The Sustainable High-Rise Building Renewables and Public Perceptions

Neveen Hamza


This chapter looks into how users and the public perceive the efforts in achieving sustainable buildings and the inclusion of renewable energy technologies. It is acknowledged that social acceptance underpins the interaction between policymakers, the public as community groups, and developers. Acceptance is usually based on perceptions gained from personal experiences, the media, personal information exchanges, and education. Wustenhagen et al. (2007) break down the concept of social acceptance into three interchanging levels; sociopolitical acceptance, market acceptance, and community acceptance. The sociopolitical nexus influences government policies for incentivization schemes, distinctions between permissible planning, or the need for full planning approval applications. Case studies show how community acceptance plays a significant role in promoting failures and successes achieved when using passive architectural design as opposed to the inclusion of various renewables technological in high-rise public. Renewable technologies are more scrutinized by the public as a perception of the technologies’ maturity, reliability, and their perceived visual intrusion in urban areas.

Key sustainable high-rise buildings achieving high sustainability accolades are chosen as case studies, with a professional understanding of the efforts needed to meet the strenuous criteria of BREEAM and LEED. In the UK, the voluntary code ‘Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method’ ‘BREEAM’ ( consists of a set of strategic principles and requirements which define an integrated approach to the design, construction, management, evaluation and certification of the environmental, and social and economic

N. Hamza (*)

School of Architecture, Planning and landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, UK e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 A. Sayigh (ed.), Sustainable High Rise Buildings in Urban Zones, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-17756-4_6

impacts across the full life cycle of the built environment. It is not publicized as a mechanism to boost public perception of sustainable buildings. Contrary to BREEAM, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the USA, state on their home webpage that gaining a LEED award publicizes sustainability and boosts public appreciation of Green Buildings as a rating system. LEED advocates its impact on public perception leading to the encouragement and acceleration of global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood, accepted tools and performance criteria. It is changing the way we think about how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained, and operated. (http://www. An analysis of newspaper articles, social media, and tweets is used to identify shifting public attitudes to these structures and their objectives. This chapter contests that not all buildings meeting these high standards have been appreciated by the public. Diverse case studies such as the Federal building in San Francisco by Metamorphosis-2008, the Lion House in Northumberland England, Strada in London, and the green building in Temple Bar-Dublin are considered as examples of technical achievements of sustainable design but tepid public enthusiasm. This chapter considers the varying public responses to passive architectural solutions and renewable energy technologies of greater and lesser intrusive visual natures. Those that are more visually intrusive include those technologies with moving parts; those that demand substantial need for structural interventions and alterations, and with less evidence of their efficiency, such as urban wind turbines.

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