CATEGORY: Sustainability

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7 Examples of Green Architecture Around the World

Green architecture is a planning, design, and construction approach for buildings that aims to protect both the health of the planet and its occupants. To do so, it utilizes sustainable materials, reduces water and energy usage, creates healthy interiors, and integrates the natural environment. This eco-friendly architectural method is also commonly referred to as green design or green buildingUnlike many other design philosophies, green architecture ensures that People and the Planet don’t get pushed to the backburner for Profit—all three work in tandem.

Green architecture is a big win for the environment and human health while also benefiting clients’ wallets with its unique selling point (USP) and long-term operational savings.

Understanding the Environmental Benefits of Green Architecture

The demand for sustainable buildings continues to increase as concern about climate change grows and new sustainability goals are set. For example, for the U.S. to reach its net-zero goal by 2050, investments in energy efficient buildings worldwide between 2026 and 2030 would need to total over half a trillion U.S. dollars. 


Green architecture and its environmental benefits are the key to reaching lofty sustainability goals like this. Especially considering that the benefits of green building apply not only to the initial build but also to the fully operational structure.

  • Energy Efficiency: Proper insulation to reduce the need for heating and air conditioning. Renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind, or geothermal. 
  • Reduced Water Usage: Rainwater harvesting, cooling systems using water runoff and local sources, reuse of wastewater, etc.
  • Sustainable Materials: Locally sourced building materials and reclaimed or recycled materials. This also includes materials that capture carbon.
  • Smart Technology: Using collaborative technology, such as the Autodesk AEC Collection, for remote work to reduce carbon emissions produced during construction. These programs’ AI and machine learning can also reduce energy usage and material water to further reduce a project’s carbon footprint. 
  • Healthy User Environment: Design and materials that do not harm to an occupant’s health—and ideally benefit it. This may include using low VOC materials for better air quality, integrating plants and other biophilic design elements, rooftop gardens or other green spaces, etc. 
  • Preservation of Current Environment: Sustainable developments consider the surrounding natural and built environment. Often, they build around/integrate natural elements, such as rock cuts and trees, instead of removing them. This may also include repurposing an old building (adaptive reuse architecture). 
  • Less & More Effective Maintenance: Quality materials mean it will take longer for wear and tear to happen. Therefore, less maintenance/new material usage. In addition, emerging architecture technologies, such as digital twins, can predict material and labor cycles to reduce waste.


Green Architecture Around the World

1. Pixel Building

Year: 2010  l  Location: Melbourne, Australia  l  Architect & Photo Source: Studio 505

The carbon-neutral Google Pixel building in Australia is a leader in sustainable architecture. The façade of the building is well-known for its vibrant and flowing geometric form. However, this design isn’t just for aesthetics—it artfully integrates solar panels, a green roof, fixed shading louvers, and double-glazed window walls. Additionally, this office features one of the most sophisticated water treatment and utilization systems ever built, providing a self-sustained water supply. Thanks to these amenities, the Pixel secured the highest BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) ratings.


 2. Southwest Library

Year: 2021  l  Location: Washington, DC, USA  l  Architect & Photo Source: Perkins & Will

The Southwest Library is a sleek community space heavily inspired by mid-century modern design with its simplicity, organic forms, and wood finishes. It features floor-to-ceiling windows so patrons can enjoy the view of the surrounding greenery and ample sunlight. Solar panels affixed to the angular roof allow this build to perform 52% better in energy consumption than a code-dictated building of the same size and usage. This combined with its regionally sourced materials and water conservation efforts earned this library an LEED platinum certification.


3. The Edge

Year: 2015  l  Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands  l  Architect & Photo Source: PLP Architecture

The Edge is not only considered one of the smartest buildings in the world—boasting 28 thousand sensors—but it is also the greenest, receiving a sustainability score of 98.38% percent from BREEAM. This building works with its occupants to save time and resources, knowing everything from what they take in their coffee to their preferred lighting and heating. The sensors ensure the highly efficient LED panels only power on when an area is in use.

The lighting’s low power requirements paired with the large checkerboard of solar panels on the exterior south wall and the roof help this unique office space use less power than it generates. The sensors also enable the cleaning robots and crew to focus their energy on areas with heavier use, saving cleaning resources and staffing. Additional sustainable systems in this building include a rainwater system to power toilets and water gardens and a water-powered heating and cooling system. 


4. Bahrain World Trade Center

Source: Charles-Adrien Fournier

Year: 2008  l  Location: Manama, Bahrain  l  Architect: Atkins

The futuristic design of the Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) uses the power of its landscape—the Arabian Gulf—to minimize its environmental impact. The unique sail shape of this 240m building isn’t just aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the sides act as aerofoils that accelerate and funnel the sea breeze toward the three prominent wind turbines. As a result, the turbines generate approximately 15% of the building’s electricity. Furthermore, the cooling system that works off seawater contributes to the low carbon emissions of the building. This system works in tandem with the reflective pools at the base of the building that help lower temperature through local evaporation cooling.


5. Museum of Tomorrow

Year: 2015  l  Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  l  Architect & Photo Source: Santiago Calatrava 

Rio’s Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã) embodies green architecture inside and out. While its adjustable solar panel fins and cooling reflective pools integrate flawlessly into the outward neo-futuristic design, under the surface you will find a highly efficient air conditioning system. This system utilizes local resources, running on cold water pumped from the nearby Guanabara Bay. 


6. The Green Building 

Year: 2009  l  Location: Louisville, KY, USA  l  Architect & Photo Source: (fer) studio

Sitting in the heart of NuLu, Louisville’s art district, The Green Building is a prime example of adaptive reuse architecture. The 115-year-old former dry goods store had long outlived its original purpose. It was redesigned as a multipurpose center with a dance bar, event spaces, an indoor-outdoor courtyard, an art gallery, and office spaces.

While the masonry shell still holds its vintage charm, the interior is now a modern haven flooded with natural light thanks to the expansive windows. Many renewable energy systems were implemented to further reduce energy costs, such as solar panels, denim insulation, and geothermal wells. The Green Building was the first commercial building in Louisville, KY to achieve an LEED platinum certification. It is 73% self-sustainable in terms of energy production.


7. Shanghai Tower

Source: Wenhao Ryan

Year: 2014  l  Location: Shanghai, China  l  Architects: Marshall Strabala & Jun Xia (Gensler)

Shanghai Tower is the highest skyscraper in China and the second highest in the world, standing 632 meters tall. This premier tourist attraction’s spiraling cylindrical shape is encased in two layers of glass—an insulation method similar to a Thermos. Additionally, this sustainable design includes solar panels, a water recycling system, and wind turbines for further energy savings.


Check out Energy5’s content to learn more about sustainability.

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The Modern Drainage Design Toolkit

If you are a design engineer or plan reviewer who works on stormwater conveyance systems, then you understand the difficulty and inefficiency that come from working with separate or outdated tools. Securing approvals for any land development is dependent on meeting regulatory requirements. These requirements are easy to miss as rules evolve and multiple stakeholders become involved.

If your design process is slow, error-prone, and not conducive to quick review and approval, the reality is your firm is likely losing projects.

The good news is that design and simulation software is evolving to the point where having a modern technology stack will help you design more quickly, and more accurately, and secure approval in an expedited manner.

Bringing Together Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Simulation

For many firms – especially smaller ones – working between multiple data sources, design tools, calculators, and spreadsheets is a slower, and error-prone process. When working on a tight timeline, these issues can erode the competitive edge you have when bidding on projects. One big way to reduce these inefficiencies is to work in an integrated platform that is intuitive and easy to use.

By importing data from multiple sources – such as CAD, GIS, and Aerials – and having hydrology, hydraulics, inlet capacity, and spread all in a single environment, you can get a working model up and running with your required results easy to access. This helps streamline the design process instead of doing the work in separate places.

By running everything in a single platform with CAD, GIS, and aerial photos for context, you can easily understand if the facilities you are designing will appropriately convey flow for the range of required storm events.

Exporting CAD and LandXML files from the software is key to preventing any errors that might occur during the transfer of data from a software package to a set of design plans. By exporting these files, much of the line work and labeling is complete and can provide the basis of what is needed for a grading plan.

Reworking designs is costly, so more work that can be done to ensure a successful design during the design process will only help by providing an accurate design the first time around.

Design, Simulate and Compare – All in One Place

Changes to the site plan happen which makes it important to be able to quickly update a drainage plan, deploy alternative scenarios, and see the level of impact it will have on the site development plan.

When starting off a drainage plan, the first thing you want to know is where the water is already flowing. By easily visualizing a deluge, you can quickly get an idea of where water will naturally flow on a site to efficiently lay out your system. Along with simple calculators for accurate and efficient BMP sizing, you can be sure you’ll limit the amount of grading that’s needed on-site.

In a perfect world, all models would be accurate the first time around, however, that is usually not the case. To avoid the frustration of unexpected “surprises” and mistakes at the end of a model build it is useful to use a solution that allows for Validation. That way, you can quickly identify the areas in which you might have made a mistake and evaluate suggestions on how to fix it.


Easy Visualization Simplifies Non-Technical Review

The goal of any model is to ultimately get work reviewed, approved, and put into a project. The more that your designs are ‘true-to-site’ the better off you will be throughout this entire process.

When the time comes to present a proposed development to improve an existing site, it is especially critical that:

  1. The design meets all regulations and requirements,
  2. It clearly demonstrates the improved recommendations, for the applicable storm events, and
  3. It is easily understood by non-technical stakeholders

Being able to minimize the error by exporting the linework, labels, and other plan information – as well as having built-in validation – ensures that the design will meet regulatory requirements. This only increases the chances that a design is accepted and project-ready. If you’re using a modern drainage design technology toolkit, then you could be going from a blank slate to a set of design plans in just 30 minutes!


Want to know more about InfoDrainage?

Please contact us at for more information.


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Virtual Design and Construction Software

What is VDC technology?

Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is a type of technology that creates digital models of buildings and project sites. Architects, engineers, and contractors use VDC models to visualize and plan building designs, processes, schedules, budgets, and more. VDC technology allows companies to analyze construction plans from start to finish before breaking ground.

What is the difference between VDC and BIM?

VDC and building information modeling (BIM) technology are related, but differ in purpose. BIM technology creates a digital representation of a physical building. VDC technology uses 3D BIM models and other information to digitally plan out all aspects of a construction project—from estimating costs to scheduling and risk management.


Using the AEC Collection for VDC

The Autodesk AEC Collection is an integrated set of BIM tools that enable you to quickly and efficiently create building design, civil infrastructure and construction simulations. The collection supports all phases of the building lifecycle with design technologies that cover conceptual design through construction.

VDC Workflow for Construction

The risk of human error is inherent in construction workflows. VDC technology allows you to build a project virtually then track construction progress, optimize processes, minimize waste, and validate installations. The workflow becomes more efficient, quality improves, and risk is reduced.

Benefits of virtual design and construction

Save money, increase collaboration and improve quality and safety on your construction projects.


When applied properly, VDC technology helps save time and money, from delivering more accurate preconstruction cost analysis to optimized detailing for more accurate bids and estimates.


VDC technology allows multiple multi-disciplinary parties to collaborate in a virtual environment, providing everyone the most current design information and enhancing off-site coordination.


Preconstruction visualization helps allocate proper funding to important construction aspects. Modeling through each phase of construction eliminates field errors and further improves quality outcomes.


VDC technology allows stakeholders to identify and assess safety concerns before building begins to reduce hazards that lead to incidents onsite and minimize social and environmental impact.

Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Collection

The AEC Collection allows VDC teams to plan, design, construct, and manage buildings virtually using integrated CAD and BIM tools. Mitigate risks early by optimizing designs for constructability. Reliably measure quantities to estimate construction costs. Coordinate models to reduce costly field coordination issues, and so much more.

Virtual design and construction resources

BIM/VDC coordinators describe their career paths, common duties and responsibilities, and their recommended best practices on the job.

Get an executive overview of the features and benefits of VDC and BIM technology and how they apply to construction projects.

Get a VDC manager’s approach to drone deployment on large-scale projects. Learn about trends and regulations in UAV use, how to outsource deployment, and prepare, deliver, and analyze drone outputs and more.
Learn how a construction firm integrated BIM 360 Document Management technology into the VDC process for improved information management.
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