Smog-eating Skyscrapers


Problem: cities often produce excess air pollution through the energy consumption of its buildings and transportation networks, and the problem is exacerbated by limited green space and lack of carbon-absorbing plant life.

Solution: building vertically by integrating ground-level plants and foliage that absorb carbon dioxide and help maintain thermal comfort for building occupants.

  • a new skyscraper in Taipei is designed to hold 23,000 trees and shrubs on its facade, roof, and balconies.
  • the plants are projected to absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
  • the building is twisted (modeled after a DNA strand) which helps maximize daylighting and natural ventilation in an effort to reduce the energy consumption of its inhabitants


  • cities, especially those with major air pollution issues, and their municipal building departments
  • architects and landscape architects
  • developers

First 3 steps:

  • survey the performance of the building (and similar projects worldwide) over a period of time to measure its impact on energy savings, air quality, occupant health, and maintenance costs compared to a baseline building model
  • present the findings to city building departments to propose changes in building codes that will facilitate similar designs for new construction projects
  • spread awareness to architects and developers




5 thoughts on “Smog-eating Skyscrapers

  1. I think this is a great idea, and it is so easy to implement. Hopefully more skyscrapers will use this technology in the future. This will also somewhat limit the effect the fossil fueled cars and other machines have on the environment as a percentage of the CO2 will be absorbed by the skyscrapers.


  2. We had a similar topic as a group project in Professor Bose’s Cost Benefit Analysis class- living or biowalls/roofs are a great way to manage energy, however there are some other factors to be considered regarding the actual maintenance costs of these solutions. Imagine the vermin, bugs etc. that may get attracted to these roof plants/forests and the rising pest control costs, use of pesticide etc

    I am a big proponent of the idea of vertical forests and green roofs, i wonder if there is a technology out there that can avoid the added costs of maintenance, pest control etc.


    • Thanks for your comment – perhaps maintenance concerns can be alleviated with simple existing technology such as standard screen windows/doors and by planting only native plant species that are easy to care for.


  3. I really love this post on green skyscrapers. While it does have the benefit of removing tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, the building still shows the significant gap needed to maintain the high levels over air pollution within the city. It was interesting that the article also discussed how plants and green life is also incorporated within the floor structure of the building as well as the other areas that you mentioned.


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