drops Homes in Tokyo, Japan
In Japan’s heavily populated urban areas there is very little undeveloped land, so creative architects like Yasuhiro Yamashita have designed micro-sized homes that comfortably fit onto plots the size of a single parking space. Built upward in a series of levels, these tiny homes are focused on efficiency and function. In addition to giving more people the ability to afford a home of their own, Lucky Drop homes are also good for the environment, as their occupants use less utilities and create less waste.
Rotating Dynamic Tower in London, England
This tower is not yet built, but the proposed 80-floor skyscraper (formerly planned to be built in Dubai), promises to be a marvel of efficiency. What makes this architectural design so impressive? The floors will rotate—slow enough that the tower’s occupants won’t be able to notice but fast enough to rotate turbines that will power the entire building.
In the future it will be buildings like these—along with cars like the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel* that help to reduce emissions without sacrificing power—that will enable our increasingly modern world to live in harmony with the environment.
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Heather Spohr blogs at the award-wining The Spohrs Are Multiplying.
*Clean diesels generate at least 90% less Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions when compared to previous generation diesels.
**Based on Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel EPA-estimated 46 MPG highway. See fueleconomy.gov for details.