The Taipei 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan. The Taipei 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan. The Taipei 101 building in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo: Chris/Flickr)

10 futuristic eco-buildings from around the world

LEED-certified structures are both visually impressive and environmentally friendly.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a rating system that encourages eco-conscious design and construction of green buildings. Thanks to the creative vision and innovation of architects around the globe, there are now a number of amazing LEED-certified buildings that don't need to consume energy to be visually impressive. Here's a roundup of 10 of the coolest.


Helios House Gas Station.Helios House Gas Station. (Photo: Detlef Schobert/Flickr)

Helios House Gas Station (Los Angeles, California) Los Angeles, California's Helios House is the first gas station in the United States to ever receive LEED certification. It started selling BP gasoline in 2007, switched to ARCO in 2010, and has become a landmark in the city since its creation. Designed by Office dA and Johnston Marklee Architects, Helios House's roof is made from recyclable stainless steel and houses solar panels as well as grass and cacti. It also uses LED lighting to reduce energy consumption, bathroom sinks are made from recycled aluminum shavings, and there's even on-site recycling of paper, bottles, cell phones, and cans.


Philip Merrill Environmental Center.Philip Merrill Environmental Center. (Photo: theregeneration/Flickr)

Philip Merrill Environmental Center (Annapolis, Maryland) Owned and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Philip Merrill Environmental Center is the first building in the United States to receive the LEED Platinum certification. Built in 2001, it houses the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters, but also serves as the place for the foundation's one-day field programs (and is even available to the public for rental).


The Crystal in East London.The Crystal. (Photo: Robert Pittman/Flickr)

The Crystal (East London, England) Designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, along with Arup Group Limited and Townshend Landscape Architects, the Siemens-owned-and-operated building The Crystal is the world's first to receive certification from both LEED (Platinum) and BREEAM (Building Research Environmental Assessment Methodology). Not only does The Crystal contain an exhibition about sustainable development, but its surrounding landscape (which is actually public open space) was created to foster the idea that a sustainable urban landscape can be a really cool thing.


Tel Aviv's Porter School of Environmental Studies.Porter School of Environmental Studies. (Photo: Chris Tackett/Instagram)

Porter School of Environmental Studies (Tel Aviv, Israel) In May, Israel's very first LEED Platinum certified building opened in Tel Aviv. The Porter School of Environmental Studies may be the youngest on this list, but its features are without compare. The building's green roof and solar panels provide solar power (which will heat the building during the winter) and rainwater catchment, while the Porter School will also employ a wastewater recycling system. The ventilation system is completely computer-controlled, and the building's iconic Capsule sits in the middle of the school to provide a unique educational space.


Apogee Stadium.Apogee Stadium. (Photo: Runfellow/Wikimedia Commons)

Apogee Stadium (Denton, Texas) Apogee Stadium opened in 2011 to replace Fouts Field as the place where the University of North Texas' "Mean Green" football team plays. It's also the first newly built stadium to achieve LEED Platinum status by using environmentally-friendly technology. Apogee has its own water retention system and also includes three wind turbines (which generate wind power for the stadium's electrical grid, providing about a third of its energy needs).


Manitoba Hydro Place.Manitoba Hydro Place. (Photo: joevare/Flickr)

Manitoba Hydro Place (Manitoba, Canada) Manitoba Hydro Place became LEED Platinum certified in 2012, becoming the only office tower in Canada to receive said certification. It was also, at the time, the most energy efficient tower in North America. Serving as the headquarters for Manitoba Hydro (Manitoba, Canada's electric power and natural gas utility), the building includes south-facing winter gardens that provide solar energy during winter months as well as enormous amounts of glass that increases the tower's natural lighting.


David L. Lawrence Convention Center.David L. Lawrence Convention Center. (Photo: Roy Luck/Flickr)

David L. Lawrence Convention Center (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Opened in 2003, the Pittsburgh-based David L. Lawrence Convention Center is a massive (1.5 million square foot) building that houses conferences, conventions, and exhibitions. It also has the rare distinction of being the first LEED Gold-certified convention center in the world when it was built, and then the first to achieve Platinum status in 2012. It has also served as a backdrop to some television shows like JustifiedSmith, and Three Rivers that have all filmed in the location.


Abad Nucleus Mall.Abad Nucleus Mall. (Photo: Neon at ml.wikipedia)

Abad Nucleus Mall (Maradu, Kochi, India) India's very first LEED certified mall (LEED has given it gold certification), Abad Nucleus Mall is a colorful shopping utopia that opened in November 2010 in Maradu. It's 280,000 square feet of space is spread across six floors that feature pretty much any type of shop you can think of: Clothing, baby items, home decor, books, music, sports, shoes, food, and even a 6D movie theater.


Taipei 101 in the distance at night.Taipei 101 in the distance at night. (Photo: Daniel Aguilera Sánchez/Flickr)

Taipei 101 (Taipei, Taiwan) Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, Taiwan's iconic skyscraper now goes by the apt moniker Taipei 101 to signify its 101 floors above ground (it also has 5 floors underground). Not only is the building the tallest and largest LEED building in the world (it was awarded LEED Platinum certification in July 2011), but it was simply the world's tallest building until Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai in 2010.


Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.Soldier Field. (Photo: Michael Baird/Flickr)

Soldier Field (Chicago, Illinois) The famous home of football's "Monsters of the Midway," the Chicago Bears, Soldier Field underwent major renovations in 2003, but it wasn't until 2012 that it gained the distinction of being the first NFL stadium to be LEED certified. In addition to having on-site recycling for cans, bottles, light bulbs, cell phones, and other items, the folks at Soldier Field also reuse all soil and sod removed from the playing field during re-sodding, use green cleaning chemicals, and even have free charging stations for electric vehicles in their North Parking Garage.

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