Sustainable Skyscrapers


Energy, air quality, water systems, design, form.

How to Cite

Al-Kodmany K. Sustainable Skyscrapers: A Review of Green Features. Int. J. Archit. Eng. Technol. [Internet]. 2021Oct.8 [cited 2022Jan.16];8:37-51. Available from:
Received 2021-08-29
Accepted 2021-09-17
Published 2021-10-08


Increasingly, architects and engineers are interested in pursuing sustainable design. Yet, they lack sources that summarize best practices. As such, this review paper maps out and examines prominent examples of "sustainable" skyscrapers of varying geographic locations, climates, and socio-cultural contexts. It discusses the design themes and green features of "LEED skyscrapers" and elaborates on recent developments in architecture and engineering. The presented 12 case studies do not intend to evaluate LEED rating systems. Instead, they illustrate how LEED has advanced the green design agenda and encouraged the pursuit of innovative design and engineering solutions. The mapped-out green features in this article should be helpful to all professionals interested in green architecture.


The United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2021 Revision, United Nations, New York, NY,

Wood A. 100 of the World's Tallest Buildings, Images Publishing, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia; 2015.

Al-Kodmany K, Ali MM. The Future of the City: Tall Buildings and Urban Design, WIT Press, Southampton, U.K.; 2013.

Beedle L, Ali MM, Armstrong P J. The Skyscraper and the City: Design, Technology, and Innovation, Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY; 2007.

Abbood IS, Jasim MA, Sardasht SW. High Rise Buildings: Design, Analysis, and Safety ‒ An Overview. International Journal of Architectural Engineering Technology, 2021; 8: 1-13. DOI:

Kim TY, Lee KH. Suggestions for Developing Integrated Risk Assessment Method for High-Rise Buildings in Korea: Based on Analysis of FEMA's IRVS, 2018; 5: 1-9. DOI:

Short M. Planning for Tall Buildings, Routledge, New York City, 2013.

Binder G. Tall Buildings of China. Mulgrave, Images Publishing, Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia, 2015.

Al-Kodmany K. The Sustainable City: Practical Planning and Design Approaches, Journal of Urban Technology. 2018; 25(4): 95-100. DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2018.1521584

Al-Kodmany K. Tall Buildings and the City: Improving the Understanding of Placemaking, Imageability, and Tourism. Springer 2020. NYC. DOI:

Krummeck S, MacLeod B. Density our strength, The linear city in practice, CTBUH Research Paper, 2016; 272-280.

Yeang K. Saving the Planet by Design: Reinventing Our World Through Ecomimesis, W.F. Howes, 2020.

Yeang K. The Skyscraper Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer, Wiley-Academy Group Ltd., 1996.

Yeang K. Designing with Nature: The Ecological Basis for Architectural Design, New York: New York, McGraw-Hill; 1995.

Du P, Wood A, Stephens B, Song X. Life-Cycle Energy Implications of Downtown High-Rise vs. Suburban Low-Rise Living: An Overview and Quantitative Case Study for Chicago. Buildings, 2015; 5: 1003-1024.

Oldfield P. The Sustainable Tall Building: A Design Primer, Oxford, UK: Routledge; 2019.

Al-Kodmany K. The Vertical City: A Sustainable Development Model. WIT Press: Southampton, U.K., 2018.

Al-Kodmany K. Eco-Towers: Sustainable Cities in the Sky, WIT Press, Southampton, U.K., 2015.

Wood A. Best Tall Buildings 2013, CTBUH International Award Winning Projects, Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, New York and London, 2013.

Al-Kodmany K. Green towers and iconic design: Cases from three continents, International Journal of Architecture and Planning Research, 2014; 8(1): 11-28. DOI: 10.26687/archnet-ijar.v8i1.336

Ali MM, Moon KS. Structural developments in tall buildings: current trends and future prospects, Architectural Science Review 2007; 50(3): 205–223.

Robinson J, Safarik D. Learning from 50 Years of Hong Kong Skybridges, CTBUH Journal, 2014; 3: 21-24.

Moon KS. Comparative Evaluation of Structural Systems for Tapered Tall Buildings, Buildings, 2018; 8(18): 1–14. DOI:

Ilgın HE. Potentials and Limitations of Supertall Building Structural Systems: Guiding for Architects. Ph.D. dissertation, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; 2018.

Tsang T. The Development and Construction of Megatall, CTBUH Journal, Issue III, 2014; 23-24.

Barkham R, Schoenmaker D, Daams M. Reaching for the sky: The determinants of tall office development in global gateway cities, CTBUH, Journal I, 2017; 20-25.

Al-Kodmany K. Sustainability and the 21st Century Vertical City: A Review of Design Approaches of Tall Buildings. Buildings, 2018; 8(8): 102. DOI: 10.3390/buildings8080102

Yeang K. Designing the eco skyscraper: premises for tall building design, Journal of the Structural Design of Tall and Special Buildings 2007; 16(4): 411–427. DOI: 10.1002/tal.414

Wang J, Yu C, Pan W. Life cycle energy of high-rise office buildings in Hong Kong, Energy & Buildings, 2018; 167: p. 152–164. DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2018.02.038

Gan VJ, Cheng JC, Lo IM, Chan C. Developing a CO2-e accounting method for quantification and analysis of embodied carbon in high-rise buildings, Journal of Cleaner Production, 2017; 141: 825-836. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.09.126

Beatley T. Vertical city in a garden, Planning, the Magazine of the American Planning Association, January 2016; 64-69.

Lavery M. Sustainable integration of tall buildings and the urban habitat for the megacities of the future, CTBUH Research paper, 2016; 92-100.

Bunster-Ossa IF. Reconsidering Ian McHarg: The Future of Urban Ecology, Island Press, Washington, D.C., 2014.

Al-Kodmany K, Ali MM. An Overview of Structural and Aesthetic Developments in Tall Buildings Using Exterior Bracing and Diagrid Systems, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, 2016; 5(4): 271-291.

Yeang K. Ecoskyscrapers and ecomimesis: new tall building typologies, Proceedings of the 8th CTBUH World Congress on Tall & Green: Typology for a Sustainable Urban Future, A. Wood (ed.), CD-ROM, 2008; 84–94.

Goncalves JCS. The Environmental Performance of Tall Buildings, Earth Scan, London 2010. DOI:

Al-Kodmany K. Understanding Tall Buildings: A Theory of Placemaking, Routledge, New York City 2017. DOI:

Al-Kodmany K. Tall Buildings and Elevators: A Review of Recent Technological Advances, Buildings 2015; 5(3): 1070-1104.

Wood A, Salib R. Natural Ventilation in High-Rise Office Buildings, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York and London, 2013.

Al-Kodmany K. The Sustainability of Tall Building Developments: Conceptual Framework. Buildings, 2018; 8(1): 7. DOI: 10.3390/buildings8010007

Al-Kodmany K. Skyscrapers in the Twenty-First Century City: A Global Snapshot, Buildings 2018; 8(12): 1-45.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2021 Kheir Al-Kodmany