A new look at building our future

Green Buildings

  • February 2021
  • 5 Minute Read
Sustainable TransportationAndo Investing

Plus, five of our favorite sustainable structures you must see!

When you think of a “green” building do you imagine high-rises in NYC with garden roofs, growing trees, and lush patches of grass decorating the sky amongst a concrete jungle? Or do you think of your local nursery's greenhouse growing sun-seeking succulents? Well, one of those is close.    

Buildings historically (and inherently) have a carbon footprint. According to the United Nations Environment Program, building structure and construction account for over 36% of global energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions annually. Even if you cut your power use, your cute 1950’s apartment might not be so eco-conscious after all. The movement to build better for the sake of saving our planet has been gaining momentum, from non-VOC paints to bamboo and recycled steel.   

By definition, a green building is yes, a building, that its design, construction, or operation, actively (and positively) impacts our climate—and nature as a whole. Whether it’s residential housing, commercial construction, or public property, the goal of this type of sustainable architecture is to preserve our natural resources and improve our quality of life, while helping to fight climate change. But what truly makes a building sustainable and LEED-certified (the most widely used green building system in the world)?   

It starts with efficiency—an efficient use of energy, water, and other resources along with the use of renewable energy, like solar. Tiny home or hotel, apartment building or corporate office, a green building must have good, indoor environmental air quality while leveraging materials that are non-toxic, ethical, and sustainable. Then we have the architecture, the wow factor, which can make any green building a sustainably beautiful, futuristic site to behold. The environment must be considered in the design/construction, and consideration of the quality of life must be built into how the occupants will use the space.   

While there are guidelines to what constitutes a green building, not all structures are created equal (we will show you that below). Everything from climate to cultures can influence the look, feel, and purpose of sustainable architecture—and that’s what makes green, clean construction even more compelling and extra cool!  

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

The Museu do Amanhã (The Museum of Tomorrow) is an innovative, futuristic architectural feat that marries culture with magic (a mirror pool makes it look like the museum is floating). Constructed in 2015, the ethereal design of the museum is inspired by the Carioca culture and embraces the relationship between a bustling city and the native, natural environment.   

Its sustainable attributes include incorporating natural energy and light sources. Adjustable, fin-like photovoltaic solar panels take full advantage of the sun rays to supply power to the building, and water from the surrounding bay is used to cool and regulate the internal museum temperature. 


The Vertical Forest focuses on sustainability at its roots—improving air quality in the surrounding area and city, while providing homes for over 1,600 species of birds and butterflies.

- Stefano Boeri Architetti
How small changes make big differences

Milan, Italy

Bosco Vericale (Vertical Forest) are deluxe condominiums designed straight out of a biodiversity storybook. Uniting humanity with other living species, these living quarters were built to accommodate the presence of plants. No, we aren’t talking flower boxes. Full-grown trees, shrubs, and an assortment of floor coverings bring flora and fauna to the city skyline. But the green façade isn’t just about an award-winning design.   

The Vertical Forest focuses on sustainability at its roots—improving air quality in the surrounding area and city, while providing homes for over 1,600 species of birds and butterflies. Its construction has even employed “Flying Gardeners” or arborist climbers, who care for the jaw-dropping greenery.  

Seattle, Washington

The Bullitt Center is anything but your average office building. Making sustainability its No. 1 mission since 2013, this six-story structure is the “greenest office building in the world.” From rainwater harvesting to a regenerative elevator, the Bullitt Center has led the high-performance green building revolution.    

Featuring 575 solar panels, this office produces more energy than it uses in a year. Plus, all energy on-site comes from renewable resources so powering your computer empowers a cleaner tomorrow. The Bullitt Center was built to be net-zero and eight years later, it’s still going planet-saving strong. 


Singapore’s architecture is simply stunning and Robinson Tower, known as 18 Robinson, is its crowning, carbon-neutral jewel. Aligned with the extremely strict sustainability standards that this city has implemented (new projects must include public green spaces to replace any greenery removed to construct the building), 18 Robinson blends mind-bending design with breathtaking environmental elements.  

The biggest benefit of this newer structure is natural light. The design takes full advantage of the available sunlight which helps the trees and lush plants flourish—reducing the power needed for artificial lighting. Plus, the public can visit an enclosed, roof-top garden and enjoy open-air gardens above retail shops.  

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Convention Centre West is the epidemy of an urban ecosystem. Located in Vancouver’s waterfront neighborhood, the 1,200,000 square foot sustainable structure is the world’s first LEED platinum of its kind. At first, you’ll notice the expansive roof covered in plants and grass to reduce/retain heat based on the season, but this architectural wonder offers so much more.   

The convention center is built on columns over the water, allowing for a natural marine ecosystem to thrive. But it’s not all about the sea life here. Four honeybee colonies and its 240,000 inhabitants call the six-acre living roof home, which hosts over 400,000 indigenous plants the bees pollinate all while making honey for the convention center restaurant. It sure is sweet to be a green building!   

From epic apartment buildings to mystifying museums, green buildings take on a whole new life as they help to save the world by helping to eliminate carbon emission through innovative design.

At Ando, you get a world-class banking experience and a commitment that 100% of our investments will actively reduce emissions, empowering you to fight back against climate change. 

Written by:

Brittany Raine Parry

Brittany is a well known lover of all things, but she is most notably known for being: Copywriter. Environment Advocate. Editor. Journalist. Marketer. Strategist. Storyteller. Creative content connoisseur with a wealth of diverse experiences. Challenges accepted.

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