Magoosh GRE

How Skyscrapers affect the environment

| December 15, 2012


This document examines how the design and construction of Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings effects the environment that these large buildings are situated in, and the environment as a whole, and considers how architects can help meet the energy consumption guidelines that have been set as a benchmark to all Architects to help reduce the consumption of energy produced by fossils fuels, and reduce the waste of other non renewable resources, with improved environmental considerations in this building typology.

In the world today, you cannot go through a single day without reading or hearing about climate change, be it on the news, in the papers or merely in general everyday conversation, and with the climate of our planet becoming an ever more pressing issue, the British government passed a bill called the Climate Change Act 2008, which set a target in 2050 for carbon emissions, which is that the U.K’s carbon emissions should be 80% of the level of what it was in 1990, (Climate Change Act,2008). Buildings alone account for at least 40 percent of primary energy consumed in the U.K (B.R.E, 1978), and it is perceived by many, that building greener will have one of the largest effects on lowering carbon emissions.

From the beginning it should be pointed out that Skyscrapers are one the most un-ecological building classifications, a vast amount of energy is used in the construction of Skyscrapers, and an even greater amount of energy is consumed so in the ordinary running of a typical Skyscraper.

A skyscraper is generally hard to define, in the Oxford Dictionary it is merely defined as ‘a tall building with many storeys’ but in Architectural terms, It is a building perhaps inspired by the height it reaches, and a building that pulls together all of mankind’s technological breakthrough to reach these knew unknown heights in the construction industry. Skyscrapers could never have came into existence without the creation of the modern electric lift, the steel beam, flush toilets and large pieces of glazing to name but just a few constructional innovations this building typology relies on.

Sustainability is a pressing issue in today’s society, with the amount of attainable fossil fuels and other raw materials starting to become increasingly lower, society as a whole must find alternative solutions, and this can ultimately begin with architects.

Sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of today, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Bonenberger,2002) and is defined by the dictionary as being ‘Capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment’.

Architects design the world that we live in, and can therefore help shape the way we live, and help incorporate sustainable systems of living into all parts of everyday life, at home or the workplace for example, if Architects can design with sustainable living in mind, the concept can make a positive impact in our world.

Large plants, such as cranes, diggers and dumper trucks are all used continuously in the construction of such buildings, producing a large amount of carbon emissions, whilst the materials used in the construction are also transported to the site, sometimes coming from other parts of the world, meaning that even before the completion of the Skyscraper, the building could already have a large carbon footprint. The heating and cooling, basic services and the use of lights in Skyscrapers are what form the main energy consumption in the everyday running of a Skyscraper, and as it requires an immense amount of energy to pump these services and materials to the higher floors of the buildings because of gravity.

Most Skyscrapers built in the 20th century were not designed with thermal performance in mind with often no form of natural ventilation being found in their designs, meaning the buildings are continuously heated in the winter, and then in the summer continuously cooled by having air conditioning systems constantly running to make sure that the building is bearable to all who work there.

Architects have already begun designing Skyscrapers with sustainable blueprints; Wind turbines, solar panels, combined heat and power systems and rainwater reuse are just a few of the ideas that have already been incorporated into the construction of Skyscrapers, and more advance steps are constantly being. To make any real impact on the environment all of the elements attributed to the construction and running of a Skyscraper have to be studied and analysed and eventually changed if we are to create Skyscrapers that are ecologically conscious, if not totally eco-friendly.

Technology however isn’t the whole answer, as Architects we must not be of this persuassion; we should not be tricked into thinking that technology can solve our approach to Ecological design. Ecodesign must consist of a balance, an equilibrium between technology and nature, and for a Skyscraper this will mean creating buildings, to give just one example, as well as being orientated to maximise solar gain are also designed in such a way that the constructions orientation also maximises natural ventilation.

Ecodesign means that environmental aspects should be considered at all stages of the design, consumption of materials used in a building, emissions of pollution from the building and waste production of the construction and the building are three key areas that will ultimately have to be tackled.

Saving and preserving the environment is the main issue that today’s society faces, and although no one group of people can help the cause on their own, I believe no one else can play more of a significant role than architects.

As Architects we also have to begin to understand that changing the way we design and construct buildings (to be more eco-friendly) can not reduce the carbon footprint and the impact on our environment alone, the only way we can truly deliver greener, and cleaner buildings for the environment would be to also change our lifestyles within the building.

1. Background

1.1  Aims

To ascertain whether we can continue to build a high-rise building as we do today and achieve what would be considered an environmentally friendly result or whether changes have to be made and if so, and if possible, where.

1.2  Objectives

1. To examine current construction methods, design and running of modern Skyscrapers to understand what impacts on the environment they make.

2.  To discover how renewable energy/ energy saving measure are already currently incorporated into Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.

3. To determine what changes need to be made to build and create Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that are more environmentally conscious and ultimately environmentally friendly.

1.3 Methodology

1. To achieve my first and third objectives I intend to research the relevant topics by reading books, journals, government publications and reliable websites, including those of current projects.

2. To achieve my second objective I intend to visit some appropriate case studies in London – The Strata Building for a case study of a new skyscraper that has taken some measures to make itself environmentally conscious – and One Canada Square for an example of a modern skyscraper that doesn’t have any environmental design, to see wherein its problems lie. The case studies will be undertaken by the visit to the site itself and further correspondence via letter, email or telephone will also be conducted.

1.4  Key Definitions

Definition of ‘Sustainable’

In this context of this document ‘sustainable’ is used in the sense of: – ‘capable of being sustained’ meaning that there is little or no long term effect on the environment. (, 20111)

Definition of ‘renewable energy’

Renewable energy is ‘Any naturally occurring theoretically inexhaustible source of energy, as biomass, solar, wind, tidal, wave and hydro-electric power, that is not derived from fossil or nuclear fuel.’ (, 200112)

Definition of ‘Eco-design’

In reference to a building ‘Eco Design’ is a building, which has been designed with the environment in mind, and has undertaken significant measures to reduce its impact on the environment with specific attention paid to areas such as consumption of materials during construction, and the emission that the buildings produce.

Definition of ‘bioclimatic’

Bioclimatic refers to the consideration of the relationship between the climate and living organisms. (, 20113)

2.  The Problems With The Construction & Design Of Today’s Common ‘Box’ Skyscraper.

Since the early Twentieth Century Skyscrapers have been built, since the mid twentieth century they have been built in different corners of the planet, but they no matter where, they more often then not have been built without any real concern or thought given to the environment that it is situated in, or the environment as a whole itself. At the time there was no need to think ecologically in design or construction of the skyscraper, the client simply wanted a design that would give them the most profit, maximum floor space to rent out, whilst the architects most important aim was perhaps creating an impressive feat of art with the design of the building, to make it eye catching to all around, a symbol of their work, something they could easily be recognised for.

Now the world as a whole has the future of life, as we know it today, constantly at the forefront of their lives, a change has to be made as we begin to run close to the limits of our natural resources. Skyscrapers require mass amounts of materials and energy to build to such heights; therefore the impacts on the environment need to be a pressing issue from the outset when in the concept stage of design, before the construction process even begins.

Due to forces that effect Skyscrapers, there could ultimately never be one set design for Architects to follow on constructing a eco-friendly building, forces like dead loads (the weight of the fixed structure of the building) and live loads (the loads placed on the structure by its environment, people and furniture inside) could never be accounted for in the design stage to similar levels because of the varying environment in which every skyscraper is situated, no one environment will ever be the same and for the that reason, there can never truly be one set design for every skyscrapers, there can only be principles of design to follow. The impact of the force of the wind has more of an effect on the building than any of the dead or live loads, often to points where orientation of certain facades are changed. As well as with standing winds the building has to be constructed in a way that it is ready for unpredictable forces of nature like Earthquakes because if there is even a small problem in the design of the building the results could be catastrophic.

Whilst it seems obvious from the outset that no one ‘set’ guideline for the design of the Skyscraper could be set, guidelines on components/technology, and strategies of design for the building could provide a positive impact into the design of each Skyscraper.

Raw materials play a key role in the construction of skyscraper as reinforced concrete in one of the main components of the buildings design. In more modern time it is more natural to see concrete and steel used together as it combines the two materials strengths to maximise the structural support it offers, whilst often taking less floor space to place, as the steel reinforcement sits in-situ in the concrete beam. Concrete is naturally very strong under compressive forces, whilst steel (an alloy of iron and carbon) is also inherently strong under the same forces (Hall, 2008).

Although steel is readily available, it takes a vast amount of energy to produce, and can often be an expensive business with the price of iron ore, a main component of steel, rapidly rising, it could easily become too expensive to use on such large scales in the future. Recently carbon fibre has often been incorporated into projects (for example aeroplanes) that would usually require steel and the attributes it brings – high strength, stiffness and lightweight – because it is a much cheaper alternate, it may not be long until the industry see’s carbon fibre taking more of a role in the construction of skyscrapers. Not only is the production of these materials highly energy consuming, they also require a large amount of toxic chemicals too make them attractive, fireproof and waterproof.

Large skyscrapers that are constructed with a mainly glass façade are in particular extremely high energy wasters, with heat loss (or gain) up to ten times greater through a typical half inch plate of glass compared to that of a typical masonry construction filled with insulation. (Popfun, 2009)

It is not only the materials and construction of Skyscrapers that have a lasting impact on the environment; the actual everyday running of the modern box skyscraper also has quite an impact. The typical 20th century box skyscraper was often designed with poor thermal performance and with out the use of natural air ventilation systems the buildings are commonly too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer for people in the buildings to feel comfortable within so heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units are regularly installed in the constructions. These HVAC systems require a vast amount of energy to run, as theses services have to be pumped up and around the building through services ducts against the force of gravity, meaning the higher the skyscraper, the more energy it takes to operate these systems.

In the 1970’s it was believed that replacing the large all glass facades of the skyscraper with smaller, sealed windows would reduce energy consumption caused by heating the structures because it would stop the loss of heat and air conditioning to the outdoor world, this however resulted in poorly ventilated buildings which resulted in a higher demand on the air conditioning units to run the services at the correct level to provide a comfortable internal environment. (Gissen, 2003)

However the effects and impacts of the air conditioning units often installed in skyscrapers are well documented and sometimes they can make the internal conditions worse instead of improving them. Sick building syndrome is usually accredited to air conditioning units (as well as other heating and ventilation systems), the lack of oxygen, and high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are generally believed to be the main cause. (Habmigren, 2003) If a building does develop sick building syndrome than occupants will often fall ill, with varying symptoms ranging from irritation of the eyes, nose, throat to general health problems and skin irritation.

Another problem caused by the design of skyscrapers, all though less of an environmental issue at first glance, can have knock on effects on the environment. “Towers are always fighting against their own weight. As more parts of the building are devoted to holding it up, they encroach on the space for working or living in. Developers and leasing agents refer to the ratio between these two elements as a building’s “net-to-gross”. In a really efficient skyscraper, nearly 70% of the building’s volume is useable, with the rest taken up by lift-shafts, stairwells and pillars. In a well designed low-rise building, by contrast, more than 80% of the space can be sold or let.” (Economist, 2006) With these companies moving out of the city to office complexes for financial issues, it is leaving an increasing amount of unused office space in these skyscrapers, whilst more new skyscrapers are being built. 40% of the world’s tallest buildings have been built since the year 2000 (Economist, 2006) but many skyscrapers have been left with empty office space, simply because of the cost of running the building or because of an outdated look.

Many of the problems too the environment caused by the Skyscraper typology are caused by designing to maximise the economic benefits of the building, increasing rent per square meter of floor space, instead of being designed with the environment in mind.

3.  Theories of Change

3.1 Design Principles

When some Architect decide that in their project they are going to be ‘Building green’ they often become reliant on solely using technology such as solar panels and wind harvesting machines to reduce their buildings impact on the environment, but the future of building green, and building constructions that really make an impact on reduce effects on the environment instead of just being sustainable, will rely upon designers and manufactures finding greener and more rapidly renewable products to use during the construction process, and for the actual construction itself.

Building environmentally friendly buildings should in practice bring together different principles to reduce the impact on the buildings surrounding natural environment, taking full advantage of renewable energy sources, the key design practices to follow are; using passive design theories for layouts of buildings to maximise solar gain and natural ventilation, design and material use efficiency, designing with low-energy consumption in mind, water management systems and waster reduction.

It can be hard to define a green or environmentally friendly product, what makes it green, is it one feature, or many? Is it made from recycled materials, or is it made from rapidly renewable sourced materials for example bamboo. ‘It is important also to note that multiple criteria often apply—in other words, a product may be considered green for more than one reason.’ (Alex Wilson, 2000).

An environmentally friendly product is a product that has minimal effect on the environment that it is harnessed from, and the environment it is to be placed upon. It is a material that comes from a naturally replenished source, and is a material that hasn’t had any harmful toxins applied to it.

The main philosophy behind the green building concept is to practice more environmentally friendly construction methods. In theory building green should be more than just beneficial to the environment, it could also be a practice of value to the economic and society itself.

If you were to speak to different Architects and asked them what methods of design they believed would help reduce the carbon footprint of Skyscrapers, and there general overall effect on the environment, most would jump straight to a form of eco-friendly technology for example, a way of providing energy for the building on site, but the first thought of the Architect should be a form of eco-friendly design, a design method, instead of simply designing to incorporate a product of sustainable design, for instance, solar panels.

As stated previously, not only the construction of the skyscraper has to change, but also the day to day running of the buildings must change to reduce the overall effect on the environment by the construction.

Perhaps the most influential Architect in this field of architectural design, Ken Yeang, states in his book Eco Skyscrapers, about what he believes to be the five most fundamental methods of design that produce the same level of internal comfort that inhabitants of skyscrapers are accustomed to, but from low energy design. The five methods of designs he believes can lead us to a more ecological design for the skyscraper typology are; Passive Mode, Mixed Mode, Full Mode, Productive mode and Composite mode (a method compromising of design aspects from all of the preceding methods). Yeang states that ‘Designing for low energy means looking first at Passive Mode strategies, then mixed mode to full mode, Productive mode and to composite mode, while adopting progressive strategies to improve comfort conditions relative to external conditions while minimising demand on non renewable sources of energy’. (Ken Yeang, 2007 1).

Passive mode design (sometimes referred to as bioclimatic design) is designing with local conditions in mind to optimise the harvesting of surrounding natural energy sources, for example wind power. Mixed mode design is the design principal in which architect will incorporate some form of electrical equipment into the building design, which will enhance the conditions within the building, which obviously lead us to full mode, which is the complete integration of electrical equipment in the building, for management of the conditions for the complete year. (B.R.E, 2011)

Productive mode however, means that the building itself is the foundation of the buildings energy system; the building has for example, wind turbines, or photo-voltaic’s included within the design of the building, to provided the required electricity for the construction on site. Productive mode architecture however requires advanced technology to run the systems, requiring energy and resources to produce the materials used for the solar panels or wind turbines, although in the long run you have less impact on the environment, there is still a considerable ecological impact at the start of the process. (Ken Yeang, 2007 2)

Lastly, Composite Mode is a production of combining all fore-mention processes; it is a balance between the natural design methods of comfort control used in a passive design and the integration of electro-mechanical systems. The proportion of the combined system in use will change throughout the year because of the ever-changing climate.

Although in terms of a modern day skyscrapers a design method of the full mode approach commonplace, this wasn’t always the case. The skyscrapers that helped coin the term, up to about the end of The Second World War were designed with an astonishing series of passive mode principles, on skyscrapers in Manhattan workers were able to make use of sky gardens incorporated in their buildings, whilst all working space was within 27 feet of windows which could be opened, allowing the works to be in control of their conditions at work (David Gissen, 2003 2) but with the creation of long span steel beams and air conditioning units, the focus of architects turned to how they could provide their clients with more rentable floor space, and less attention was aimed at creating comfortable work conditions naturally and with energy consumption in commercial buildings and single family houses accountable for almost 40% of all the energy used in today’s society (David Lloyd Jones, 1998) methods of passive design offer a direct link back to more energy efficient design in skyscrapers.

3.2 Orientating a Skyscraper to maximise natural conditions.

In design we can use Orientation of skyscrapers to maximise more than just solar gain, if orientated correctly, the building could make use of natural ventilation to control indoor comfort levels, and technology for solar energy, or solar water heating systems could be incorporated into the skyscrapers designs to help increase the buildings sustainability.

Although skyscrapers often rise out and above the buildings surrounding them, lending them solely to the sun, it is still important for the orientation of a Skyscraper to still be considered. The Façades with the most glass should be facing towards the direction of the sun as often as possible, so the facades with the most glazing on should be facing North and South, to help maximise solar gain (EcoWho, 2011). A building can be orientated up to about 20° and still harness the same amount of solar gain, whilst opening the build up to the possibility of being ventilated naturally by the wind. Natural ventilation is seen as desirable for the following reasons;

  • Increased comfort in hot-humid periods
  • For health reason to provide sufficient oxygen
  • For better environmental awareness, reducing reliance on mechanical means of ventilation. (Ken Yeang, 1996 1).

In recent design proposals Ken Yeang – the leader in the Eco Skyscraper field – has proposed adjustable openings/ sieves atop of his constructions, suggesting that the walls of a skyscraper should be seen and designed as adjustable instead of just totally sealed. He suggests in his book ‘The Skyscraper Bio-climatically Considered’ that the walls ‘should act like a filter that has variable parts to control cross ventilation’ (Ken Yeang, 1996 2). If the building could be orientated to take advantage of the prevailing wind direction as well as to maximise solar gain, then the entire comfort level of the building could be directly reliant on controlling the variable parts of the buildings outer-skin, reduce the use of mechanical heating and ventilation systems drastically, ultimately cutting down on the long-term effect on the environment. It is believed that a correctly orientated, passive solar, building will reduce it’s energy consumption by up to 40 percent, combine this with correct level of insulation within the skyscraper and the savings on energy consumption could be even higher.

3.3 Designing To Minimise The Urban Heat Island Effect

Skyscrapers are the product of city living, building up to save landmass, whilst producing more homes to house the cities ever growing population. Temperatures are often hotter in a City than they are in rural areas too, this is because of a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. (Mcgrath, 2008) “The term “heat island” describes built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C). Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.” (E.P.A, 2011). If designers can reduce the heat island effect, then we can also reduce the demands on air conditioning units in the summer, and there are three main ways that Architects or even town planners can design to help reduce the heat island effect.

Planting trees and vegetation, and designing green roofs for new buildings can help reduce the need for heating and cooling systems use. A green roof can reduce the temperatures of a roof surface, and the air surrounding it by up to 50°c. (Liu, K.; Baskaran, B. 2003) A green roof reduces the need for conditioned buildings because it forms insulation for the roof. As well as reducing the heat of the surrounding area to help lower the urban heat island effect, green roofs can offer more to Skyscrapers and the community as a whole, providing habitats for many species whilst, if designed correctly, adding aesthetic value to a project, whilst also being a natural solution to the problems caused by green house gases.

 3.4 Vertical Landscaping

Vertical landscaping is not only seen to be key to helping reduce the skyscrapers environmental impact, but it is also seen as being key to improving the aesthetics of the typology and comfort levels within the interior.

The issue with designing Skyscrapers that are vertically landscaped is that they are a construction formed from floors being stacked upon each other, ever increasing their distance from ground level (where the earths vegetation is located) (Ken Yeang, 1996 3). Part of the effect a skyscraper has on its environment is to the sites ecology. It is not often that a skyscraper isn’t located next to another skyscraper or high-rise building, and it just as infrequent that a skyscraper is located next to some area of vegetation, so if a skyscraper is built, the sites surrounding ecology that it is built upon is often totally destroyed.

Normally landscaping is carried out on horizontal planes, on the outside of the building, in gardens or on roof gardens. The skyscraper requires a solution of planting vertically. It is possible to create a good ecology from planting vegetation in no more than 600mm of soil, meaning the loads imposed on the building will not be so excessive that they can not be accommodated for.

The incorporation of Vertical landscaping for low to medium rise buildings is already well developed – the use of roof planting, green roofs and planter boxes is a common site, but on the scale of a skyscraper site is dramatically less frequent. The benefits of vertical landscaping a skyscraper are considered to be (amongst others);

  • The improvement of the ecology of the area by counteracting the mass of the skyscraper, therefore contributing to the sites ecological approach.
  • Enhances the aesthetics of the construction as a foliaged structure.
  • The foliage helps minimise heat reflection and glare off/into the building
  • The vegetation forms a sound barrier, serve as windbreakers and reduce pollution on site by absorbing carbon dioxide and monoxide. (Ken Yeang, 1996 4)

Looking at these theories of change through this chapter; The design principles – with passive mode designing, orientating a Skyscraper to maximise natural interior climatic conditions, minimising the urban heat island effect and Vertical Landscaping, it is clear to see that a substantial improve can be made to the environmental impact that a skyscraper has on it’s immediate environment, and the environment on a whole without the use of any mechanical systems.

4.  Technology

This section takes a look at the most appropriate methods of sustainable energy solutions for a Skyscraper to incorporate into its design. As a result of the small footprint of the skyscraper typology, it is hard to incorporate many methods of sustainable design that are available, however there are more than enough options still available to the modern Skyscraper to make a significant contribution to the energy requirements of these superstructures. The main forms of sustainable energy open to the majority of Skyscraper are; Ground Source Heat Pump systems, Solar Panels (PV Cells), Solar Water Heating systems, Biomass and Wind Turbines.

4.1 Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) are regularly used in modern home as a source of sustainable/renewable energy. A ground source heat pump system uses a system of pipes buried under the ground (using the earth as a heat source in the winter, or a heat sink in the summer) to heat a building (Energy Saving Trust, 2011). The system works by pumping a mixture of water and anti-freeze through the pipes, which absorbs the heat in the earth, and then is pumped into a heat exchanger in the heat pump. GSHP systems have a variety of different set ups, meaning that you could integrate the scheme into the design of a skyscraper in a variety of ways.

GSHP systems have the ability to be laid in various different ways; Vertically down in the ground, horizontally laid in the ground or in an open loop system (also referred to as a groundwater heat pump system) (GreenSpec,2010).

The horizontal form of GSHP systems is the option usually incorporated when used for a housing scheme. The horizontal loops for a house can have a surface area of up to 200m for just a single dwelling, so a system for a skyscraper would require a surface area that would be far greater than this, laid in trenches that would require more square meters than the site the skyscraper would be built on, make this system incredibly hard to incorporate, and an expensive form of sustainable energy.

If the skyscraper being design in question is located next to a source of water, for example a pond/lake then a system that could possibly be used is a ‘slinky loop’ system. The loop is placed in a frame and sunk to the bottom of a pond/lake. The problem with using a system like this is that it would require the sinking of a large loop at the bottom of the pond and it is vary rare because of ground conditions that a skyscraper will be located next to a water source that is large enough to provide suitable conditions for the system to be able to be implemented.

A vertical system is a closed loop of pipes running down into the ground up to about 100m deep depending on the ground characteristics of the site. A vertical system would be easier to incorporate into the design of a skyscraper because of the limited space a skyscraper lay upon. The Vertical system is laid using a series of boreholes roughly five meters apart. This way the system can be laid at the same time as the superstructures pile foundations, whilst the loops could even run down the same bore holes of the pile foundations. Out of the three methods of GSHP systems studied here this is the most efficient system that could be incorporated into a modern skyscraper design.

The carbon savings of a GSHP system however are only minimal if a form of renewable electricity doesn’t drive the system, so if the system is ran from in this manner than the high installation costs could not be truly justified (GreenSpec, 2010).

4.2 Solar Panels

Solar panels are now everyday use for renewable energy sources, ranging from entire facades of skyscrapers, to small installations put up by small homeowners themselves.

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using solar cells (Which are similar to large conductors), this process is known as the photovoltaic effect (Solar Panel Info, 2005).

In Manchester, England, in 2007 the CIS Tower was retrofitted with entire facades of solar panels erected on part of the building and although there are over 7000 Solar panels now on the building, the solar panels (and 24 small wind turbines located atop the building) only produce up to 10% of the buildings entire energy consumption. (Hank Green, 2007) This will be the common problem faced by most skyscrapers when introducing large areas of Solar panels in their designs; the panels simply do not produce enough energy to be a viable option on their own, even if you clad entire facades. Solar panels are obviously reliant on the amount of sunlight direct at the panels through out the day, so if you were to clad a façade, the orientation needs to be considered to ensure that the façade chosen is the façade that will receive the most direct sunlight however advances in the technology used to run solar panels mean that even on cloudy days the panels can now be energy efficient, and still produce a large amount of energy, whilst solar panel are increasingly becoming a cheaper form of providing constructions with sustainable energy resources.

A skyscraper proposed in Dubai – The Burj Al Taqa ‘The Energy Tower’ – will produce one hundred percent of it’s own energy through the use of solar panels and wind a 60 meter wind turbine (becoming the first 100% renewable energy powered skyscraper if completed). However, the building will be clad in 15,000sq meters of solar panels, whilst another 17,000sq meters of solar panels will power the building from off site – most skyscrapers do not have the ability or near by free land to locate such an installation (Ali Kriscenski, 2007).

Solar panels, although as mentioned before, are constantly lowering in price, whilst their life spans are always increasing with better research and technology. At the moment solar panel have a life span of up to twenty-five years (Solar Panel Info, 2008); meaning any facades will be subject of major restoration works every twenty-five years to replace every panel, whilst in the mean time the Solar Panel will require constant maintenance because require cleaning regularly for them to work at an efficient rate.

If combined with other methods of sustainable energy production then the use of solar power can contribute to helping skyscrapers reach a much more renewable based system of energy production, and if perhaps a collection of skyscrapers can have a small solar farm located near by, they may be able produce a surplus of energy that they could feed back to the national grid.

4.3 Biomass

Biomass is a form of energy produced from the burning of living/recently living organisms (most often then not derived from plants). Although the burning of the plant matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere still, it is not adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because plants are being replanted at the rate they are being consumed, therefore biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is growing and returns it as it is burned. Biomass is different to fossil fuels because of this shorter time scale in rejuvenation of matter (Biomass Energy Centre, 2008).

Biomass works three various different ways – with a thermal conversion, chemical conversion or biochemical conversion processing system, with the most typical being the thermal conversion system powering a combine heat and powering system.

The main problem with a biomass system producing the power for a skyscraper is again with the space required. A biomass system requires the site to have a Biomass storage facility located on or close to the site so that materials could easily be moved to the site of the conversion chamber with minimal ecological impact, whilst a site producing the biomass material needs to be within a short distance so that again there is minimal impact on the environment on the transportation of the material from the site it is grown, to the site of the skyscraper.

It is possible if the energy centre is located close enough to the skyscraper, a biomass powered combine heat and power system could help produce a significant percentage of the buildings power on site.

4.4 Wind turbines

Wind turbines offer the most apparent form of renewable energy to the skyscraper typology, the skyscraper sores above other buildings with in a city; the only thing comparable is another skyscraper.

A wind turbine works on the basic principle of using kinetic energy to turn a turbine to create mechanical energy (Energy Saving Trust, 2008). There have been several cases in recent times of buildings incorporating wind turbines into their structural design, and even more cases of older skyscrapers placing smaller wind turbines atop of their structures to create a small input of renewable power for their constructions.

In the case of a skyscraper the production of wind turbines incorporated into any building design are always going to be limited. If the turbines are built into the structure then the orientation has to be changed so that the turbines are facing into the prevailing wind for the year so they get the most use out of them that they possible can. The problem with having the turbines fixed in one direction is that they will only get the full front of wind for half the year, as the wind changes it prevailing direction in summer and winter, because of this reason, the Darrieus style wind turbine offers perhaps the most consistent form of energy production. The Darrieus wind turbine is a built based on a vertical axis, usually with two or three blades (Reuk, 2007). It is though, the vertical axis that makes the crucial difference when trying to incorporate the turbine into the skyscraper design.

Most skyscrapers already have antennas placed on top of their structures, some times merely for decoration, sometimes for radio, these antennas have the potential to form the basis of a renewable energy strategy for the building.  To incorporate a wind turbine for the building would not change the design of the building vastly, the main change would be that the top floor would house the machinery for the turbine. With a Darrieus turbine located at the top of the building, the turbine will be able to run throughout the whole year, not just one season, which will vastly increase the amount of energy production from the scheme, practically doubling the output of the turbines simply by being able to run through out the entire year.

With the advancing designs of wind turbines, more and more are being incorporated into skyscrapers. The Darrieus wind turbine provides the central focal point for the Burj Al Taqa in Dubai, whilst the Bahrain has three large wind turbines spanned between it’s two towers

4.5 Summary

The design of the Burj Al Taqa in Dubai shows that skyscrapers can be designed to be one hundred percent energy efficient, it is merely a case of studying the best possible solution for your structure, and for the climate the skyscraper will be located in. It may take solutions that aren’t necessarily directly on site for some skyscrapers, but if each building could create a solar farm near by in a designated area (perhaps a park within the city, maybe even making it something for the public too, like a public realm solution), a community of skyscrapers could benefit from the scheme instead of just one.

As stated before in the Theories of Change chapter, technology will not solve the entire environmental problem caused by skyscrapers, design principles to have to change. Technology can however, make the biggest, lone impact.

If the design of the skyscraper is done in a manner that we can incorporate some of the technologies talked about here (amongst others), the carbon footprint of the skyscraper typology will dramatically decrease and then once both the design principles are also altered for the way Architects generally design skyscrapers, the building will not only be sustainable from technology, it will also be ecological aware in its design.

5. Strata SE1 – A Case study of Change.

This chapter takes a look at a case study of environmentally minded skyscraper design within London, England. Robbie Turner of Bogle Flanagan Lawrence Silver Ltd Architects has provided all the information in this chapter regarding the Strata SE1 design process and the design itself. (All documents provided comprise in appendices section of this document form the basis and references of this chapter).

In November 2005, planning permission was submitted in the London borough of Southwark by Architects BFLS (Bogle Flanagan Lawrence Silver Ltd.) for a 148 meter, 43-storey Skyscraper located at Elephant and Castle, the building, Strata SE1, would become England’s leading eco-skyscraper at the time of completion.

Five years later the buildings construction was completed, making the skyscraper the tallest residential building in England, but upon It’s completion it also became the first building in the world to have integrated wind turbines within it’s structure, previously some skyscrapers have incorporated wind turbines atop of their structure, or as with the Bahrain World Trade Centre building, between the towers of the skyscrapers.

The building houses three, five bladed, nine meter diameter wind turbines (Strata SE1 Wind turbines – The Facts, 2010) which each have a rating of 19kW, which if they ran continuously could provide up to 8% of the constructions entire total energy consumption, the equivalent of meeting the energy depends for 30 two bedroom apartments (according to 2006 Building Regulations). Strata SE1 also exceeds current UK regulations relating to sustainability by 13%, whilst the projects overall carbon emissions are expected to be 15% lower than the Mayor of London’s good practice benchmark.

Whilst the wind turbines are the most obvious sustainable consideration, Strata SE1 also has other environmentally conscious aspects, including:

ü      96% of all waste material generated during construction was recycled

ü      Car park lighting reduced by 50% because it is controlled by motion detection

ü      District heating system

ü      Low energy lighting in all landlord areas and 40% of the lighting in each apartment

ü      Designed to connect to the planned Elephant & Castle Multi Utility service Company – which will provide heat and electricity from Biomass CHP energy centres and grey water to units within Strata SE1

ü      A “bespoke high thermal façade’ forms the cladding of the building, which has an air permeability leakage rate that is 50% better than current regulations.

The wind turbines are the environmental focal point when it comes to Strata SE1, these however are an end product of a large-scale study into what other systems could offer the build and site.

When the planning permission application was submitted, planning in London required consideration of sustainable design – and The GLA (Greater London Authority) Planning document stated that the building would require a renewable energy input of at least 10% of the buildings energy consumption had to be produced on site, which meant all avenues had to be exhausted to find a viable option before the scheme could be given the green light.

Options that were studied and explored during the design stage of Strata SE1 included:

  • Ground Source Heat Pump System (GSHP)
  • Photo Voltaic Cells (PV)
  • Biomass
  • Wind Turbines

The testing of the systems showed that the wind turbines offered the highest potential results in sustainability and effectiveness.

A ground source heat pump system is a heating/cooling system, which uses the Earth itself as a heat source in the winter or a heat sink in the summer. The cover the basic principles again – Copper tube loops are laid at a fairly shallow depth, through which a refrigerant or water is passed through to exchange heat with the ground.

The problem faced with incorporating such a system into the Strata SE1 building was the fact that the site the building is situated on has such a small footprint that they would have not been able to accommodate a system that would have been large enough to make any contribution to the constructions heating system, meaning that the system was an unjustifiable ecological approach.

Photo Voltaic Cells were also a considered option because the building could incorporate solar cells easily into the design, but there were too many problems with accommodating a Solar Panel system, which meant in the long run, they would not be the most viable option.

For a Photo voltaic scheme to produce as much an input as the wind turbines are expected to it would have meant having to clad the entire South façade of the building in the PV Cells because the require such a large surface area. However cladding the entire south façade wasn’t the only effect that using the PV Cells would have caused. At the time of the proposal of the building, the Life span of Photo Voltaic Cells was relatively short for such a scheme, and using this method of renewable energy would have required re-cladding the entire South Façade every fifth-teen years and for that reason the scheme would not be very cost-effective. Once installed the solar panels would have also require regularly cleaning for them to function efficiently – which would have meant increasing the quarterly façade cleaning scheme in place, and ultimately a high service charge for all residents in the building and with all of these issues to take into consideration the Architects decided that PV Cells were not the most suitable renewable energy source for the project.

A biomass system was also investigated, but also came up short for one main reason. To have a biomass system in place at the Strata SE1 site there would have had to be a Biomass storage facility located much closer to the site so that materials could have been moved to the site easily, and with minimal ecological impact, otherwise the system wouldn’t be very eco-friendly due to the use of fuel and pollution cause from the transportation of the materials.

The wind turbines were the chosen option by the Architects after the testing and studies, because they felt it offered the best potential energy input for the building, with minimal upkeep costs and effects on the residents of the building, and they also felt it offered the best chance to create a truly unique piece of architecture which would deliver a ‘highly visible commitment to sustainable design’.

The wind turbines were chosen because the practice believes, looking at all the evidence from their investigations into other sustainable option, that it was the most viable option, it was the option that could produce the best input back into the design, and the option, that ultimately, would make a greater contribution to reduce the buildings effect on the environment and as the building was already orientated to be facing the prevailing summer wind direction; it was just a matter of how they could incorporate them into the design meaning less alterations would have to be incorporated into the buildings design to accommodate the turbines compared to other systems that could of perhaps been used instead.

The Wind turbines housed at the very top of the Strata SE1 construction form part of the façade design – they are not merely just an after thought for the environment. The turbines are installed within three, nine-meter diameter Venturi tubes.

The Venturi are shaped tubes that hone modify the pressure differential across the building, resulting in the acceleration of the winds speed through the tubes, increasing the power that can be produced by the turbines.

The wind turbines however can only operate for just over half the year because of the change in prevailing wind direction in the winter months of the year, therefore the turbines cannot run continuously for the year and because the wind is variable, the power it produces will not always be the full 19kW, so the total energy production of the wind turbines is currently unknown and although they have the capability to produce up to 8% of the buildings energy, they will likely never meet the full 8% they are capable of because of these limitations. (During their first two years of operation Southbank University will monitor the wind turbines to find out just how effective they are and how much energy they actually produce).

It is key to remember however that the project was an experiment. The Architects wanted to see what ways they could incorporate a method of sustainable design into their residential skyscraper project, proving to themselves and other British based Architects that’s the design of sustainable skyscrapers in Britain can be done.

The design of Strata SE1 will meet the targets that were set out at the beginning of the proposal stage by the government, the target being that the structure would be able to meet 10% of its energy consumption with renewable energy that is produced on site itself, but it will take a few years to reach this mark (once the combined heating and power system is in use and the turbines are up and running correctly with their true outputs known). Perhaps the most important statement the Strata SE1 building makes is that it shows other Architects you can still design a beautiful construction whilst incorporating sustainable technologies into the building structure itself.

6. Buildings And Architects Leading A Worldwide Makeover.

This chapter takes a look at four skyscrapers that are helping lead the way in environmentally friendly construction, design and operational practice. Three of the four buildings are completed structures, whilst the building that is not completed is a project by architect Ken Yeang, whom many consider the leading Architect in the field.

It is hard to talk about the Eco-Skyscraper typology without mentioning Ken Yeang; he himself practically coining the term when he published The Skyscraper – Bioclimatically Considered in 1996, and it is with Yeang that this chapter will start.

Yeang is perhaps more famous for his theories than his constructions, but his constructions and designs are instantly recognisable (but that is mainly because of his design principles in the first place). Yeang has proposed a number of Eco-Skyscrapers/Towers with many being built or currently under construction.

6.1 Editt tower, Singapore – Designed By T. R. Hamzah & Yeang International (All information provided from ‘Yeang,K; Hamzah, TR, 2011’)

The EDITT (Ecological Design In The Tropics) Tower is a skyscraper proposed for Singapore that was designed in response to the sites ecology after it was carefully studied at first. The design features well planted facades that respond to the lack of the sites original ecology being left in tact, with the design having just less than 4,000 sq feet of planted areas.

One of Ken Yeangs most talked about theories; vertical landscaping is very present in this proposal, with vegetation spiralling upwards from the first floor whilst the main sky-gardens proposed at different levels respond to each of the different zones of use in the tower. The constructions vegetation, which is “most visually apparent, is the vertical landscaping which spirals around no just externally but through and within the built form” (Ken Yeang, 2007 3)

The EDITT Tower is also design on the mixed-mode principle of design. The design maximises the locations natural climate, with ”wind walls” running parallel to the direction of the prevailing wind to offer natural ventilation and minimise the use of air-conditioning units, whilst the sky courts offer comfort-cooling areas to the public occupying the building.

The building was also designed with the view to re-use the tower complex for different purposes in the future, so the building is less susceptible to being left empty or having to be demolished. The skyscraper proposes what they coin a ‘loose fit’ system, where areas can be changed in the future to accommodate different uses; the sky-gardens could accommodate office space whilst the building has a vast amount of partition walls and some partition floors.

The EDITT Tower is a perfect example of what Ken Yeang tries to promote through his designing and teaching, that even skyscrapers can be designed with ecology and climate at the heart of the design, lessening the impact on the climate, and help rejuvenating the local site’s ecology.

6.2 The Hearst Tower, New York (All information provided from ‘Design Build, 2011’)

The Hearst Tower located in Manhattan, New York, is a LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) (U.S Green Building Council, 2011) Gold Certificate skyscraper, which was designed by Foster and Partners and Gensler has become the benchmark in America of environmentally friendly skyscrapers, being design to be 26% more energy-efficient than a standard office building in new york.

The skyscrapers form features a diagrid (a slight variation of a diagonal grid) design with is a series of triangles, 4 storeys in height, which allows for natural light to flood into the building from outsides, whilst a limited number of partition walls are used internally, to minimise the loss of natural light internally.

The design of the diagrad frame, which helps form the buildings instantly recognisable form, reduces the need for up to an estimated 2,000 tonnes of steel that a traditional skyscraper frame would require, whilst the steel that does form the frame, 90 percent of it is recycled steel.

As well as being built from a significant contribution of recycled materials, the Hearst Tower has many energy saving features. The buildings façade is created from glass that has a ‘low-E’ coating, meaning that whilst vast amount of natural light can flood into the building, solar radiation which causes temperatures to rise in the interior spaces are emitted, lowering the demand on air-conditioning units and other methods interior climate control.

The interior of the building is fitted with technology that helps manage the indoor conditions to save energy. A high efficiency heating and air-conditioning system helps control indoor comfort levels by using outside air for ventilation up to 75 percent of the year at the same the roof can collect up to 14,000 gallons of rain water, which is used to replace water lost because of evaporation in the air conditioning system and which is also used to irrigate the plants and trees inside and out of the building. Finally another piece of technology used throughout the building are light sensors that are used to control the amount of artificial light being used in the building.

6.3 The Bank of America Tower, Manhattan, New York (All information provided from, ‘Durst Org, 2011’ & ‘Jeffery Kluger, 2010’)

Cook and Fox Architects designed the Bank Of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York and is the first skyscraper to be design with achieving the LEED Platinum certificate for environmental design.

The skyscraper façade, as with the Hearst Tower also in New York, is designed with floor to roof insulated glass which helps maximises the natural daylight inside the building, whilst keeping the solar gain within the building to a comfortable level for all the inhabitants, whilst the building also operates a full time dimming programme for it’s lighting system, keeping the artificial lighting at predefined levels as to use the minimum amount of energy possible.

The building itself is built from more than 35 percent recycled materials, whilst 75 percent of the building previously on site materials were recycled upon or prior too demolition. The building is also constructed using concrete that is produced with a larger than usual concentration of slag, meaning that the harm done to environment is lowered because less carbon dioxide is produced from the manufacturing process.

Various different sensors that help control the temperature in an environmentally friendly approach conduct the management of the buildings interior climate. Sensors that measure carbon dioxide levels throughout the building sending fresh air to area in the building which require it the most.

The Bank of America Tower also has a water conservation scheme in place, opting for waterless urinals in the building, which save an estimated 8 million gallons of water a year, whilst reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the same time.

On May 20th 2010, the Bank Of America Tower was finally award the LEED Platinum certificate, making it the first high-rise office-building complex in America to be given the award for environmental performance and sustainability.

6.4 Four Times Square, Manhattan, New York (All information’s provided by ‘NrelGov, 2002’)

Perhaps the most important skyscraper in New York’s’ green makeover is the Four Times Square construction. Designed by Fox and Fowie Architects the buildings systems and construction methods were all evaluated for their environmental sensitivity, their effects on health and for the buildings ability to reduce it’s energy consumption. When the construction was finished it set an example for other American architects to follow, showing that a sustainable/ ecologically conscious skyscraper was possible to build, even in the harsh, pollutant filled Manhattan Island environment.

As with many of the other environmentally friendly skyscrapers mentioned before, Four Times Square makes use of various different sensors to automatically control certain aspects of the building. Sensors control the lighting within the building, automatically sensing what the levels of light whilst as with the Bank of America Tower and the Hearst Tower, low-e glass is used for the curtain walling system to provide excellent day light conditions in the building whilst decreasing heat loss in the winter at the same time as reducing solar heat within the building in the summer.

The construction has a unique air conditioning system, with air entering the building at 80 and 700 feet above ground level (avoiding traffic pollution), using the outdoor air helps to regulate the temperatures within the building whilst lowering the demand on mechanical air-conditioning units, circulating 50 percent more indoor air than the building is required to by local building codes, whilst at the same time the system can fill up to four floors with 100 percent outdoor air, helping to circulate fresh air within the building.

Natural gas powered chillers/heaters are used for the production of hot and cold water in the building (the mechanisms are located on the roof), with different systems available for the varying requirements in use. These gas powered chillers and heaters produce no harmful gasses making the system completely eco-friendly.

The building also uses photovoltaic panels for a method of renewable energy production; these panels are located in the gaps between rows of windows on the top 19 floors of the southern and eastern façade of the skyscrapers.

Despite not having any LEED certificates to date, the building was the first Skyscraper in New York to look at each stage of the design and analyse just how ecologically friendly the building would be and with this strategy in place stringent procedures had to be followed day to day throughout the construction process and even now in the ever day running of the building so that the construction would maintain its high standards for being an environmentally aware construction.


7. Conclusion

This dissertation took a look at whether you can design a skyscraper and been ecologically and environmentally conscious whilst constructing these mammoth structures.

Materials used to construct skyscrapers, will ultimately run out. Steel can only survive as a material whilst iron ore is obtainable, and many other construction materials will also stop being produced because of the lack of deposits that are obtainable of the raw materials used to produce them, whether or not we can produce materials in the future to build these superstructures, the design for them in the mean time need re-evaluating to produce greener results.

The construction methods, may actually never be able to be changed, building high requires the use of plants and cranes that currently there are no alternatives to, perhaps the only change possible for this would be the incorporation of cleaner fuel to reduce the pollution caused from their use.

The problem with the skyscraper in general is that over the last twenty years they have been designed in a manner that leaves a heavy reliance on technology to produce and control the interior climatic conditions, whilst the architect merely designs too often to just produce the most striking visual possible. It is however the with greater focus and application of basic design principles that Architects can begin to make a significant impact on the reduction of carbon emission produced by skyscrapers.

Passive and even mixed mode design has been used for many decades in various different forms and methods, and has been used before in skyscraper design, so the principle is known to be suitable. This would mean that the skyscraper would be designed to emphasise natural means of controlling the climatic conditions within the building to help reduce the demand on mechanical air condition and heating units that require an extremely larger amount of power to run.

Another design theory that will optimise the most of the natural environment that the skyscraper belongs to, is keying in on what correct orientation of the building can offer. Already skyscrapers are being proposed that have moveable skins (responsive curtain walling systems), which automatically change their configuration to optimise circulation of air from the outdoor world.

Designing to reduce the effects on ecology is another aspect of sustainable design that perhaps doesn’t get enough attention. Designing to preserve an ecology or reinstate a sites ecology can help benefit the environment, furthermore planting trees, designing sky gardens or sky courts will reduce the pollution in and around the building, making conditions not only more environmentally friendly, but for the inhabitants more instantly more comfortable and at the same time stimulating. Providing the skyscraper with a areas of vegetation on the exterior of the building will also help reduce the heat island effect, which will ultimately cause temperatures within the city will naturally fall, again reducing the demand on combine heating and ventilation systems. Designing with principles like the ones just mentioned, and the others theories mentioned in the chapter on design principles, will instantly reduce the skyscrapers carbon footprint by a substantial amount whilst improving the environment around the building, without having to rely on the use of many forms of technology.

Technology however, will produce the greatest input into making a building sustainable, ultimately producing designs that could generate so much energy from sustainable sources that it could provide surplus energy to the national grids of company.

Sustainable energy resources as mentioned in the chapter about what technology has to offer, are hard to incorporate typically on small footprints, but what the skyscraper has to offer is a vast amount of square meters in vertical facades, whilst the building also pierces through the city’s skyline, opening it up to the elements, so that the skyscraper is perhaps the most suitable building typology for the wind turbine.

Sustainable energy sources are the solution to making the overall day-to-day running of the skyscraper more environmentally friendly. The skyscraper demands a high level of energy to function properly, lighting, sewage systems, computers, lifts, elevators and conditioning units all require a huge amount of electricity to run on over seventy continuous floors stacked one on top of another, especially water and sewage systems that have to contend with gravity.

At this moment in time, the technology is not available to only have to incorporate only one method of sustainable energy production into a skyscrapers design and meet all of the buildings energy consumption needs, for example skyscraper could be covered from ground level to its top out point of its spire in solar panels and this would still not generate enough energy.

More than one method would have to be used to meet the level of consumption, but it is possible, as shown with the design concept of the Burj-al-Taqa in Dubai, which combines over 20,000 square meters of solar panels (more than half located off site, but within close proximity) and a wind turbine that helps top out the structure.

It can however be easier than most architects would initially believe to incorporate a form of sustainable design, in the chapter technology, wind turbines were mentioned for what they have to offer, and the Darreius Wind Turbine is perhaps the most beautiful solution to the skyscrapers sustainable energy problem. The Darrieus wind turbine is natural in design, flowing and elegant and would not derive from any beautiful form an architect can design for a skyscraper, furthermore it is a turbine that can work continuously throughout the year, unlike the venturi tubed wind turbines found on Strata SE1 in London, which are limited to half the year out of work because of the natural change in prevailing wind direction, where as a Darrieus Wind Turbine runs on a vertical axis, and as most skyscrapers now have pinnacles purely to top out the building, a method of decoration to reach a taller height, they can put the pinnacle to greater use and create a from of energy production for the building.

With organisations now a foot – LEED in America and other such organisations across the world measuring achievements in building green and teaching how to build sustainably, architects and designers have guidelines to follow, examples to follow in the footsteps of architects know that they can build to high enough to levels of sustainability and too eco-friendly standards.

It is however, not enough to build sustainably on it’s own, the ecologically friendly aspect has to incorporate too. Architects and designs are guilty of over paving natural green areas too often, destroying habitats of animals and insects across the planet. Sustainable design will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and ultimately lower green house gasses emission rates, but to truly make an impact on the environment of a whole, both methods of designing for the environment have to be incorporated.

The correct changes to the design of skyscrapers are already a foot, with thousands of designs for greener skyscrapers proposed, hundreds of retro-fitting schemes already being carried out and a several hundreds of environmentally friendly/concious skyscrapers already constructed. It is clear that with a mix of well thought out design principles balanced with an appropriate use of technology and sustainable energy, the skyscraper has a greener place in the future, and because they have such a high energy consumption, they more than any other building typology can help reduce the environmental impact that mankind is having, simply by being designed with greener principles. There can never truly be one set design, nor one set of guidelines for a environmentally friendly skyscraper because they are never located in identical environments, that is simply not possible but this document looked at a small selection of the options available to Architects for them to build more sustainable and eco-friendly skyscrapers, and more importantly it shows that it can be done successfully.

Architects have the technology and design principles to create sustainable and ecologically friendly skyscrapers; all it takes is a well thought-out and planned design.



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