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Famous Landmarks Make Green Building a Priority

March 31, 2015 | 0 comments

Commercial buildings of all sizes are making big strides in energy efficiency and environmental impact reduction. We found five well-known landmarks that have recently implemented some remarkable green building strategies to reduce energy and water use. Check out what these famous buildings around the world are doing to improve building performance.

Empire State Building
A $550 million energy-efficiency initiative implemented by the Empire State Building ultimately earned LEED Gold certification, but that wasn’t the landmark’s ultimate goal. The team started with more traditional solutions, such as building controls and chiller retrofits, but also tried some unusual green building tactics. Metal insulated reflective barriers were placed behind radiators to keep heat from escaping through the exterior of the building. The project team also decided to use the building’s existing windows, but make them more efficient by pumping them full of gas and re-installing them.

Soldier Field
Even though this famous landmark was the first NFL stadium to achieve LEED certification, Soldier Field is also the oldest NFL stadium in the country. It uses all green cleaning products throughout the facility, and reuses all cleaning containers and bottles through container refill stations. Recycling is also a big deal at Soldier Field: the facility recycles all aluminum, cardboard, delivery pallets, office paper, glass, plastic bottles, batteries, light bulbs, lost cellphones and eyeglasses, and toner cartridges.

Eiffel Tower
To reduce solar heat gain, shrink energy usage, and lessen cooling loads on the Eiffel Tower’s HVAC system, window glazing was installed in this famous tower to provide protection against the sun’s rays. LED retrofits on the first floor also help keep the tower’s utility bills in check. To make the most of renewable energy, solar panels and two vertical wind-powered turbines have been installed to further reduce utility reliance. A new rainwater recycling system harvests rainwater to provide toilet water for Eiffel Tower pavilion areas.

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House uses seawater from Circular Quay in its air-conditioning system. Saving 15 million liters of drinking water each year, the famous building’s pumps, chillers, and motors have all been upgraded to allow the seawater to cool the air-conditioning system as efficiently as possible. The facility has also achieved a 54% reduction in energy usage thanks to switching over to LEDs and CFLs.

Merchandise Mart
When it opened in 1930, this 4.2 million-square-foot building was the largest in the world (it even had its own zip code until 2008). The Merchandise Mart earned a LEED Gold rating in 2013, due in part to drought-tolerant plants that reduce water consumption, an integrated pest-management plan that reduces harmful toxins, and more efficient plumbing fixtures.

What green landmarks are missing from this list? Have you noticed any of the green building initiatives in action in these famous buildings?

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