7 Global Landmarks Whose Commitment To Energy Efficiency Extends Well Past Earth Hour
Saturday is Earth Hour, when thousands of buildings and landmarks around the globe turn off their lights for one hour, staring at 8:30 p.m. local time, to raise awareness of energy efficiency and the fight against climate change.
The fight against climate change will go on well after the lights are turned back on. Following are seven global landmarks that walk the walk on energy efficiency.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
The world's tallest building's commitment to energy efficiency extends beyond shutting off the lights on Saturday. Developer Emaar Properties uses solar power for the bulk of its water-heating requirements for Burj Khalifa's tenants. Nearly 37,000 gallons of water are heated daily, and solar power brings energy savings of 690 megawatt hours annually.
Empire State Building
Still New York City's most iconic skyscraper, the Empire State Building launched a comprehensive retrofitting in 2009 that has to date saved ownership $7.5M in energy costs.
Beijing National Stadium
The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing had a green theme and the "Bird's Nest" was designed to meet LEED Gold standards. Architects designed the stadium's retractable roof to be translucent, allowing natural light to pass through. The stadium's temperature is controlled via advanced geothermal technology, by gathering hot and cold air from beneath the stadium's soil.
Space Needle, Seattle
Ownership announced a $100M renovation plan last year with a goal toward achieving LEED Silver certification. The renovations will be completed in September.
The Shard, London
The 95-story London skyscraper's commitment to sustainability starts with power generation. The building is equipped with a natural gas-fueled heat and power plant that produces 1.131 megawatts of electricity and 1.199 MW of hot water. This also lowers the Shard's overall carbon emissions footprint.
Willis Tower, Chicago
Chicago's tallest building recently attained the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star certification as part of its $500M renovation plan, making it the largest office building ever to receive the designation.
Taipei 101, Taiwan
Taipei 101 achieved LEED Platinum certification in 2011. Building automation and energy efficiency were optimized to reduce electricity usage at the 1,441-foot-tall building by 10% and a 30% reduction in energy usage.