Necessary Preconditions for Sustainable High-Rise Buildings Design

Until recently, tall buildings were mega-scale energy consumers with little regard for sustainable architecture. However, this is changing with a new generation of high-rise buildings that have been designed with energy conservation and sustainability as their principal criteria (Ali and Armstrong 2006; Ali and Armstrong 2008) The sustainable design of high-rise buildings should be paid more attention because high-rise buildings consume a large amount of natural resources and energy (Xu et al. 2006). This started already in the early 1990s with passive design. Passive design is essentially low-energy design achieved by the building’s particular “morphological organization” (Yeang 1999). The Menara Mesiniaga in Subang, Malaysia, designed by Hamzah and Yeang in 1992, presents an early model building for the physical translation of ecological principles into high-rise architecture. The fifteen-storey tower expresses its technological innovations on its exterior and uses as little energy as possible in the production and running of the building. Ecological design, for Yeang, involves “the holistic consideration, of the sustainable use of energy and materials over the life-cycle of a building ‘system’, from source of materials to their inevitable disposal and/or subsequent recycling” (Powell 1999).

Sustainable design aims to meet the requirements of the present without compromising the needs of future generations by encouraging the use of renewable resources, alternative strategies for energy production and conservation, environmentally friendly design, and intelligent building technology. Intelligent building refers to a building that has certain intelligent-like capabilities responding to preprogrammed stimuli to optimize its mechanical, electrical, and enclosure systems to serve the users and managers of the building (Yeang 1996). The sustainability of a design for a high-rise building can be evaluated in the framework of international certification systems which have various sustainability criteria classifications aimed to minimization of environmental impacts of buildings (Gultekin and Yava§batmaz 2013). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one of the leading internationally recognized certification systems developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (Heller 2014). It guides designers to apply methods for meeting the criteria for sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources in terms of ecological sustainable design; the criteria for efficient use of resources and low operating cost in terms of economical sustainable design; and the criteria of indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process in terms of sociocultural sustainable design. Gultekin and Yava§batmaz (Gultekin and Yava§batmaz 2013) examined 13 LEED certificated high-rise buildings that are now in use: Bank of America Tower-New York 2009, The Visionaire Building-New York 2008 and Taipei 101 Financial Center-Taipei 2004 have LEED Platinum certificate; Conde Nast Building-New York 1999, The Helena Building-New York 2005, Eleven Times Square Building-New York 2007, 7 World Trade Center-New York 2007, 555 Mission Street Building-San Francisco 2009, Comcast Tower-Philadelphia 2008, Hearst Tower-New York 2006, and Solaire Building-New York 2003 have LEED Gold certificates; One South Dearborn Building-Chicago 2005 has LEED Silver certificate; and 30 Hudson Street Building-New Jersey 2004 has LEED certificate. According to results of the evaluation (Gultekin and Yava§batmaz 2013), ecological, economical, and sociocultural sustainable design criteria are largely met in the examined LEED certificated tall buildings. The compliance with sustainable design criteria for the examined LEED Platinum certificated tall buildings is 99 %; for LEED Gold certificated tall buildings 97 %; for LEED Silver certificated tall buildings 92 %; and for LEED certificated tall buildings 76 %. These examples show the possibilities of sustainable design for tall building design. While the concept of sustainability is becoming accepted, there is little worldwide consensus on what specific actions should be taken: an ecologically sensitive perspective, an energy-efficient approach, a bioclimatic approach, or a technology-conscious perspective (Utkutug 2004). Even up to now many different approaches are suggested (Mendis 2013; Jin et al. 2013; Navaei 2015; Milana et al. 2014; So et al. 2014; Raji et al. 2014).

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