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Saturday, July 27, 2013

As energy alternatives continue to evolve and work their way into mainstream usage, buildings utilizing advanced applications of green technologies have arisen around the globe. The most ambitious of these buildings include marvels such as the "Sun Dial" of Dezhou, China, and the "Zero Energy" certified projects of the Living Building Challenge. These radical green projects give the people of today a glimpse of what the buildings of tomorrow will look like.

DPR Construction's Phoenix Regional Office—Phoenix, Arizona, United States

While minuscule compared to other notable "green" buildings at 17,000 square feet, DPR's office does hold the record as the largest building certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) through the Living Building Challenge program. DPR Construction redeveloped an existing building for their project, intentionally selecting an older building in a climate hostile to such efforts to prove the viability of such endeavors following a similar project in San Diego.
The Living Building Challenge requires a building to become a true net-zero energy building, producing as much or more energy than it consumes. A much larger office built to LBC specifications, the Oregon Sustainability Center, spent several years in planning in Portland, Oregon, but the project ultimately lost its funding—still, the planned design showed that the standards of the ILFI institute could be maintained in larger projects.

Taipei 101—Xinyi District, Taipei, Taiwan

At 508 meters tall, the 193,000 square meter Taipei 101 held the record for world's tallest building for six years, losing the distinction to Dubai's Burj Khalifa in 2010. The next year, however, Taipei 101 earned a second claim to fame when it achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, making it the tallest and largest green building in the world according to the highest standard of the most recognized green rating system in the world.
The building's owner, Taipei Financial Center Corporation, began renovations to achieve LEED certification in 2009 under the guidance of an international team drawing from multiple high-profile engineering and architectural firms. The massive overhaul is expected to save $1.2 million in energy every year—an incredible savings given the mere $2.08 million required for the project.

"Sun Dial"--Dezhou, Shandong Province, China

China holds a strange place as an infamous polluter and hotbed of sustainability innovation. At 75,000 square meters (807,293 square feet), the Sun Dial has held the position of "Largest Solar Powered Office Building in the World" since its completion in 2009. Designed to serve as a congress center for the 4th World Solar Cities Conference in 2010, the Sun Dial features over 50,000 square feet of solar paneling across the fan-shaped exterior. These panels provide power to exhibition centers, meeting facilities, training facilities, scientific research facilities, and a hotel. The Sun Dial serves to showcase several sustainability-related technologies, including solar design concepts to optimize energy use and solar desalination systems to produce potable water from saline water.

Other notable moves towards efficiency include utilization of advanced wall and roof insulation and extreme efficiency in the usage of materials—the Sun Dial's exterior uses 1% of the amount of steel used by the Beijing Bird's Nest. Altogether, the building's green practices save 30% more than the national standard and allow it to provide 95% of its own power.

Author Bio:
This article was written by Nicole, a blogger who has spent many years researching and writing the solar energy field, including everything from how to install your own solar panels to the best options for commercial solar in perth, Australia.

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