Sarah Buente

All across the world, LEED projects are reaching new heights. From the tallest LEED certified building in the world—to one of the most iconic buildings ever constructed—some of the most epic skyscrapers in the world are providing breathtaking views, while also embracing green building practices. Check out some of the most iconic buildings below and learn about some of their unique sustainability features.

TAIPEI 101 - Taipei, Taiwan

Project Details: 1,667 feet high, 101 floors

TAIPEI 101 became the tallest LEED certified building in the world and a industry leader in green building when it received LEED Platinum certification for LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance in 2011. A model for resiliency, the building was designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. Green building practices include energy efficient retrofit projects that have generated impressive results, including an annual reduction in energy consumption by 33.41 million kWh, cost savings of more than US$2 million per year and savings of about 28 million liters of potable water annually. These projects have ensured the building's leadership in the green building sector: the ENERGY STAR® database reported that TAIPEI 101 ranks in the top 30% of high-rise office buildings in the world.

Kingkey 100 Tower - Shenzhen, China

Project Details: 1,449 feet high, 100 floors. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.)

The tallest building in Shenzen and the 14th tallest in the world, Kingkey 100 was awarded LEED Gold certification for LEED Building Design and Construction: Core and Shell in 2013. The building contains office space and a hotel and was designed as a green model for the city by providing a building where people can eat, work, live and play, reducing overall demands on transportation. Sustainability features include notable reductions in water use, including a 40% reduction in baseline indoor water use, a 50% reduction in wastewater generation and a 100% reduction in potable landscape water use.

Jin Mao Tower - Shanghai, China

Project Details: 1,380 feet high, 88 floors. (Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons user cdschock.)

Built in 1999, Jin Mao Tower became the longest-operating LEED existing building project in mainland China when it certified at the LEED Gold level in 2013. The project is unique because the building's design embodies a traditional Chinese architectural style, while still using the world's latest architectural technologies. Conservation efforts at the Tower have resulted in 70% of all durable goods being used or recycled, and a 70% diversion of waste resulting from facility alterations and additions.

Two International Finance Center - Hong Kong, China

Project Details: 1,352 feet high, 88 floors. (Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons user ADTeasdale.)

Two International Finance Center serves as an icon for Hong Kong, setting quality and performance benchmarks for commercial buildings in Asia and represents Hong Kong's position as one of the world's leading financial centers. It was awarded LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance Gold certification. A key design feature of the building is its unique, almost column-free floors with low-e glazing that maximize natural light, while also minimizing solar heat gain and noise intrusion.

Empire State Building - New York City, U.S.A.

Project Details: 1,250 feet high, 102 floors. (Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons user Grenn Beltz.)

The tallest and most well known building in the U.S. to receive LEED certification, the Empire State Building was awarded LEED Gold certification for LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance in 2011. To meet the needs of 21st Century businesses, the building underwent a renewal and repurposing project to meet modern energy conditions. The projects success has been impressive  and energy efficiency measures implemented in the building have generated energy savings that beat forecasts. In 2012, the building saved $2.3 million on energy costs and $2.4 million in 2011, toping estimated savings by 4% and 5%, respectively. The Empire State Building is also carbon-neutral: in 2011, Anthony Malkin of the Empire State Building Company agreed to buy carbon offsets totaling 55 million kilowatt hours per year of renewable energy to achieve this.