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From skyscrapers to office blocks, these award-winning buildings use sustainable ideas and tech

Key Points
  • From intelligent air-conditioning systems to automatic lighting, the buildings that we live and work in are changing.
  • Many of these innovations are helping to boost the environmental credentials of buildings.
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Whether it's intelligent air-conditioning, smart-meters that monitor energy consumption or automatic lighting systems, the buildings that we live and work in are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Many of these innovations are helping to boost the environmental credentials of buildings, making them more energy efficient and sustainable.

This is good for the planet and could be economically beneficial too. According to the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group, the potential of green buildings is significant.

In a foreword to a 2019 report, the organization's Director of Climate Business, Alzbeta Klein, wrote that green buildings represented "one of the biggest investment opportunities of the next decade — $24.7 trillion across emerging market cities by 2030."

Here, CNBC takes a look at three winners of the BREEAM Awards 2020, which were announced at the beginning of March.

BREEAM is a sustainability assessment method from the Building Research Establishment that covers infrastructure, masterplanning projects and buildings. The international awards are used to highlight "the most innovatively sustainable BREEAM-rated buildings".

Centre Point Tower Redevelopment, U.K. 

Cristian Storto Fotografia | iStock Editorial | Getty Images

One of the most iconic developments in London, Centre Point is made up of a 385-foot tower, a smaller block and a bridge that links the two larger structures together.

Construction on Centre Point finished in 1966 but a major refurbishment took place in 2015. A former office space, the Tower is now home to high-end residential flats.

According to BREEAM, the refurb involved the installation of a "high-performance glazing system". The development also uses low nitrogen-oxide boilers and water-source heat pumps. Within the apartments themselves, automatic control systems allow residents to adjust things such as lighting, ventilation and temperature.

COFCO Landmark, China

Located in Beijing and completed in 2018, COFCO Landmark is a complex of three office buildings.

Used by COFCO — or the China Oil and Foodstuffs Corporation — the development boasts a number of sustainable features.

These include elevators that remain in "standby mode" when not being used; a system that monitors and manages energy; and real-time monitoring of water use.

London School of Economics, Centre Buildings Redevelopment, U.K.

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Based in central London, the London School of Economics (LSE) is one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Work on its 13-storey Centre Building finished last June with a construction cost of £78 million ($96.28 million).

The building was designed by architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

Last September Tracy Meller, a partner and architect at the business, said the building "harvests rainwater and utilises a biomass boiler and PVs (photovoltaics) as part of its renewable energy strategy." Photovoltaics refers to a type of technology which directly converts light from the sun into electricity.