Tall and Sustainable Is Not an Easy Fix

Skyline of high rises at night

We have a long way to go to make taller buildings an earth saving panacea.

June 1, 2020
Christopher G. Hill - Construction Law Musings

Way back in 2009, I discussed the interaction between taller and taller buildings and sustainable (“green”) building. Back then, the reference was to the construction of skyscrapers in the Middle East and Europe. The initially referenced ENR article was written in the context of an urban retrofit of some of Chicago’s taller buildings to make them more sustainable.

Just this week, ENR published another article relating to sustainability and super tall buildings. The gist of the article is that while many see taller (rather than wider) as the trend to meld an urban population explosion with more sustainable building practices, this goal is not an easy one to meet.

For one, according to the article, energy performance metrics are hard to obtain, both due to the relative newness of these buildings and the seeming reluctance of certain owners to provide the data. Bob Pratt, a managing director in the Shanghai office of developer Tishman Speyer Properties, is quoted in the article, stating

Once we have measuring sticks about performance, we will know what to do” to make buildings sustainable.

Mr. Hill may be contacted at chrissghill@constructionlawva.com


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