Top Ten Net-Zero Buildings

10.) Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

One of the first net-zero projects in the world, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio was completed in January of 2000. At nearly 14,000 square feet, it remains one of the largest net-zero projects in the country, and derives much of its power from photovoltaic panels.

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies.jpg

9.) Beddington Zero Energy Development

Also known as BedZED, this environmentally-friendly housing development in Hackbridge, London has 777 square meters of solar paneling and uses a downdraft gasifier to glean energy from tree waste. The project consists of 99 individual units and nearly 1,500 square feet of work space designed by architect Bill Dunster.


8.) Suzlon One Earth Corporation

The world’s fifth largest wind turbine supplier, Suzlon’s One Earth headquarters in India employs roof gardens and passive cooling, along with 154 kilowatts of wind and solar generated power to keep the sprawling 10 acre facility at net neutral energy consumption. The project was designed by architect Christopher Charles Benninger.


7.) Omega Center for Sustainable Living

More than 200 solar panels provide electricity for this BNIM Architects-designed model for the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. Built to participate in the Living Building Challenge, the facility uses wastewater recycling and eco-friendly architecture for its 6,200 square feet of classrooms, labs, constructed wetlands, and more.


6.) Darla Moore School of Business

To be the world’s largest net-zero project upon its completion in 2013, the facility will consist of a trading room, a 500-seat lecture hall, and classrooms equipped with advanced telepresence technology. With a variety of green elements and efficient design, the building will qualify for LEED Platinum Certification.

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5.) Pusat Tenaga Malaysia’s Zero Energy Office

The first completely self-sustainable building in Southeast Asia, PTM’s five-acre ZEO has integrated photovoltaic systems that were installed in 2007. Green design features ensure the energy produced is used efficiently, and the project hopes to be a model for other sustainable designs in the region.

PTM's ZEO.jpg

4.) NYCTech

The proposed 150,000 square foot academic center for Cornell’s upcoming technology campus in New York City will be one of the world’s largest and most advanced net-zero projects, aiming to be an incubator for green startups and eco-conscious research. The site will boast geothermal heating systems and a 1.8 megawatt solar array.


3.) World Wildlife Fund Dutch Headquarters

Designed by Thomas Rau, the WWF’s complex in Zeist, Netherlands was completed in 2006 as a testament to ‘avante-gard environmentalism.’ The center has a mud ceiling laced with capillary water cooling system, triple glazed windows, photovoltaic panels, recycled finishes, and built-in bird and bat sanctuaries.

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2.) Pearl River Tower

One of the most environmentally-friendly skyscrapers in the world, the Pearl River Tower is an enormous step towards sustainability for the Chinese building industry. At 71 stories, it is the largest radiant-cooled office building in the world, and is also one of the most energy-efficient despite its nearly 213,000 square foot sprawl.


1.) The Research Support Facility

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado is home to one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. Built in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy, the 360,000 square foot facility is LEED Platinum certified and a showcase for efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Among the facility’s green features is advanced daylighting, electrochromic windows, labyrinth thermal storage, and under-floor ventilation. Outside air is passively preheated via a transpired solar collector on the buildings south-facing wall, while most of the building is made from recycled, locally-sourced materials. Large-scale solar paneling provides all the site’s power needs,

At just over $91 million, the project achieved a remarkable $254/square-foot cost, and will provide working space for over 1,300 employees – all of whom will be helping innovate the next generation of energy-efficient buildings.

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