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Glassy skyscrapers are at the centre of a new controversy

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Tridel and city agency Build Toronto, which are redeveloping 10 York Street at a cost of $295-million, are researching how to incorporate “thermal breaks” between inside and outside floors, to help contain energy within a new, 75-storey residential tower.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

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The 82-storey Aqua Tower in Chicago has won rave reviews for its sleek, curvy look, but has come under fire for its environmental downsides: Its uninsulated concrete slab floors sweep seamlessly from Aqua’s interiors to its exterior balconies, allowing for heat escape.

Lawrence Okrent/Associated Press

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Horten Law Firm, Copenhagen, by Danish architecture firm 3XN, finds sustainability via its façade geometry and orientation on the site, which has resulted in an estimated 10-per-cent energy savings over comparable office building of its size.

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Manitoba Hydro Place, by KPMB Architects and Thomas Auer of Transsolar Climate Engineering, is designed to achieve 60-per-cent energy savings using passive energy sources, offering a model for energy-efficient, human-centred design for Winnipeg’s extreme climate.

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The Marilyn Monroe-esque Absolute Towers in Mississauga, Ont., include so-called thermal breaks between inside floors and outside balconies, to help prevent energy waste.

Ryan Enn Hughes/

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