As green roofs grow in popularity for their ability to reduce heating and cool costs, as well as reduce storm water runoff, they are becoming more popular in tropical climates.
The Enkyo Medical and Social Center in Sao Paulo, Brazil is one such building. Recently recognized with a Holcim Award for sustainable building in 2008, this building combines extensive passive features, such as a green roof, to reduce energy costs by approximately 80% of traditional buildings.
The building will be located in the Asian Quarter, known as Liberdade, and be half medical center and half social center. This locality will support both the Brazilians of Japanese origin and not. Further, the social center is designed to bring older, non-Portuguese speaking Brazilians in closer contact with their Portuguese speaking neighbors.
The building is also unique for its use of ground water in the cooling system which otherwise would have been pumped away. Additionally, the use of perforated metal screens on the building allow maximum sunlight with minimum glare, reducing the electricity costs for lighting. The architectural firm who designed the building, Shieh Arquitetos Associados, hopes these passive elements will be replicated throughout Brazil.