The Economist on Green Building and Swiss Re Tower

gherkin_swiss_re_tower.JPGIf you have no idea how they figure an LEED rating (or even what it is), or if you're wondering where green architecture came from and where it's going, an article on The Economist's website is a great introduction. It's no fad, the article says: money savings on multiple fronts mean businesses will keep building green. The Gherkin—that's "pickle" to the Yanks and Swiss Re Tower if you want to get official about it—is the newest icon of the London skyline, joining St. Paul's, Tower Bridge, and Big Ben as a symbol of the city. It's popping up everywhere, including in advertising for the London Olympic bid. Why does TreeHugger care? Because the distinctive shape houses what architects Foster and Partners refer "London's first environmental skyscraper." Strikingly designed green buildings like this deserve to be iconic, and the Economist tells us we've got plenty more to look forward to.

If you've been keeping up with TH's architecture posts, you know all about the ways green buildings reduce energy consumption and, as a result, the electric bill. But there are other financial benefits motivating the trend, according to the article:

  • Natural daylight has been shown to increase workers' productivity. Lockheed Martin saw a substantial drop in absenteeism after moving to a green building. Schools with natural light often show increased student performance, too (as in Hanover, Pennsylvania).
  • Nothing hits a business like sales: natural light in a retail environment may also increase sales.
  • "Sick building" should be less common in buildings designed with their occupants' health in mind, leading to a reduction in legal liability costs.

When the savings start adding up, who wouldn't build green? Thanks to Evgeny Taranda for the tip! ::The Economist [by KK]


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