The Shanghai Tower
The Shanghai Tower rises 632 metres above Shanghai’s financial district and claims to be the world’s greenest skyscraper. Awarded the top platinum rating by US green building certification body LEED, the tower – whose 121 storeys house offices, retail and hotel space – has 200 wind turbines which generate about 10% of its electricity. It collects and reuses rainwater, is wrapped in two layers of glass for natural cooling and ventilation and has nine plant-filled “sky lobbies”.
Photograph: Connie Zhou/Gensler
Medibank Place, Melbourne
Medibank Place is home to Australia’s largest health insurers and was designed with the aim of being one of the world’s healthiest buildings. Its flooring, paints and furniture are low in air polluting compounds. There is an emphasis on activity-based working, with sit-to-stand work stations and a mix of collaborative and private work spaces encouraging workers to move around. The aim is to reduce the risks of sedentary behaviour such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Photograph: Earl Carter/Hassell Architects
One Angel Square, Manchester
The headquarters of the Co-operative Group, One Angel Square houses more than 3,000 staff. The 15-storey building, rated outstanding by UK certification body BREEAM, has a double-skinned facade and an open atrium designed to create natural heating, lighting and cooling. It has a plant oil fed heat and power system using plants grown on the Co-op’s own farms.
Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
Staff at Manchester-based BrightHR can make use of office space hoppers, scooters, games consoles and a ping pong table. There are football nets and a 60-foot lawn in the middle of the office, which also boasts a double bed for staff power naps. The idea behind all the activities is the promotion of employee wellbeing and a rejection of the “always on” office culture.
Photograph: Jonathan Pow
The Sun-Moon Mansion, Dezhou, China
In the shape of a sundial, the Sun-Moon Mansion is the headquarters of Himin Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of solar thermal water heaters. The 750,000m2 building is one of the largest solar-powered offices in the world, with 50,000 square feet of solar panelling.
Photograph: Alex Hofford/EPA
Autodesk’s Spear Tower, San Francisco
The 3D design software company’s 71,000 square foot office in downtown San Francisco is LEED platinum rated. It has an undulating ceiling made from reclaimed wood, a living wall and treadmill desks in an effort to keep staff active.
Photograph: Michael Townsend/Gensler
The Bullitt Centre, Seattle
Designed to be the greenest commercial building in the world, last year the six-storey Bullitt Centre produced 154% as much electricity from its rooftop solar collectors as it consumed. It has foam flushing toilets that use less than one cup of water per flush, compared with the 4.8 litres used in low-flush toilets.
Photograph: Nic Lehoux
The Edge, Amsterdam
Designed by PLP Architecture and billed as the most sustainable office building in the world, Deloitte’s HQ in Amsterdam harvests rainwater to flush toilets and water its gardens, and allows workers to regulate temperature and light via a smartphone app. The Edge has 800 solar panels, 6,800 LED lights, and heating and cooling is done by an aquifer thermal energy storage system.
Photograph: Ronald Tilleman/PLP architecture