Working green is more important now than ever, and many companies are taking steps to become more eco-friendly in some way, shape, or form. Among these steps is a huge trend toward eco-friendly office space, whether they’re hugely efficient skyscrapers or small offices with smart design. We’re totally blown away by the eco-friendly features available in offices around the world, and we’ve explored 25 of the most amazing ones out there. Read on, and we’ll share some of the most impressively green office spaces in the world.
Still under development, Apple’s new Cupertino campus is on track to become an environmentally friendly architectural gem. Apple plans to transform a former Hewlett-Packard campus, turning a space that’s mostly asphalt into a “lush and green hideaway that influences employee thinking.” Apple is aiming for LEED certification on the campus that will function much like its own city, with an energy plant, a car-free environment, and an overall shunning of carbon emissions. The company will even be building a network of tunnels to link its two campuses, allowing employees to walk between them without cars.
Google has long been the home of inspirational office spaces, offering exciting perks that many non-Googlers can only dream of. But campus operations at the search engine giant go beyond comfort: they’re green, too. Google has made a commitment to build sustainably, using toxin-eliminating health materials, and approaching buildings as living systems that use natural light and clean air. Google boasts the honor of having received the City of Mountain View’s first ever LEED Platinum certification, plus 10 more LEED-certified projects. According to Google, they plan to keep it up: they have “millions more square feet in the works” that are expected to be LEED-certified as well. Even getting to Google is green, with green commuting options including a car-sharing program with electric vehicles, shuttles, and an encouraging program for walking or biking to work.
3. Foundation Nicolas Hulot for Nature and Humankind
This French NGO takes “going green” literally, bringing a wall of plants in to draw attention to its focus on environmental issues and ecological values. Plus, in the construction of this foundation’s office, walls were made from recycled materials, and natural linoleum was used for flooring.
Adobe Systems is no stranger to LEED certification, with three LEED Platinum rated buildings in San Jose, CA. These super green towers were renovated in 2001 to respond to real-time weather conditions and function with major energy efficiency. All three of Adobe’s towers feature eco-friendly bathrooms with waterless urinals, automatic flush valves, and more. Plus, Adobe’s buildings feature an Intelligent Building Interface System (IBIS), making it easy for staff to monitor and control building settings, including temperature and lighting adjustments.
5. University of British Columbia Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, Vancouver, B.C.
One of North America’s most sustainable buildings, the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability is a living laboratory and shining example of just how sustainable a building can be. The building has been designed to regenerate the environment, using renewable sources of energy to power both itself and a nearby building, while also reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Drinking water is created from rain, and the building treats wastewater as well. Most remarkably, the CIRS reduces the university’s overall energy consumption by more than 1 million kilowatt hours each year.
6. Nike Europe Headquarters
Nike’s European headquarters in the Netherlands is an impressive testament to Nike’s commitment to sustainability. The building’s roof collects rainwater, which is then used for lush gardens and toilets, saving more than 4 million liters of water every year. There’s also a revolutionary heating and cooling water reservoir that uses the sun to heat in the winter, and the winter cold to cool the building all summer. But perhaps most impressively, Nike used about 8,000 recycled training shoes to create its tennis and basketball courts.
7. One Westminster Place
This building isn’t just green, it’s beautiful. With its glassy exterior, One Westminster Place turns absolutely hippie as it reflects the sunlight in rainbow colors. But the layered glass is functional, too, collecting energy that helps to save electricity and cost while allowing inhabitants to enjoy the view of the Thames river.
8. BP Refinery Office
Say what you will about oil-spilling BP; the company is making great strides with its Netherlands refinery office. This office seems to be one with the earth below it, as it’s tucked under a man-made dune covered in grass. Using the insulating properties of the earth, BP’s office saves on heating and cooling costs while at the same time protecting against potential refinery explosions. BP also has a passive solar design and daylighting at work to make this building ultra-green in both color and function.
9. Bank of America Tower
Bank of America’s building in New York City is the third tallest building in New York (behind the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center), while also functioning as one of the most efficient and ecologically friendly buildings in the world. It was the first skyscraper of its kind to receive a LEED Platinum rating, and produces net zero carbon dioxide emissions. The building was created using renewable, recycled raw materials from within 500 miles of the city, with floor to ceiling windows that both maximize the sun’s heat and offer natural light. Using its own cogeneration plant, the building creates 70% of its energy needs. Water doesn’t go to waste, with reused rainwater, waterless urinals, and low-flow fixtures. But the most impressive feature of the building is its air filtration system that vents clean air back into the city, functioning as one huge air filter for NYC.
10. The Cactus, Qatar
The Cactus in Qatar is a beautiful example of desert architecture, offering energy efficiency, excellent sun usage, and a biomimicry of the cactus in form and design. Its most notable feature are the sun shades, which open or close to keep out the heat when it’s too hot, similar to how a cactus’ flowers open up at night instead of the daytime. Plus, the Cactus has a botanic garden dome that adds to its beauty and sustainability.
11. Bullitt Center
The Bullitt Center has been designed to function as an energy-neutral and carbon-neutral building, producing as much electricity as it uses. The building even supplies and treats all of its own water, using an underground cistern to capture rainwater. With these features, The Bullitt Center is on track to be certified as a “living building” by the International Living Future Institute.
Located in a former bread factory, this architecture studio features an adaptive reuse that features history and sustainability at once. Using daylighting, rainwater harvesting, natural ventilation, and recycling, HASSELL has created an award-winning building that showcases their sustainable design skills.
In this fun, sustainable space, online giant Twitter celebrates beautiful design with an environmentally-minded twist. Although Twitter didn’t make any changes to the building itself, they quickly went to work on what was possible inside, using no-VOC paints, non-toxic furniture, and decor that’s highly eco-friendly. Highlights of the design include a logo made from reclaimed barnwood and fabricated steel, a long concrete table made of 40% fly ash and 100% recycled aggregates, and desks made from reclaimed barnwood.
IPEVO’s Central park is all about bringing nature inside. The space is nearly entirely made up of dried elements, with dried Taiwanese grass lawns functioning as walls and closet doors, plus “tree table” hybrids made of fragrant camphor trunks and silk foliage.
15. The Bow, Calgary, Canada
Covering nearly two city blocks, The Bow has an impressive footprint, but it’s not the environmental kind. This huge, iconic Canadian building has sky gardens, mountain views, and a system to capture daily sunshine. There’s even a strategic shape and position designed to efficiently deal with summer and winter wind patterns.
16. Banner Bank Building, Boise
This mid-rise building in Boise,Idaho is what some call a high-performance building, with LEED-CS Platinum certification and boasting a usage of 65% less energy and 80% less water. Drawing from its surrounding seven acres, the Banner Bank Building collects storm water to reuse in its sewage system. Plus, the building boasts drought-tolerant vegetation and water conservation systems that keep water use in check. Even getting to the building is green: it’s right near public transportation, and offers amenities to biking commuters including indoor bike storage and individual shower rooms.
People are reusing shipping containers for just about everything these days, and the architects of Daiken-Met are using them to create their very own office. After the firm had trouble finding office space to lease, they built their own out of reused shipping containers. This space is designed to be moved if necessary, and even has an apartment on the top floor.
18. Gas Station
Boasting pretty much the coolest office in the world, or at least Oklahoma, Tulsa architecture firm ElevenTH turned an old PEMCO gas station on Route 66 into their new office. The location had fallen into disrepair, even leaking, before ElevenTH stepped in and made it new again with reclaimed light fixtures and salvaged cedar planks. By reusing a location instead of building from new materials, the firm was able to save materials and energy, and end up with a one-of-a-kind space.
19. Sun and the Moon Altar
If you want to really see the power of the sun in action, take a look at the Sun and the Moon Altar office building in Shangdon Province, China. The Altar is the world’s largest solar-powered building, covering a 75,000-square-meter space with a design modeled after a sun dial. But the environmental friendliness of this building goes beyond solar power, with solar hot water, solar desalination plant, a limited amount of steel use, and an advanced roof and wall insulation system that allows the building to consume 30% less energy. Plus, it’s home to a solar energy theme park.
20. Fusionopolis, Singapore
The Fusionopolis building in Singapore doesn’t just act green, it is green, as it’s practically covered in living plants and trees that function as a “spine of vegetation.” In fact, each floor has its own level of landscaped garden terraces, with plants fed by natural daylight directed to the building by prisms. This vegetation is key to the building’s green design, as the spine insulates the building in the winter and provides passive cooling in the summer.
21. California Department of Education
This impressive California education building was the first ever state-owned office building to receive a LEED Platinum certification for an existing building. It’s easy to see why, as they’ve gone to work to update an already energy efficient building into a green machine, fine tuning energy efficiency systems, increasing water efficiency, and implementing policies that reduce waste and encourage the purchase of environmentally friendly products. The California Department of Education has even been able to reduce heat gain by using “cool roofing” and paving materials and encouraging the use of alternative transportation.
With plenty of environmentally friendly features, the Alberici Corporate Headquarters in Missouri is a green “cathedral of steel.” Impressively, the company turned an existing 50-year old manufacturing facility into a sustainable corporate headquarters in 2004, using a number of materials sourced from within 500 miles of the project. Outdoor renovations to the building include adding retention ponds to curb stormwater runoff, a rainwater system, a wind turbine, and an outdoor courtyard. Inside, the raised floor and natural ventilation system lower the building’s energy load. The building was designated as LEED-NC as of 2005.
23. Buck O’Neill Builders
We’re impressed by the huge energy efficient projects we’ve featured here, but there’s something to be said for the small office of Buck O’Neill Builders. This team of six spaces takes up a small amount of space, and hardly uses any energy at all. There’s no central heating or cooling system. Instead, each workstation has its own energy efficient radiator, and the lighting is sensor controlled, so it’s only used where it’s needed. Beyond this energy efficient functionality, the space is beautiful in an eco-friendly way, using vegetation to separate areas.
24. Audubon Center
As the first ever LEED Platinum building in the US, it’s hard to ignore the Audubon Center’s building as an eco-friendly office space. This space has it all, with locally harvested and locally manufactured materials, water conservation, and even on-site solar systems that allow the center to function entirely off the electrical grid.
25. Brandix Clothing
Affectionately known as the Green Planet by Brandix employees, this old factory has been turned into an eco-friendly plant. We’re most impressed by the use of light, with lots of natural light from the building’s large windows and sky light, as well as an LED light system. Plus, air quality in the building is excellent, thanks for sustainable materials and planted indoor trees.