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CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 l

Mir M. Ali
Mir M. Ali is currently Professor and Chairman of the Structures Division of the School of Architecture, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1999, he was recognized by the University’s Chancellor for academic excellence. He is
a registered structural engineer in Illinois and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He received
ASCE’s Millennium Challenge Prize in 1999 for his winning article on skyscrapers in a world-wide competition.

His considerable industrial experience includes Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and Sargent & Lundy in Chicago. He has
worked as consultant in Canada, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and the USA. He also worked as consultant with US
Army Corps of Engineers. He was the Chairman of Committee 30-Architecture, of CTBUH from 1990 to 1998. Follow-
ing that he had been a Group Leader of its Group PA-Planning and Architecture until recently and has been a member of
its Steering Group since 1998. He has been interviewed on WTC and tall buildings by the New York Times, Toronto Star,
Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Daily Herald, The Architectural Record, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Discovery Channel,
Travel Channel, MSNBC, NPR, IPR, Popular Science, PRI, AP, Rolling Stones, and several others.
Dr. Ali was a TOKTEN Fellow of the United Nations in 1989. He has authored a book titled Art of the Skyscraper: The
Genius of Fazlur Khan, and edited three books, Architecture of Tall Buildings; Bangladesh Floods: Views from Home and
Abroad; and Catalyst for Skyscraper Revolution: Lynn S. Beedle--A Legend in His Lifetime. He has published over 100
papers and articles, and presented numerous papers on tall buildings at conferences and seminars nationally and interna-
tionally. His new book The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology and Innovation co-authored by Lynn S. Beedle
and Paul J. Armstrong is scheduled for publication in December, 2007.
Paul J. Armstrong
Paul J. Armstrong is a registered architect and Associate Professor and Chair of Design Program, School of Architecture,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the co-author of Architecture of Tall Buildings (1995), Space, Light,
and Movement: The Architecture of Jack S. Baker, FAIA (1997), and The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology,
and Innovation (2007). He has published many papers on tall buildings, Modern and Post-Modern architecture, and ar-
chitectural theory. He co-teaches with Professor Mir M. Ali a graduate seminar course titled “High-Rise and Habitat” and
supervises design studio projects on tall buildings.
parmstro@uiuc.edu mirali1@uiuc.edu
Overview of Sustainable Design Factors in High-Rise Buildings
Mir M. Ali and Paul J. Armstrong
School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 611 Taft Drive, Champaign, IL 61820
Tel: +1 217 244 8011, Email: mirali1@uiuc.edu, parmstro@uiuc.edu
Abstract
This paper examines the critical design factors and strategies that warrant consideration to accomplish sustainable or
high-performance tall buildings applying innovative technologies. It shows how “technology transfers” in the
aerospace industry have been applied to tall building systems to achieve high-performance. Because the design of tall
buildings warrants a multi-disciplinary approach and requires the integration of architectural components, structure,
HVAC, and communication systems, an analogy exists between tall building and aircraft, which also
comprises complex integrated systems. A few case study building examples are presented which represent the new
generation of sustainable tall buildings that are setting trends for future projects incorporating innovations in materials
and building systems.
It is concluded that since tall buildings consume massive energy, designers of the next generation of tall buildings will
incrementally aim for “zero energy” design. In this approach climate is used to advantage and the building becomes a
source of power. It is possible that tall buildings will some day even produce excess energy and transfer the excess to
the city’s power grid for use in other ways.
Keywords: up alternative energy, integration, sustainable architecture, tall buildings, technology transfer
Introduction
It is projected that by 2030, 5 billion people will
live in urban areas throughout the world (United Nations,
2001). Whereas 30 per cent of the world population lived
in urban areas in 1950, the proportion of urban dwellers
climbed to 47 per cent in 2000 and is projected to rise to
60 per cent by 2030. Energy shortage, global warming,
urban sprawl, air pollution, overflowing landfills, water
shortage, disease, and global conflict will be the legacy of
the twenty-first century unless we move quickly towards
the notion and implementation of sustainability.
Survival of the human race depends upon the survival of
the cities--their built environment and the urban
infrastructure. This will warrant vision, commitment, and
action through partnership and commitment of
governments, policy makers, experts, and the
involvement of citizens. It will require collaboration of
urban planners, architects, engineers, politicians,
academics, and community groups.
Sustainable Architecture
In 1983, the UN established the World Commission
on Environment and Development in an attempt to
resolve the conflicts arising out of the aspirations of the
developed and developing worlds. In 1989 they published
“Our Common Future” or the Brundtland Report (WCED,
1989), which launched the concept of “sustainable
development” and was reinforced in 1992 at Earth
Summit in Rio. It called for “Development which meets
the needs of the present generation without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.”
Sustainable architecture is environmentally
conscious, energy-saving, and utilizes responsive and
renewable materials and systems (Newman, 2001).
Ecological and environmental concerns have expanded
beyond the issue of the consumption of non-renewable
energy sources. Sustainability essentially aims for
ecological balance.
The High Performance Tall Building:
Environmental awareness extends to both the urban
environment and the context in which a tall building is
placed as well as its interior environment. The issues of
outdoor microclimate and indoor air quality as well as the
potential toxicity of materials and chemicals used in
building components, systems, and furnishings are also of
concern to the building users. In a broad sense the term
“green” is often used for a sustainable, which essentially
describes design, construction and maintenance practices
that minimize or eliminate the negative impact of a
building on the environment and on the users.
Tall buildings are massive consumers of energy.
They are the dominant elements in urban architecture due
to their scale and purpose, and should be the focus of
sustainable design. A high performance tall building is
one that achieves the peak efficiency of building functions
while meeting the requirements of optimum performance
employing green technologies. These technologies and
innovations offer radical changes to the built
environments in terms of energy usage, structural
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 2
Overview of Sustainable Design Factors in High-Rise Buildings
Mir M. Ali and Paul J. Armstrong
School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 611 Taft Drive, Champaign, IL 61820
Tel: +1 217 244 8011, Email: mirali1@uiuc.edu, parmstro@uiuc.edu
Abstract
This paper examines the critical design factors and strategies that warrant consideration to accomplish sustainable or
high-performance tall buildings applying innovative technologies. It shows how “technology transfers” in the
aerospace industry have been applied to tall building systems to achieve high-performance. Because the design of tall
buildings warrants a multi-disciplinary approach and requires the integration of architectural components, structure,
HVAC, and communication systems, an analogy exists between tall building and aircraft, which also
comprises complex integrated systems. A few case study building examples are presented which represent the new
generation of sustainable tall buildings that are setting trends for future projects incorporating innovations in materials
and building systems.
It is concluded that since tall buildings consume massive energy, designers of the next generation of tall buildings will
incrementally aim for “zero energy” design. In this approach climate is used to advantage and the building becomes a
source of power. It is possible that tall buildings will some day even produce excess energy and transfer the excess to
the city’s power grid for use in other ways.
Keywords: up alternative energy, integration, sustainable architecture, tall buildings, technology transfer
Introduction
It is projected that by 2030, 5 billion people will
live in urban areas throughout the world (United Nations,
2001). Whereas 30 per cent of the world population lived
in urban areas in 1950, the proportion of urban dwellers
climbed to 47 per cent in 2000 and is projected to rise to
60 per cent by 2030. Energy shortage, global warming,
urban sprawl, air pollution, overflowing landfills, water
shortage, disease, and global conflict will be the legacy of
the twenty-first century unless we move quickly towards
the notion and implementation of sustainability.
Survival of the human race depends upon the survival of
the cities--their built environment and the urban
infrastructure. This will warrant vision, commitment, and
action through partnership and commitment of
governments, policy makers, experts, and the
involvement of citizens. It will require collaboration of
urban planners, architects, engineers, politicians,
academics, and community groups.
Sustainable Architecture
In 1983, the UN established the World Commission
on Environment and Development in an attempt to
resolve the conflicts arising out of the aspirations of the
developed and developing worlds. In 1989 they published
“Our Common Future” or the Brundtland Report (WCED,
1989), which launched the concept of “sustainable
development” and was reinforced in 1992 at Earth
Summit in Rio. It called for “Development which meets
the needs of the present generation without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs.”
Sustainable architecture is environmentally
conscious, energy-saving, and utilizes responsive and
renewable materials and systems (Newman, 2001).
Ecological and environmental concerns have expanded
beyond the issue of the consumption of non-renewable
energy sources. Sustainability essentially aims for
ecological balance.
The High Performance Tall Building:
Environmental awareness extends to both the urban
environment and the context in which a tall building is
placed as well as its interior environment. The issues of
outdoor microclimate and indoor air quality as well as the
potential toxicity of materials and chemicals used in
building components, systems, and furnishings are also of
concern to the building users. In a broad sense the term
“green” is often used for a sustainable, which essentially
describes design, construction and maintenance practices
that minimize or eliminate the negative impact of a
building on the environment and on the users.
Tall buildings are massive consumers of energy.
They are the dominant elements in urban architecture due
to their scale and purpose, and should be the focus of
sustainable design. A high performance tall building is
one that achieves the peak efficiency of building functions
while meeting the requirements of optimum performance
employing green technologies. These technologies and
innovations offer radical changes to the built
environments in terms of energy usage, structural
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 3
performance, and environmental effects. In other words, a
high performance tall building warrants an optimal
approach to design for maximum sustainability.
Designing a sustainable tall building, therefore, requires a
360-degree view of the entire building enterprise
considering the local and global environment, the
availability of renewable and non-renewable resources,
community impact assessment, and the collaborative input
of architects, planners, engineers, social scientists,
behavioral scientists, and other community-based groups.
Clearly, the design process is significantly complex since
the designer has to understand the building performance
in terms of different design factors and variables and
under differing conditions. Some overall benefits of
high performance design are: energy efficiency, design
flexibility, resource conservation, indoor environmental
quality, etc. (Donaldson and Lippe, 2000).
The Design Factors
The principal design factors that are crucial for
achieving a high performance tall building are site context,
environment, structure and use of materials, energy
consumption, use of water, ecological balance,
community development, etc. Because of these diverse
aspects of design for tall buildings which have enormous
scales as a building type, the amount of information that
guides the design is often very complex, and shared by
professionals of different disciplines. Further, the design
factors assume different forms, such as conceptual,
schematic, physical, economic, environmental, and
socio-cultural. This demands smart design and
integration, which hold the key to high performance
buildings. The design team comprising different
professionals must aim for the common goal set early on
that “the building will offer optimum performance” and
must have a respect and understanding for each other’s
mission. This goal must have clarity and be performance
oriented, attainable, and mostly measurable.
For high performance buildings, the full integration
of architecture and engineering is crucial. A well
integrated high performance building may incur a slightly
higher cost than a regular one which is however offset by
lower operational cost (Ali and Armstrong, 2006).
An integrated process is necessary because of their
scale and the fact that green design affects so many
different elements of a building, such as daylighting,
which in turn concerns siting, orientation, building form,
facade design, floor-to-floor heights, interior finishes,
electric lighting controls, and cooling loads, among other
things. A green or vegetated roof, with its impact on
storm water runoff, building structure and form, thermal
insulation, and plantings, is another example where
integration must be considered (Malin, 2006).
Integration among the hardware components of
building systems is approached with three distinct goals:
Components have to share space, their arrangement has to
be aesthetically resolved, and at some level they have to
work together or at least not conflict with each other
(Bachman, 2003). Bachman lists three types of
integration: physical integration, how components share
space or fit together; visual integration, how they achieve
visual harmony; and performance integration, how they
share functions with other components and systems.
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building, designed
by Foster and Partners, in Hong Kong is an example
where the visual expression of the physical systems and
components of the building creates a powerful aesthetic
impact.
Integration Web: The Tall Building System
Integration Web (see Figure 1) is a tool to assist
architects and engineers in the decision-making process at
critical stages by clearly defining the relationships of all
physical systems and subsystems of a tall building (Ali
and Armstrong, 2006). While all buildings require
integration, sustainable tall buildings require a greater
level of integration at the early stages of the design
process because they require coordination of complex,
interdependent systems. However, over-emphasizing
integration at the conceptual phase of a project can also
be a drawback especially when considering LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits.
The checklist of LEED points can be helpful in
identifying measures to pursue, many of which benefit
from an integrated approach. But focusing on
individual credits too early in the design process can also
get in the way of design integration producing a
“point-chasing mentality,” which drives up project
expenses by causing people to forget how the points work
together. During initial meetings, it is more useful for a
team to focus on sustainable goals and opportunities on a
broader level (Malin, 2006).
Technology Transfer
“Technology transfer” refers to the process
whereby the techniques and materials developed in one
creative field, industry, or culture are adapted to serve
another (Pawley, 1990). It is a synergistic process through
which the research and development effort of the donor
field is exploited in order to lighten the cost-burden of the
pre-production phase of the receptor field. One example
that has been applied to building construction is the
automatic assembly line, which originated in the
automobile industry, where building a complex
mechanism in large numbers and on a scale that required
robotics and machine production methods (Giedion,
1948). Like buildings, it required the coordination of
machines, materials, and labor in interdependent
processes regulated by time.
New developments in aeronautical engineering,
production and assembly methods, and new materials
often find their way to the building construction industry.
The design of a jumbo jet, for example, can be compared
to a building in terms of scale, integration of complex
systems and intelligent technology, structural engineering
to resist wind loads and create an efficient, aerodynamic
design, and the development of new materials to increase
strength and reduce weight and drag. Like tall buildings,
aircraft are self-contained environments with their own
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 4
micro-climates. Because they often fly at high altitudes,
their interiors must be pressurized to withstand external
air pressures and to maintain comfortable pressure levels
within for occupants to maintain proper sensory response.
Like a tall building, they are designed and assembled on a
large scale, which requires careful planning, coordination,
and integration of complex systems. This integration
begins at the earliest stages of design to avoid costly
mistakes during fabrication and assembly.
Composite materials have been developed for
fuselages to increase strength and reduce weight.
Carbon fiber is light-weight material that can be
laminated to produce an extremely strong cladding
material for the exterior surfaces of jumbo jets. The
manufacturing process of carbon fiber is very expensive,
however, and involves nano-scale technology. Hence,
there is only one major manufacturer of carbon fiber
materials in the world today. The aircraft industry has
recently used carbon fiber reinforced composite material
for the latest 787 jumbo jets. Although carbon fiber
composite materials have not been widely used in tall
buildings to date, they hold great promise in reducing the
weight and mass and increasing the structural strength of
columns, girders, trusses, and beams of supertall
buildings in the future. A 40-story multi-use “carbon
tower,” designed by architect Peter Testa, has been
proposed as a visionary project (Beedle et al., 2007).
Strategies for Achieving Sustainability
Since the beginning of the industrial age in 1830,
building technology has advanced from monolithic
structures with marginally controlled passive
environments to glass-enclosed skeletal frames with
intelligent robotic servicing. Much of this change
occurred after 1940 with proliferation of mechanical,
electrical, and plumbing systems (Bachman, 2003). The
obvious influence of industrialization has been first, the
progression of advanced materials that performed better
and lasted longer; and second, has been the
standardization of building components that could
efficiently be produced by machines. Modern technical
solutions now may come as well-ordered or totally
preconfigured systems designed by other professionals
facilitating fast construction.
LEED Rating System: The U.S. Green Building
Council has developed the LEED Green Building Rating
System to promote sustainable design. This is a voluntary
program under which building owners can have their
building rated for environmental impact in levels ranging
from regular certification to silver, gold, or platinum. The
rating system measures building performance on the basis
of comprehensive criteria that are grouped under the
following six parameters: sustainable sites, water
efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and
resources, indoor air quality, and innovation and
design/build process. While the LEED rating system
offers a checklist for typical green commercial buildings it
does not address high-rise residential construction and
does not explicitly cover all aspects of green design that
would yield a bioclimatic built form, such as structural
practice, ecological impact, infrastructure, social systems,
and community development.
While engineers view sustainability in terms of
energy conservation through innovations in mechanical
Figure 1: Tall Building System Integration Web
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 5
systems, architects look upon it through the prism of
building configuration, passive measures and improved
façade design. Collaborating with building energy
specialists and structural framework planners, they have
designed projects that utilize sophisticated engineering to
allow buildings to be responsive to their climatic contexts.
The following are a few strategies that can be adopted to
accomplish sustainable tall buildings.
Passive Solar Gain: Tall buildings are less
constrained than low-rise buildings by the geometry of the
site or the layout of the streets. Because of their verticality,
more of the ground area can be freed up and allocated to
public uses and amenities in the form of plazas, shopping
and recreation spaces. Maximum advantage can be taken
of daylight by shaping the plan arrangement of a building
to suit the activities within. The fabric of the façade and
the area assigned to windows is of ultimate concern in
gathering sunlight. The orientation of the building in
relation to the seasonal paths of the sun across the sky has
a significant impact on the thermal value and performance
(Deshmukh, 1992).
For the design of a sustainable high-rise building a
few passive low-energy strategies and ecological design
principles may also be considered. These are: natural
ventilation of spaces; location of service cores; narrower
floor area; sunshading; wind scoops; skycourts and
atriums; and smart materials. The service cores in a tall
building should be located in the building to allow natural
daylight and ventilation to the elevator lobby and stair
areas (Beedle et al., 2007). Solid concrete cores can act
as a second line of defense against deliberate attacks using
airplanes or missiles (Ali, 2003). In general, the more time
spent on the core design, the more efficient and
sustainable the building can be.
Structure and Material Preferences: At first sight it
is hard to relate sustainability to the structure of a tall
building. However, there is a relationship that needs to
be investigated in each building—particularly tall building
in which the structural framework is enormous. For
example, the core provides structural stability and its
positioning is important for sustainability (Beedle et al.,
2007). To capture cold night air in desert-like climate and
harvesting it as cooling energy during occupied hours, a
massive concrete structure can be employed. Also, a steel
framed structure can be made of recycled content. As
buildings go taller, the structural frame gets heavier.
Although residential masonry buildings can be built up to
60 stories (Khan, 1974; Ali, 2001), steel and reinforced
concrete buildings are typically the materials of choice.
The embodied energy of the materials used in the
structural system of a tall building is far greater than that
in low-rise buildings that generally employ wood, brick,
stone, etc.
Façade Technology: Daylighting and shading are
usually the key aspects to façade design for typical green
buildings. The façade covers over 90 to 95 percent of
the external building surface area in a tall building, that is,
the roof area is almost insignificant compared to façade
areas. Thus, the energy gain or loss for a tall building
depends very much upon the materiality and technology
employed in the façade treatment. Facades not only
offer the aesthetic look and the building’s architectural
expression, but it can also be advantageously used to
control the internal conditions of the building, since it
represents the building’s envelope or “skin.”
The latest trend is the use of double skin, and
occasionally triple skin, façade with ventilation system
(Behr, 2001). Double glazing with argon-filled cavities,
triple-glazing and glass coatings can increase U-values
(Pank et al., 2002).
Harnessing Solar Energy: There are two
categories of solar energy: passive and active. Passive
solar energy is put into practice as a design strategy to
accomplish direct or indirect space heating, daylighting,
etc. Active solar energy is implemented through
technical installations such as solar collectors and
photovoltaic (PV) panels. The average annual growth rate
of PV cells has been at 30 percent in recent years (IEA,
2003). The application of PV technology for tall buildings
can be significant since they provide an opportunity for a
clear path of direct sunlight by towering over other
buildings. The Law Courts Building in Los Angeles
designed by Perkins and Wills is a recent example of a
sustainable tall building in which PV panels are integrated
with aesthetics providing efficiency and a high-tech
expression of the building.
Harvesting Wind Energy: Wind is a renewable
energy source which can be advantageously tapped at
higher altitudes of tall buildings where wind speed is
considerably large. Tall buildings can be shaped to funnel
wind into a zone containing wind turbines without having
negative effects on the structure, its surroundings and the
occupants. By such profiling of the structure, wind
speed can be amplified that can produce more energy.
The Beddington Zero Energy Development in
Sutton, London, for example, uses the concept of
“eco-functional” design developed by Bill Dunster to
Table 1. Energy Output Distribution of CHP System
Electricity 25 percent
High grade heat 55 percent
Medium grade heat 10 percent
Low grade heat 10 percent
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 6
harness energy from the wind and the sun (Pank et al.
2002). His Flower Tower has a footprint of interlocking
petals which meet in a space in which a vertical axis wind
turbine is installed. While this design was originally
intended for a housing development, it could be suited as
well for a mixed development of an office block. It is a
highly insulated building equipped with wind turbines
and PV panels on the roof and the walls.
Combined Heat and Power: A highly efficient
technology for energy saving in densely built-up urban
areas is the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system.
CHP is the simultaneous production of power, heat and,
occasionally, chilled water for air-conditioning, and is also
known as co- or tri-generation. CHP avoids transmission
losses as electricity is generated close to the point of use.
The simultaneous production of electricity and heat in a
useable form enables overall thermal efficiencies,
meaning significantly less fuel is used for a given amount
of work. The result is a cost saving and reduction of
CO
2
emissions of over 30 percent with respect to
generation from coal-fired power stations and over 10
percent with respect to gas fired combined cycle gas
turbines. The widespread use of CHP is common in
many European cities. Stockholm, Helsinki and
Copenhagen, for example, provide much of their
electricity and heating from CHP systems. CHP
technology can be applied as well to the considerable
loads of individual tall buildings or groups of tall
buildings where the electricity load and annual cooling
requirements are similar. A typical distribution of total
energy output from a CHP system is shown in Table 1
(Smith, 2001). CHP is thus an attractive option since most
of the energy is useful and it can be adapted to low to zero
carbon applications. It is a flexible system.
Fuel Cells: Fuel cells are electromagnetic devices
that generate electricity like batteries and can be
considered as electrochemical internal combustion
engines. They take continuous supply of fuel, usually
hydrogen. The most efficient way of extracting hydrogen
is from natural gas or methanol by using a reformer unit,
which is then fed directly into the fuel cell. A fuel cell is
essentially a reactor that combines hydrogen and oxygen
to produce electricity, heat, and water. Therefore, its
environmental qualifications are immaculate. At this time
its cost is high but with future mass production it is bound
to go down. Fuel cells are used in spacecrafts and
airplanes. Now they are being used in buildings such as in
the Conde Nast Building in New York City. In the near
future fuel cells will provide heat and electricity for many
offices and residences.
Fuel cells are clean, quiet and efficient with few
moving parts. They are classified by their type of
electrolyte. One of the most common kinds of fuel cell is
the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). Some
other types are phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), solid
oxide fuel cell (SOFC), alkaline fuel cell (AFC), and
molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC). The U.S. Department
of Energy plans to power two to four million households
with hydrogen and fuel cells by 2010 and 10 million
households by 2030. A fuel cell depends on renewable
energy and will warrant an efficient electricity storage
system. This remains a challenge at present. It has great
potential as a carbon neutral energy source of the future.
Other Strategies for Green Tall Buildings
There are other approaches to the design of
sustainable tall buildings. For example, energy
consumption by elevators is significantly high as the cost
of operating and maintaining them is also high. Because
of the construction of many supertall buildings, elevator
technology has been a topic of continuous research and
development. Significant improvements have been made
in this technology to make the elevators safe and the mode
of travel efficient and comfortable (Beedle et al., 2007).
Rainwater harvesting collects the rain onto roofs,
then stores it in a tank, intended for eventual use. When
required, the water is pumped to the point of use, thus
replacing what would normally be a demand for regular
water. The size of the storage tank is determined
considering the amount of water available as a function of
roof area and local average rainfall. The recycled water is
used for toilets, washing machine and outside tap use.
Grey water recycling is another process in which water
from bath, shower, and hand wash basin is reused. This
“grey water” is more suited to residential tall buildings in
which sufficient amounts are generated regularly for reuse
in toilets, washing machines and outside tap. The
proposed Freedom Tower in New York has included water
recycling systems in its design.
Biomass Energy: In addition to solar and wind
energy, another source is the bioenergy. Biomass is the
sum total of all the Earth’s living matter within the
biosphere. More specifically, it refers to the concept of
growing plants as a source of energy. The energy reaching
the planet is equivalent to about seven times its primary
energy expenditure. When biomass is converted to a fuel
as a store of chemical energy the process is carbon neutral,
that is, the carbon emitted when it is burnt equals the
carbon absorbed during growth.
Biomass fuel, such as waste paper can be used for
generating electricity and steam for high-rise buildings.
A 73-story multi-use high-rise project was investigated by
Alfred Swenson and Pao-Chi Chang of the Illinois
Institute of Technology, Chicago in this regard (Ali and
Armstrong, 1995). Substantial amounts of biomass are
ubiquitous in tall office buildings in the form of paper,
most of which is used only briefly and trashed. The use
of gas turbines with biomass fuels was investigated at the
Princeton Center for Energy and Environmental Studies
(Larson and Williams, 1990). Biomass energy generation
does not contribute to global warming.
Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy is one of
our most plentiful resources. The “geothermal gradient”
i.e., the rate of increase of temperature according to depth
in the ground, averages 36.5 to 37.5 degrees F (2.5 to 3
degrees C) per 330 ft. (100m) of depth. Modern drilling
techniques can penetrate up to about 6 miles (9.5 km).
The most common surface manifestation of geothermal
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 7
energy is simply hot water from springs. Natural hot water
has been used since the nineteenth century for industrial
applications. The first geothermal power station was built
in 1913 which produced 250 kW (Smith, 2001). Another
source is the high-temperature dry rock. The geothermal
heat has to be brought to the surface. Water is pumped
through boreholes and returned to surface to provide
space heating — a process known as borehole heat
exchange (BHE) system
A significant area of innovation is the pairing of
geothermal energy with heat pump technology. This
technology has incrementally been improved, especially
in the U.S. During the last five years the number of
geothermal ground-source heat pumps has grown by 59
percent with most of the development in the U.S. and
Europe (Smith, 2007). Development and refinement of
this technology and its application to tall building design
could prove to be more relevant than any other building
type.
Building Management Systems
Innovative building technologies such as
computer-based smart or intelligent building systems can
play a major role in managing the energy usage. The
increasing reliance on computer technology and
automated systems can be directed toward achieving a
sustainable functioning of skyscrapers. The Building
Management System (BMS) is a centralized control
system to manage the operations of the various building
systems such as fire protection, security, communication
networks, elevators, HVAC systems, etc. The
environmental data collection and control system is
usually incorporated within the BMS which can also be
used to control more passive features like opening
windows and shading devices. The component of the
BMS that deals with energy-related services is controlled
by the Building Energy Management System (BEMS),
also known as the Energy Management and Control
System (EMCS), which may in some circumstances
function autonomously. The control system need not be
located on-site and the supervision of the system can be
centrally for multiple building complexes or for a number
of similar buildings in outlying areas.
Energy Performance
Although a tall building may be designed to be
sustainable and energy efficient, it’s actual performance in
this regard needs to be assessed and verified. Computer
software packages for assessment methods are developed
and constantly upgraded to offer designers a tool for
determining the energy performance and lifecycle costs
for the buildings they design. Extensive research is
needed to measure the performance of sustainable tall
buildings that were recently built. While this seems to be a
straightforward task that may merely involve collection of
data on year-round energy usage on a global scale for a
building, the challenge lies in finding out the relative
energy consumption for different systems, such as
mechanical and HVAC, lighting, computing, elevators, etc.
The utility companies keep track of the total energy
consumed and not the energy consumed by each system in
a building. Being aware of the breakdown of energy
demand of a building in terms of its systems will enable
designers to design the building in a more efficient
manner. Another area of research will be the development
of strategies for making recently built tall buildings
sustainable. This obviously is a much bigger challenge
since it involves remodeling and reconstruction.
Europe has pioneered building sustainable
high-rises. As of this writing, plans for Brighton Marina
have been approved by Brighton & Hove City Council,
UK. This 40-story multi-use tower, when built, will be a
good example of sustainable tall buildings. The architect
for the project adopted renewable energy harnessed from
solar, wind, wave and CHP and other green technologies
to reach a 25 percent reduction in domestic water use and
a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. It
will be one of the most sustainable developments in the
country, achieving 100 percent EcoHomes “Excellent”
rating (World Architecture News, 2006).
A principal reason of why European architects are
leading the way in terms of sustainable design is the fact
that legislation in some European countries requires the
building owners to take on a more responsible attitude to
energy consumption. Energy costs are higher in Europe
than in the USA making the reduction in life cycle cost of
a building and making expensive initial cost systems
viable investments. Germany has also made an enormous
contribution to sustainability by building a few
remarkable towers based on sustainable principles, such
as the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt and RWE
Headquarters in Essen. In Asia, Malaysia has led the way
by applying the bioclimatic design principles suitable for
tropical climate (Yeang, 1996). Thorough analysis of site
and its environment is fundamental to the design of a
climate-sensitive skyscraper. The analysis should range
from the general macro-climatic characteristics of the
region, including solar radiation, wind, air temperature
and humidity data to the more site-specific conditions at
the micro-climatic level. Such analysis should also
include the effects of shadows, the topography, vegetation,
adjacent buildings and the availability of daylight.
Case Studies
A new generation of sustainable tall buildings is
challenging conventional high-rise building practices and
setting trends for future projects incorporating innovations
in materials and intelligent building systems.
Menara Mesiniaga: Ken Yeang and T. R. Hamzah
were among the first architects to apply ecological
principles to their “bioclimatic skyscrapers.” The Menara
Mesiniaga in Subang, Malaysia (see Figure 2), designed
in 1992, presents an early model building for the physical
translation of ecological principles into high-rise
architecture (Abel, 2003).
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 8
Figure 2: Menara Mesiniaga, Kuala Lumpur, 1992, T. R. Hamzah &
Yeang (Beedle et al., 2007, Plate 28).
The fifteen-story tower expresses its technological
innovations on its exterior and uses as little energy as
possible in the production and running of the building.
Instead of a continuous facade, the building open and
closes in sections arranged in stages around the tower. It
has an exterior load-bearing structure of steel with
aluminum and glass, and a crowning superstructure for the
roof, planned as a future support for solar cells. The
interior and exterior structure of the tower is planned
around climatic considerations and its orientation toward
the daily path of the sun. The massive core of the building,
with elevator shafts and staircases, faces east and screens
off the penetrating heat up to midday. Deep incisions and
suspended aluminum sunscreens on the south facade ward
off the direct rays of the noon and afternoon sun into the
interior. Most of the office space faces west and north.
Around the base of the tower lies a semicircular, steeply
sloping garden, which continues into the building itself in
the form of spiral terraces planted with grass. This visibly
brings the natural environment into the architecture.
Swiss Reinsurance Headquarters: Foster and
Partners developed new technological, urban planning,
and ecological design concepts in the Swiss Reinsurance
Headquarters building (see Figure 3) constructed in 2004
in London. The steel spiral “diagrid” structure creates an
aerodynamic form that provides the lowest resistance to
wind and diminishes demands on the load-bearing
structure, as well as the danger of strong downward winds
in the area around the building. The office spaces are
arranged around a central core with elevators, side rooms,
and fire escapes. The net-like steel construction of the
load-bearing structure lies directly behind the glass facade
and allows support-free spaces right up to the core.
Figure 3: Swiss Reinsurance Headquarters, London, U.K., 2004, Foster
and Partners, (Courtesy Katrina Haagensen).
The most innovative element in the inner structure is the
inclusion of triangular light shafts behind the facade,
which spiral upwards over the whole height of the
building. These light and air shafts are interrupted every
six stories by an intermediate floor, to minimize the
development of drafts and noise.
The Swiss Re Tower has a circular plan that widens
as it rises from the ground and then tapers toward its apex.
This form responds to the specific demands of the small
site and reduces its apparent bulk as compared to a
conventional rectangular mass of equivalent floor area.
The slimming of the building’s profile at its base reduces
reflections, improves transparency, and increase daylight
penetration at ground level. The aerodynamic form of the
tower encourages wind to flow around its face,
minimizing wind loads on the structure and cladding, and
enables the use of a more efficient structure. Natural air
movement around the building generates substantial
pressure differences across its face, which can be used to
facilitate natural ventilation within the building (Foster,
2005).
Conde Nast Building: The Conde Nast Building
(see Figure 4) at 4 Times Square of 1999 in New York
City is a 48-story office tower, is the centerpiece of the
42nd Street Master Plan prepared by the 42nd Street
Development Corporation, a public/private consortium
created to promote the redevelopment of this traditional
heart of Manhattan (Wired New York, 2007). Designed
by Fox & Fowle Partners, many of its innovations are
considered standard for office buildings today.
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 9
Figure 4: Conde Nast Building, 4 Times Square, New York, 1999, Fox
& Fowle Partners, (Wired New York, 2007).
The facades of the building address Times Square
entertainment district to the west and the corporate
Midtown area of Manhattan to the east. The building sets
new standards in energy conservation, indoor
environment quality, recycling systems, and use of
sustainable materials. The large areas of glass curtain
wall maximize daylight penetration into the office floors
and incorporate low-E glass coating to filter out
unwanted ultraviolet light while minimizing heat gain
and loss. PV panels have been integrated in spandrel
areas on upper floors of the east and south facades,
generating a meager but symbolic amount of electricity
by day. Sophisticated mechanical systems ensure high
indoor air quality by introducing filtered fresh air into the
office environment. Tenant guidelines produced by the
architects established environmental standards for living,
power usage, furniture systems, carpets, fabrics, finishes,
and maintenance materials to ensure indoor air quality
and also as a comprehensive strategy to maintain
environmental sustainability for the life of the building.
The Solaire: Located at Battery Park in New York
City, the Solaire (see Figure 5) is the first residential
high-rise building in the U.S. to integrate green features
in a comprehensive way (Carey, 2006). It is a 27-story,
293-unit luxury apartment building located on the
Hudson River developed by the Albanese Organization
and designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates. Its sustainable
features include PV panels incorporated into the
building’s facade, a planted roof garden, and fully
operational blackwater treatment system. It is based on
guidelines developed by the Battery Park City Authority,
which address five areas of concern: 1) Enhanced indoor
air quality; 2) Water conservation and purification; 3)
Energy efficiency; 4) Recycling construction waste and
the use of recycled building materials; and 5)
Commissioning to ensure building performance (Carey,
2006).
Figure 5: The Solaire, Battery Park, New York City, 2003, Cesar Pelli
and Associates, (Carey, 2006, p.70).
The Pearl River Tower: The Pearl River Tower (see
Figure 6) is a 990-foot (300-meter) tall “net-zero energy”
mixed-use building, which will be completed in 2010 in
Guangzhou, China. Designed by Adrian Smith and
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it has a curved glass facade
that directs air flow through narrow openings in the
facade that will drive large, stainless steel wind turbines
to generate electrical energy. The building’s aerodynamic
shape, which resembles airplane wings turned vertically,
was developed in collaboration with Rowan Williams
Davis & Irwin, Inc. of Ontario, Canada using the
RWDI-Skin suite of proprietary analysis tools, including
its Virtualwind simulation modeling (RWDI Group,
2007).
Figure 6: Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China, 2010, Adrian Smith
and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Ltd., (RWDI, 2007).
CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 l0
Conclusions
Despite evidence of global warming, emissions
from the most industrialized countries are showing little
sign of abating. Experts estimate that as high as 60
percent global cut is necessary to halt global warming,
which seems to be a far cry at present (Smith, 2001). The
best chance for the survival of the developed countries
seems to lie with the built environment because buildings
in use or under construction are the greatest single indirect
source of carbon emissions.
The paper shows that high performance tall
buildings are achievable by adopting the appropriate
strategies. The future of the built environment depends
on the methods and techniques used by engineers and
architects to design sustainable, intelligent buildings.
Although application of new technologies to tall buildings
will improve our living conditions incrementally,
humanism will define our future. The initial cost of
integrated green tall buildings may be 5 to 10 percent
higher than that of a conventional building, but the
long-term lower operational cost makes it justifiable.
By reducing both embodied and operational energy
demands of tall buildings and the infrastructure, the
life-cycle energy consumption can be reduced.
Sustainability of tall buildings must therefore be viewed
as an integral part of the city’s sustainable growth.
Responsible attitudes are also needed to conserve water
and reduce waste and recycle materials during the
building construction and demolition processes. A zero
energy building may be achieved through high
performance design, integrated physical systems, a
symbiotic building within its context, and an interactive
power grid with the building’s energy generation system.
Market forces have begun to propel the
governments and the private sector towards renewable
energy in most industrialized countries with a few
exceptions. Whatever the future holds for the environment,
tall buildings must become sustainable considering the
environment, long-term economic growth, and human
needs.
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commitment. 2001). technology transfer Introduction It is projected that by 2030. It called for “Development which meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. integration. Champaign. and communication systems. designers of the next generation of tall buildings will incrementally aim for “zero energy” design. Energy shortage. structural  CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 .edu. The issues of outdoor microclimate and indoor air quality as well as the potential toxicity of materials and chemicals used in building components. It is possible that tall buildings will some day even produce excess energy and transfer the excess to the city’s power grid for use in other ways. structure.” Sustainable architecture is environmentally conscious. Tall buildings are massive consumers of energy. Because the design of tall buildings warrants a multi-disciplinary approach and requires the integration of architectural components. It shows how “technology transfers” in the aerospace industry have been applied to tall building systems to achieve high-performance. an analogy exists between tall building and aircraft. 1989). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sustainable Architecture In 1983. and global conflict will be the legacy of the twenty-first century unless we move quickly towards the notion and implementation of sustainability. urban sprawl. which launched the concept of “sustainable development” and was reinforced in 1992 at Earth Summit in Rio. Keywords: up alternative energy. In a broad sense the term “green” is often used for a sustainable. and furnishings are also of concern to the building users. The High Performance Tall Building: Environmental awareness extends to both the urban environment and the context in which a tall building is placed as well as its interior environment. which also comprises complex integrated systems. Ecological and environmental concerns have expanded beyond the issue of the consumption of non-renewable energy sources. overflowing landfills. and the involvement of citizens. air pollution. academics. the UN established the World Commission on Environment and Development in an attempt to resolve the conflicts arising out of the aspirations of the developed and developing worlds. Whereas 30 per cent of the world population lived in urban areas in 1950. IL 61820 Tel: +1 217 244 8011. HVAC. experts. global warming. the proportion of urban dwellers climbed to 47 per cent in 2000 and is projected to rise to 60 per cent by 2030. construction and maintenance practices that minimize or eliminate the negative impact of a building on the environment and on the users. and utilizes responsive and renewable materials and systems (Newman. water shortage. engineers. politicians. Email: mirali1@uiuc.Overview of Sustainable Design Factors in High-Rise Buildings Mir M. and community groups. A few case study building examples are presented which represent the new generation of sustainable tall buildings that are setting trends for future projects incorporating innovations in materials and building systems. It is concluded that since tall buildings consume massive energy. sustainable architecture. They are the dominant elements in urban architecture due to their scale and purpose. 5 billion people will live in urban areas throughout the world (United Nations. These technologies and innovations offer radical changes to the built environments in terms of energy usage. Survival of the human race depends upon the survival of the cities--their built environment and the urban infrastructure. policy makers. which essentially describes design.edu Abstract This paper examines the critical design factors and strategies that warrant consideration to accomplish sustainable or high-performance tall buildings applying innovative technologies. Sustainability essentially aims for ecological balance. It will require collaboration of urban planners. and action through partnership and commitment of governments. Ali and Paul J. In 1989 they published “Our Common Future” or the Brundtland Report (WCED. 611 Taft Drive. Armstrong School of Architecture. energy-saving. In this approach climate is used to advantage and the building becomes a source of power. disease. 2001). and should be the focus of sustainable design. This will warrant vision. architects. parmstro@uiuc. systems. A high performance tall building is one that achieves the peak efficiency of building functions while meeting the requirements of optimum performance employing green technologies. tall buildings.

In other words. therefore. how they achieve visual harmony. where building a complex mechanism in large numbers and on a scale that required robotics and machine production methods (Giedion.performance. the full integration of architecture and engineering is crucial. and mostly measurable. etc. how they share functions with other components and systems. and environmental effects. many of which benefit from an integrated approach. 2006). The design of a jumbo jet. design flexibility. Integration Web: The Tall Building System Integration Web (see Figure 1) is a tool to assist architects and engineers in the decision-making process at critical stages by clearly defining the relationships of all physical systems and subsystems of a tall building (Ali and Armstrong. 2003). and plantings. While all buildings require integration. planners. and other community-based groups. (Donaldson and Lippe. Like buildings. the design process is significantly complex since the designer has to understand the building performance in terms of different design factors and variables and under differing conditions. and cooling loads. which in turn concerns siting. This demands smart design and integration. aerodynamic design. Some overall benefits of high performance design are: energy efficiency. sustainable tall buildings require a greater level of integration at the early stages of the design process because they require coordination of complex. social scientists. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building. structural engineering to resist wind loads and create an efficient. a high performance tall building warrants an optimal approach to design for maximum sustainability. A well integrated high performance building may incur a slightly higher cost than a regular one which is however offset by lower operational cost (Ali and Armstrong. floor-to-floor heights. A green or vegetated roof. However. environment. behavioral scientists. use of water. interior finishes. schematic. it required the coordination of machines. and performance integration. The checklist of LEED points can be helpful in identifying measures to pursue. visual integration. and the development of new materials to increase strength and reduce weight and drag. Designing a sustainable tall building. 2006). 1948). or culture are adapted to serve another (Pawley. the availability of renewable and non-renewable resources. in Hong Kong is an example where the visual expression of the physical systems and components of the building creates a powerful aesthetic impact.” which drives up project expenses by causing people to forget how the points work together. such as daylighting. Clearly. Technology Transfer “Technology transfer” refers to the process whereby the techniques and materials developed in one creative field. engineers. designed by Foster and Partners. which hold the key to high performance buildings. Because of these diverse aspects of design for tall buildings which have enormous scales as a building type. how components share space or fit together. It is a synergistic process through which the research and development effort of the donor field is exploited in order to lighten the cost-burden of the pre-production phase of the receptor field. This goal must have clarity and be performance oriented. physical. aircraft are self-contained environments with their own CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008  . requires a 360-degree view of the entire building enterprise considering the local and global environment. indoor environmental quality. and the collaborative input of architects. their arrangement has to be aesthetically resolved. interdependent systems. the amount of information that guides the design is often very complex. and at some level they have to work together or at least not conflict with each other (Bachman. orientation. community development. such as conceptual. economic. Further. and socio-cultural. production and assembly methods. 2006). building form. materials. the design factors assume different forms. can be compared to a building in terms of scale. One example that has been applied to building construction is the automatic assembly line. integration of complex systems and intelligent technology. Like tall buildings. The design team comprising different professionals must aim for the common goal set early on that “the building will offer optimum performance” and must have a respect and understanding for each other’s mission. and new materials often find their way to the building construction industry. 2000). thermal insulation. electric lighting controls. etc. resource conservation. for example. among other things. environmental. The Design Factors The principal design factors that are crucial for achieving a high performance tall building are site context. 2006). ecological balance. 1990). New developments in aeronautical engineering. An integrated process is necessary because of their scale and the fact that green design affects so many different elements of a building. it is more useful for a team to focus on sustainable goals and opportunities on a broader level (Malin. For high performance buildings. energy consumption. and labor in interdependent processes regulated by time. facade design. But focusing on individual credits too early in the design process can also get in the way of design integration producing a “point-chasing mentality. community impact assessment. During initial meetings. structure and use of materials. and shared by professionals of different disciplines. building structure and form. industry. Integration among the hardware components of building systems is approached with three distinct goals: Components have to share space. attainable. is another example where integration must be considered (Malin. which originated in the automobile industry. Bachman lists three types of integration: physical integration. over-emphasizing integration at the conceptual phase of a project can also be a drawback especially when considering LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits. with its impact on storm water runoff.

Composite materials have been developed for fuselages to increase strength and reduce weight. and integration of complex systems. water efficiency. social systems.Figure 1: Tall Building System Integration Web micro-climates. they hold great promise in reducing the weight and mass and increasing the structural strength of columns. A 40-story multi-use “carbon tower. ecological impact. coordination. and second. however. and plumbing systems (Bachman. has been proposed as a visionary project (Beedle et al. they are designed and assembled on a large scale. 2003). energy and atmosphere. Modern technical solutions now may come as well-ordered or totally preconfigured systems designed by other professionals facilitating fast construction. the progression of advanced materials that performed better and lasted longer. trusses. their interiors must be pressurized to withstand external air pressures and to maintain comfortable pressure levels within for occupants to maintain proper sensory response. such as structural practice. Strategies for Achieving Sustainability Since the beginning of the industrial age in 1830. LEED Rating System: The U. Green Building Council has developed the LEED Green Building Rating System to promote sustainable design.. girders. materials and resources. indoor air quality. The rating system measures building performance on the basis of comprehensive criteria that are grouped under the following six parameters: sustainable sites. infrastructure. The manufacturing process of carbon fiber is very expensive. building technology has advanced from monolithic structures with marginally controlled passive environments to glass-enclosed skeletal frames with intelligent robotic servicing. gold. Like a tall building.S. While the LEED rating system offers a checklist for typical green commercial buildings it does not address high-rise residential construction and does not explicitly cover all aspects of green design that would yield a bioclimatic built form. and involves nano-scale technology.” designed by architect Peter Testa. While engineers view sustainability in terms of energy conservation through innovations in mechanical  CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 . and community development. 2007). there is only one major manufacturer of carbon fiber materials in the world today. Much of this change occurred after 1940 with proliferation of mechanical. which requires careful planning. Hence. or platinum. has been the standardization of building components that could efficiently be produced by machines. The aircraft industry has recently used carbon fiber reinforced composite material for the latest 787 jumbo jets. and innovation and design/build process. Although carbon fiber composite materials have not been widely used in tall buildings to date. and beams of supertall buildings in the future. Because they often fly at high altitudes. electrical. The obvious influence of industrialization has been first. This integration begins at the earliest stages of design to avoid costly mistakes during fabrication and assembly. This is a voluntary program under which building owners can have their building rated for environmental impact in levels ranging from regular certification to silver. Carbon fiber is light-weight material that can be laminated to produce an extremely strong cladding material for the exterior surfaces of jumbo jets.

but it can also be advantageously used to control the internal conditions of the building. The service cores in a tall building should be located in the building to allow natural daylight and ventilation to the elevator lobby and stair areas (Beedle et al. Maximum advantage can be taken of daylight by shaping the plan arrangement of a building to suit the activities within. These are: natural ventilation of spaces. Because of their verticality. The following are a few strategies that can be adopted to accomplish sustainable tall buildings. To capture cold night air in desert-like climate and harvesting it as cooling energy during occupied hours. 2007). the roof area is almost insignificant compared to façade areas. 1992). uses the concept of “eco-functional” design developed by Bill Dunster to CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008  . 1974. the more efficient and sustainable the building can be. triple-glazing and glass coatings can increase U-values (Pank et al. skycourts and atriums. the structural frame gets heavier. London. the core provides structural stability and its positioning is important for sustainability (Beedle et al. and occasionally triple skin. Collaborating with building energy specialists and structural framework planners. a massive concrete structure can be employed. sunshading. the more time spent on the core design. wind speed can be amplified that can produce more energy. the energy gain or loss for a tall building depends very much upon the materiality and technology employed in the façade treatment. Energy Output Distribution of CHP System Electricity High grade heat Medium grade heat Low grade heat For the design of a sustainable high-rise building a few passive low-energy strategies and ecological design principles may also be considered. Façade Technology: Daylighting and shading are usually the key aspects to façade design for typical green buildings.. narrower floor area. brick. Active solar energy is implemented through technical installations such as solar collectors and photovoltaic (PV) panels.. since it represents the building’s envelope or “skin. 2001). Thus. etc. a steel framed structure can be made of recycled content. Facades not only offer the aesthetic look and the building’s architectural expression. its surroundings and the occupants. 2002). architects look upon it through the prism of building configuration. steel and reinforced 25 percent 55 percent 10 percent 10 percent Harnessing Solar Energy: There are two categories of solar energy: passive and active. and smart materials. The embodied energy of the materials used in the structural system of a tall building is far greater than that in low-rise buildings that generally employ wood. Passive Solar Gain: Tall buildings are less constrained than low-rise buildings by the geometry of the site or the layout of the streets. etc. Structure and Material Preferences: At first sight it is hard to relate sustainability to the structure of a tall building. that is. they have designed projects that utilize sophisticated engineering to allow buildings to be responsive to their climatic contexts. 2003). Double glazing with argon-filled cavities. In general. For example. Solid concrete cores can act as a second line of defense against deliberate attacks using airplanes or missiles (Ali. wind scoops. The façade covers over 90 to 95 percent of the external building surface area in a tall building. Passive solar energy is put into practice as a design strategy to accomplish direct or indirect space heating. Also. The fabric of the façade and the area assigned to windows is of ultimate concern in gathering sunlight. daylighting. Although residential masonry buildings can be built up to 60 stories (Khan. However. stone. The Beddington Zero Energy Development in Sutton. As buildings go taller. passive measures and improved façade design. The average annual growth rate of PV cells has been at 30 percent in recent years (IEA.” The latest trend is the use of double skin. 2001). 2007). Table 1. The application of PV technology for tall buildings can be significant since they provide an opportunity for a clear path of direct sunlight by towering over other buildings. The Law Courts Building in Los Angeles designed by Perkins and Wills is a recent example of a sustainable tall building in which PV panels are integrated with aesthetics providing efficiency and a high-tech expression of the building.. By such profiling of the structure. façade with ventilation system (Behr. for example. location of service cores. there is a relationship that needs to be investigated in each building—particularly tall building in which the structural framework is enormous.systems. Ali. shopping and recreation spaces. The orientation of the building in relation to the seasonal paths of the sun across the sky has a significant impact on the thermal value and performance (Deshmukh. more of the ground area can be freed up and allocated to public uses and amenities in the form of plazas. concrete buildings are typically the materials of choice. Harvesting Wind Energy: Wind is a renewable energy source which can be advantageously tapped at higher altitudes of tall buildings where wind speed is considerably large. 2003). Tall buildings can be shaped to funnel wind into a zone containing wind turbines without having negative effects on the structure.

(100m) of depth. it could be suited as well for a mixed development of an office block. then stores it in a tank. heat. intended for eventual use. One of the most common kinds of fuel cell is the proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). His Flower Tower has a footprint of interlocking petals which meet in a space in which a vertical axis wind turbine is installed. It is a flexible system. The “geothermal gradient” i. A typical distribution of total energy output from a CHP system is shown in Table 1 (Smith.5 degrees F (2. occasionally. quiet and efficient with few moving parts. heat and. Combined Heat and Power: A highly efficient technology for energy saving in densely built-up urban areas is the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system. Because of the construction of many supertall buildings. CHP avoids transmission losses as electricity is generated close to the point of use. for example. the rate of increase of temperature according to depth in the ground. Biomass is the sum total of all the Earth’s living matter within the biosphere. Fuel Cells: Fuel cells are electromagnetic devices that generate electricity like batteries and can be considered as electrochemical internal combustion engines.or tri-generation. The recycled water is used for toilets. Rainwater harvesting collects the rain onto roofs. meaning significantly less fuel is used for a given amount of work. Other Strategies for Green Tall Buildings There are other approaches to the design of sustainable tall buildings. The result is a cost saving and reduction of CO2 emissions of over 30 percent with respect to generation from coal-fired power stations and over 10 percent with respect to gas fired combined cycle gas turbines. alkaline fuel cell (AFC). The energy reaching the planet is equivalent to about seven times its primary energy expenditure. solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Now they are being used in buildings such as in the Conde Nast Building in New York City. It has great potential as a carbon neutral energy source of the future. 2001). provide much of their electricity and heating from CHP systems. In the near future fuel cells will provide heat and electricity for many offices and residences. Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy is one of our most plentiful resources.5 to 37. Chicago in this regard (Ali and Armstrong.. it refers to the concept of growing plants as a source of energy. Fuel cells are used in spacecrafts and airplanes. They take continuous supply of fuel. which is then fed directly into the fuel cell. They are classified by their type of electrolyte. Biomass energy generation does not contribute to global warming. CHP is the simultaneous production of power. When biomass is converted to a fuel as a store of chemical energy the process is carbon neutral. At this time its cost is high but with future mass production it is bound to go down. that is. 2007). CHP technology can be applied as well to the considerable loads of individual tall buildings or groups of tall buildings where the electricity load and annual cooling requirements are similar. 2002). usually hydrogen. Therefore. This remains a challenge at present. energy consumption by elevators is significantly high as the cost of operating and maintaining them is also high. the carbon emitted when it is burnt equals the carbon absorbed during growth. its environmental qualifications are immaculate. This “grey water” is more suited to residential tall buildings in which sufficient amounts are generated regularly for reuse in toilets..harness energy from the wind and the sun (Pank et al. thus replacing what would normally be a demand for regular water. and molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC). 1995). The most common surface manifestation of geothermal  CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 . A fuel cell depends on renewable energy and will warrant an efficient electricity storage system. It is a highly insulated building equipped with wind turbines and PV panels on the roof and the walls. Biomass Energy: In addition to solar and wind energy. The simultaneous production of electricity and heat in a useable form enables overall thermal efficiencies. another source is the bioenergy.e. chilled water for air-conditioning. While this design was originally intended for a housing development. The widespread use of CHP is common in many European cities. elevator technology has been a topic of continuous research and development. shower. Biomass fuel. When required. Significant improvements have been made in this technology to make the elevators safe and the mode of travel efficient and comfortable (Beedle et al.S. and hand wash basin is reused. such as waste paper can be used for generating electricity and steam for high-rise buildings. washing machines and outside tap. The use of gas turbines with biomass fuels was investigated at the Princeton Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (Larson and Williams. The size of the storage tank is determined considering the amount of water available as a function of roof area and local average rainfall. For example. averages 36. washing machine and outside tap use. The proposed Freedom Tower in New York has included water recycling systems in its design. The U. The most efficient way of extracting hydrogen is from natural gas or methanol by using a reformer unit.5 to 3 degrees C) per 330 ft. Grey water recycling is another process in which water from bath. Substantial amounts of biomass are ubiquitous in tall office buildings in the form of paper.5 km). Modern drilling techniques can penetrate up to about 6 miles (9. and is also known as co. A fuel cell is essentially a reactor that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. More specifically. Fuel cells are clean. Some other types are phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC). Department of Energy plans to power two to four million households with hydrogen and fuel cells by 2010 and 10 million households by 2030. Stockholm. and water. A 73-story multi-use high-rise project was investigated by Alfred Swenson and Pao-Chi Chang of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Helsinki and Copenhagen. 1990). most of which is used only briefly and trashed. CHP is thus an attractive option since most of the energy is useful and it can be adapted to low to zero carbon applications. the water is pumped to the point of use.

wind. such as the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt and RWE Headquarters in Essen. lighting. Europe has pioneered building sustainable high-rises. Water is pumped through boreholes and returned to surface to provide space heating — a process known as borehole heat exchange (BHE) system A significant area of innovation is the pairing of geothermal energy with heat pump technology. The increasing reliance on computer technology and automated systems can be directed toward achieving a sustainable functioning of skyscrapers. plans for Brighton Marina have been approved by Brighton & Hove City Council. 1996). This obviously is a much bigger challenge since it involves remodeling and reconstruction. Case Studies A new generation of sustainable tall buildings is challenging conventional high-rise building practices and setting trends for future projects incorporating innovations in materials and intelligent building systems. Germany has also made an enormous contribution to sustainability by building a few remarkable towers based on sustainable principles.” The Menara Mesiniaga in Subang. In Asia. achieving 100 percent EcoHomes “Excellent” rating (World Architecture News. etc. Energy Performance Although a tall building may be designed to be sustainable and energy efficient. air temperature and humidity data to the more site-specific conditions at the micro-climatic level. Another area of research will be the development of strategies for making recently built tall buildings sustainable. Thorough analysis of site and its environment is fundamental to the design of a climate-sensitive skyscraper. wind. Malaysia (see Figure 2). Energy costs are higher in Europe than in the USA making the reduction in life cycle cost of a building and making expensive initial cost systems viable investments. Natural hot water has been used since the nineteenth century for industrial applications. The architect for the project adopted renewable energy harnessed from solar. such as mechanical and HVAC. designed in 1992. Building Management Systems Innovative building technologies such as computer-based smart or intelligent building systems can play a major role in managing the energy usage. 2001). presents an early model building for the physical translation of ecological principles into high-rise architecture (Abel. especially in the U. including solar radiation. vegetation. CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008  . Malaysia has led the way by applying the bioclimatic design principles suitable for tropical climate (Yeang. when built. The geothermal heat has to be brought to the surface. Computer software packages for assessment methods are developed and constantly upgraded to offer designers a tool for determining the energy performance and lifecycle costs for the buildings they design. Another source is the high-temperature dry rock.energy is simply hot water from springs. it’s actual performance in this regard needs to be assessed and verified. The Building Management System (BMS) is a centralized control system to manage the operations of the various building systems such as fire protection. elevators. the topography. etc. This technology has incrementally been improved. UK. Menara Mesiniaga: Ken Yeang and T. Being aware of the breakdown of energy demand of a building in terms of its systems will enable designers to design the building in a more efficient manner.S. It will be one of the most sustainable developments in the country. the challenge lies in finding out the relative energy consumption for different systems. security. This 40-story multi-use tower. Development and refinement of this technology and its application to tall building design could prove to be more relevant than any other building type. HVAC systems. Hamzah were among the first architects to apply ecological principles to their “bioclimatic skyscrapers. While this seems to be a straightforward task that may merely involve collection of data on year-round energy usage on a global scale for a building. and Europe (Smith. During the last five years the number of geothermal ground-source heat pumps has grown by 59 percent with most of the development in the U. The first geothermal power station was built in 1913 which produced 250 kW (Smith. which may in some circumstances function autonomously. elevators. communication networks. 2006). As of this writing. will be a good example of sustainable tall buildings. The control system need not be located on-site and the supervision of the system can be centrally for multiple building complexes or for a number of similar buildings in outlying areas. also known as the Energy Management and Control System (EMCS). 2003). The environmental data collection and control system is usually incorporated within the BMS which can also be used to control more passive features like opening windows and shading devices. A principal reason of why European architects are leading the way in terms of sustainable design is the fact that legislation in some European countries requires the building owners to take on a more responsible attitude to energy consumption. The utility companies keep track of the total energy consumed and not the energy consumed by each system in a building. 2007). The analysis should range from the general macro-climatic characteristics of the region. The component of the BMS that deals with energy-related services is controlled by the Building Energy Management System (BEMS). wave and CHP and other green technologies to reach a 25 percent reduction in domestic water use and a 40 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Extensive research is needed to measure the performance of sustainable tall buildings that were recently built. Such analysis should also include the effects of shadows. R. computing. adjacent buildings and the availability of daylight.S.

steeply sloping garden. the building open and closes in sections arranged in stages around the tower. urban planning. Around the base of the tower lies a semicircular. The net-like steel construction of the load-bearing structure lies directly behind the glass facade and allows support-free spaces right up to the core. The most innovative element in the inner structure is the inclusion of triangular light shafts behind the facade. Swiss Reinsurance Headquarters: Foster and Partners developed new technological. Instead of a continuous facade. Figure 3: Swiss Reinsurance Headquarters. is the centerpiece of the 42nd Street Master Plan prepared by the 42nd Street Development Corporation. 2005). 1992. planned as a future support for solar cells. 2007. to minimize the development of drafts and noise. and ecological design concepts in the Swiss Reinsurance Headquarters building (see Figure 3) constructed in 2004 in London. and increase daylight penetration at ground level. Natural air movement around the building generates substantial pressure differences across its face. which can be used to facilitate natural ventilation within the building (Foster. Hamzah & Yeang (Beedle et al. side rooms. 2004.  CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 . improves transparency. Foster and Partners. (Courtesy Katrina Haagensen).Figure 2: Menara Mesiniaga.. It has an exterior load-bearing structure of steel with aluminum and glass. and a crowning superstructure for the roof. and enables the use of a more efficient structure. Kuala Lumpur.K. Conde Nast Building: The Conde Nast Building (see Figure 4) at 4 Times Square of 1999 in New York City is a 48-story office tower. faces east and screens off the penetrating heat up to midday. which spiral upwards over the whole height of the building. The fifteen-story tower expresses its technological innovations on its exterior and uses as little energy as possible in the production and running of the building. T. R. This form responds to the specific demands of the small site and reduces its apparent bulk as compared to a conventional rectangular mass of equivalent floor area. minimizing wind loads on the structure and cladding. Designed by Fox & Fowle Partners. Most of the office space faces west and north. This visibly brings the natural environment into the architecture. The massive core of the building. as well as the danger of strong downward winds in the area around the building. These light and air shafts are interrupted every six stories by an intermediate floor. The steel spiral “diagrid” structure creates an aerodynamic form that provides the lowest resistance to wind and diminishes demands on the load-bearing structure. Plate 28). The interior and exterior structure of the tower is planned around climatic considerations and its orientation toward the daily path of the sun.. with elevator shafts and staircases. which continues into the building itself in the form of spiral terraces planted with grass. and fire escapes. many of its innovations are considered standard for office buildings today. London. a public/private consortium created to promote the redevelopment of this traditional heart of Manhattan (Wired New York. U. The aerodynamic form of the tower encourages wind to flow around its face. The office spaces are arranged around a central core with elevators. The slimming of the building’s profile at its base reduces reflections. 2007). The Swiss Re Tower has a circular plan that widens as it rises from the ground and then tapers toward its apex. Deep incisions and suspended aluminum sunscreens on the south facade ward off the direct rays of the noon and afternoon sun into the interior.

indoor environment quality. carpets. p.S. Cesar Pelli and Associates. and fully operational blackwater treatment system. Figure 6: Pearl River Tower. stainless steel wind turbines to generate electrical energy. Owings & Merrill. Fox & Fowle Partners. finishes. Inc. Canada using the RWDI-Skin suite of proprietary analysis tools. to integrate green features in a comprehensive way (Carey. 2003. generating a meager but symbolic amount of electricity by day. 2006). 293-unit luxury apartment building located on the Hudson River developed by the Albanese Organization and designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates. Adrian Smith and Skidmore. and 5) Commissioning to ensure building performance (Carey. including its Virtualwind simulation modeling (RWDI Group. The large areas of glass curtain wall maximize daylight penetration into the office floors and incorporate low-E glass coating to filter out unwanted ultraviolet light while minimizing heat gain and loss. the Solaire (see Figure 5) is the first residential high-rise building in the U. 3) Energy efficiency. it has a curved glass facade that directs air flow through narrow openings in the facade that will drive large. and use of sustainable materials. 2007). 2006. which address five areas of concern: 1) Enhanced indoor air quality. Figure 4: Conde Nast Building. 2010. The Pearl River Tower: The Pearl River Tower (see Figure 6) is a 990-foot (300-meter) tall “net-zero energy” mixed-use building. 4 Times Square. power usage. Sophisticated mechanical systems ensure high indoor air quality by introducing filtered fresh air into the office environment. China. Its sustainable features include PV panels incorporated into the building’s facade. Battery Park. New York. China.the use of recycled building materials. Ltd. 1999. recycling systems.70). a planted roof garden. It is based on guidelines developed by the Battery Park City Authority. fabrics. 4) Recycling construction waste and Figure 5: The Solaire. furniture systems. The building sets new standards in energy conservation. was developed in collaboration with Rowan Williams Davis & Irwin. (RWDI. Tenant guidelines produced by the architects established environmental standards for living. New York City. The building’s aerodynamic shape. of Ontario. which resembles airplane wings turned vertically. It is a 27-story. 2007). 2006). (Wired New York. Guangzhou. and maintenance materials to ensure indoor air quality and also as a comprehensive strategy to maintain environmental sustainability for the life of the building. 2) Water conservation and purification. Owings & Merrill.. The Solaire: Located at Battery Park in New York City. PV panels have been integrated in spandrel areas on upper floors of the east and south facades. which will be completed in 2010 in Guangzhou. CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008  . (Carey. Designed by Adrian Smith and Skidmore. The facades of the building address Times Square entertainment district to the west and the corporate Midtown area of Manhattan to the east. 2007).

. NY. Renewables for Power Generation. H. integrated physical systems. Environmental Planning: Ecosystem Science and Ecosystem Approaches for Integrating Environment and Development. Art of the Skyscraper: The Genius of Fazlur Khan. CAREY. R. P. (1990). Omaha. ALI. School of Architecture. WORLD ARCHITECTURE NEWS (2006). (2006). C. Nashville. 1994-1999. P. The Ecology of Architecture. 69-73. WCED (1989). Proceedings of the CTBUH Sixth World Congress. New York. Skyscrapers. www. RWDI GROUP (2007). Editors. www. A. ALI. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Vanderbilt University. TN. 31. TBMa. Kuala Lumpur. DONALDSON. RADFORD. Architectural Press. P. United Nations Population Division Report. Responsible attitudes are also needed to conserve water and reduce waste and recycle materials during the building construction and demolition processes. R. Experts estimate that as high as 60 percent global cut is necessary to halt global warming. Malaysia. NEWMAN. (2006). New York. New York. which seems to be a far cry at present (Smith. M. and an interactive power grid with the building’s energy generation system. McGraw-Hill.46-51. M. Awang et al. New York. SLOCOMBE. ZEIHER. (2002). humanism will define our future. By reducing both embodied and operational energy demands of tall buildings and the infrastructure. (1995).. PANK. a. A zero energy building may be achieved through high performance design. pp. Architecture in a Climate of Change: A Guide to Sustainable Design. L. March. (2007). Integrated Design of Safe Skyscrapers: Problems. tall buildings must become sustainable considering the environment. Market forces have begun to propel the governments and the private sector towards renewable energy in most industrialized countries with a few exceptions. Architectural Engineering Institute. M. Understanding Sustainable Architecture. M. K. and COX. Hoboken. H. (1993). Urban Habitat and High-rise. IL.. (1948). and LIPPE. Melbourne. 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The Shortfall of Tall: The Rise of Environmental Consciousness in Tall Buildings. 157-163. Architecture of Tall Buildings. The Skyscraper Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer.. March. The paper shows that high performance tall buildings are achievable by adopting the appropriate strategies. Theory and Design in the Second Machine Age. and BENNETTS. www.com. M. Oxford. (2003). LEPIK. and WILLIAMS. but the long-term lower operational cost makes it justifiable. Ceredigion.S. M. Challenges and Prospects.. London. H. intelligent buildings. The future of the built environment depends on the methods and techniques used by engineers and architects to design sustainable. MALIN. a symbiotic building within its context. Prestel Verlag. 402-404. Institute Sultan Iskandar. Battery Park City Authority. SMITH. Modeling the Swiss Re Tower. W. 283-303. and ARMSTRONG. Tall Buildings and Sustainability. L. Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History. March 29-April 1.. pp. Wiley-Academy Group Ltd. Sustainability of tall buildings must therefore be viewed as an integral part of the city’s sustainable growth. The best chance for the survival of the developed countries seems to lie with the built environment because buildings in use or under construction are the greatest single indirect source of carbon emissions. References ABEL. (1992). World Commission on Environment and Development. Rizzoli. A.com. M. WOOD. Whatever the future holds for the environment. the life-cycle energy consumption can be reduced. (2005). Sky High: Vertical Architecture. Integrated Buildings: The Systems Basis of Architecture. Lessons Learned: High Performance Buildings. A. Proceedings of the CIB-CTBUH International Conference on Tall Buildings. J. Process and Integration. ALI. 2001). al UNITED NATIONS (2001). P. International Energy Agency. pp.wirednewyork. SMITH. Building Integration Solutions. October. pp. NE. (2001). 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Whitney Library of Design. pp. Elsevier. (2007). London. American Society of Mechanical Engineers vol. Design & Construction. Biomass-Gasifier Steam Injected Gas Turbine Cogeneration. H. Energy Conservation of Moderately Tall Office Buildings. NJ. P. N. John Wiley & Sons. C. U. (2000).com. and ARMSTRONG. BEHR. Malaysia. M. (2001). N. GIEDION. (1996). and human needs. IEA (2003). and Innovation. R. Proceedings of the CTBUH 7th World Congress.Conclusions Despite evidence of global warming. Cambridge. U. Edwin Mellen Press. (2001). Australia. A Group Effort. Inc. Oxford.