China’s First Green Skyscraper

The Pearl River Tower, an environmentally-smart building and landmark within the Guangzhou skyline, has passed LEED-CS platinum certification. The 71-story skyscraper is the first project in Guangzhou to achieve LEED-CS platinum certification, and is considered China’s first true green skyscraper and the greenest building in China.

China’s First Green Skyscraper Guangzhou.Rising at the heart of Pearl River New City, the 214,000-square-meter Pearl River Tower has garnered global attention for its innovative green initiatives, including zero energy consumption.

According to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), the tower’s sleek, aerodynamic form was developed through a careful understanding of solar and wind patterns around the site. The design optimizes the solar path and utilizes the sun to the building’s advantage. One of the most notable features is the tower’s sculpted design, which directs wind to a pair of openings at its mechanical floors, pushing turbines to generate energy for the building. Other sustainable design and engineering elements— including radiant ceiling cooling system, solar panels, double-glazing curtain wall, demand-based ventilation air, and daylight responsive controls — all contribute to the building’s energy efficiency.

China’s First Green Skyscraper Guangzhou.
Source: Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM)

While many of these sustainable attributes have been incorporated individually into skyscrapers around the world, the Pearl River Tower design represents the first time that they are used collectively. The Wall Street Journal dubbed it “one of the world’s most energy-efficient commercial office towers” and the BBC called it the “world’s greenest tower.”

The Pearl River Tower has housed a number of multinational enterprises, including ABB (China), Otis (China), Carrier, SGD Asia Pacific, Regus, Ford Motor, HBA Design, Alpine Electronics (China), Chugai Pharma, PCM (China), Jotun Group, CITIC Securities, Shenyin & Wanguo Securities, CNINSURE Inc., China Railway Oil, China Huaneng and Ping An Group.