Learning from the highest performing buildings in the world

June 7, 2023 Published by Tritech Engineering

High-performance buildings are energy-efficient, use sustainable materials, and provide a healthy indoor environment for occupants. They often incorporate renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power too.


At Tritech we are always evaluating new products, technologies and innovative solutions that could help engineers, developers, designers and property owners to improve and optimise the performance of their buildings. Often that means looking at construction projects in other parts of the world. Because we can take inspiration from those buildings employing the newest innovations in smart technology and latest thinking in energy efficient solutions to see what elements we can introduce into our own approaches.


So we thought we’d share with you five of the standout examples from around the world we’ve been learning more about in our research; all of them high-performance buildings that prioritise energy-efficiency, use sustainable materials, and provide a healthy indoor environment for their occupants. 


Most Sustainable Building: The Edge, Amsterdam

This building in the heart of Amsterdam is reputed to be one of the most sustainable buildings on the planet. Boasting more than 28,000 sensors, it is also one of the smartest. Its structural core is made from heat-capturing and energy-producing materials like wood and concrete that allow for natural heating and cooling to occur within the building itself.

The Edge employs an innovative sun shading system that helps to reduce glare and increase energy conservation, with occupants able to monitor and regulate the level of light and humidity in the facilities. All 15 floors are powered by rooftop solar panels, while rainwater harvesting systems and electric car charging points reduce its carbon footprint, with its green roof adding a layer of insulation.


Self-Sufficient Building: The Crystal, London

Located in London’s Royal Victoria Dock, the main objective of this building is to achieve maximum sustainability and self-sufficiency. Powered by a combination of renewable energy sources including solar, wind, and geothermal, it produces a zero carbon footprint.

Occupancy sensors detect movement and adjust lighting to maximise energy-efficiency, while water-saving showers, toilets, and other fixtures contribute to sustainability. The building also has a range of energy-saving and energy-generating features, including an electric vehicle charging station, a wind turbine, and photovoltaic panels.


Carbon-Neutral Achievement: The Pixel, Melbourne

A carbon-neutral building that uses solar panels, wind turbines, and a green roof to generate energy, The Pixel possesses an impressive array of sustainable design technology and innovation. Natural means of ventilation help optimise the building’s energy consumption. The façade adapts to the building’s needs with smart window technology that allows the windows to open automatically on cold nights so cool air can refresh the structure.

The Pixel is also engineered to be water-balanced, which means it can disconnect from the mains water supply and be self-sufficient for all its water needs (not including drinking water). To reduce the Pixel’s embodied carbon, the design incorporated low-carbon concrete and recycled sustainably sourced building material. 


Comfort and Sustainability combined: KPMG Headquarters, Amsterdam

The design of this building combines sustainability and comfort. Natural ventilation, passive cooling, and natural light play central roles in reducing energy usage and creating a pleasant environment. The building also features rooftop solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, and a greywater recycling system, which help reduce water usage and energy consumption. Characterised by its curved façade, the building is made of glass panels that help reduce the wind pressure on the building and minimise its energy consumption.

Net-Zero Success: The Bullitt Center, Seattle

This net-zero, six-story, 50,000 square foot office building was designed with the ambition to be the world’s greenest commercial building. Amongst its sustainability features are composting toilets, the exclusion of 350 common toxic chemicals (including PVC, lead, mercury), and a strict energy and water budget that aims for self-sufficiency. Its rainwater collection system feeds a 200,000-litre-plus cistern in which the water is filtered and disinfected. Aerobic composters recycle human waste so odourless and efficiently that extractions are only required every 18 months.

The building’s rooftop array of photovoltaic panels produce around 230,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to meet its energy needs, while its 13-foot-high ceilings and 10-foot-high windows contribute to an airy space that maximises natural daylight.


Innovation is what inspires our work at Tritech

Iconic buildings like these are testament to the environmental and economic benefits of sustainable building design. The excellence and innovation in the thinking behind these projects demonstrates the immense potential of sustainability. From initial Life Cycle Assessment to the ongoing maintenance of plant and equipment, Tritech is driven by your Zero Carbon goals.

Sustainability and high performance is at the core of how we deliver value to our clients as a socially responsible company. Discover more about how the Tritech sustainability team incorporates outstanding thinking and the use of smart, energy-efficient technology in our own design ideas and engineering approaches on our Green Projects page.