Green building is growing at a rapid pace. Rather than one-off, high-tech, sustainable buildings, many governments have something a bit larger in mind—sustainable city centers. One such community was the focus of the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Msheireb Downtown Doha is a $5.5 billion project that will be one of the largest sustainable communities when completed. Consultants, architects, and academic professionals came together throughout the course of three years to implement an original language for the project.

The experts’ objective was to understand how insights from the past can be combined with present-day technologies and thinking to achieve a new Qatari architectural language.

The project began in 2010 and phased construction is scheduled between 2012 and 2016. On average, the buildings in this particular project will be 32% more energy efficient than conventional city structures.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, which took place in Doha, Qatar, beginning November 26 and lasting until December 8, focused on finding ways to deliver on its objectives to speed up global action toward a low-emission future.

One of the big talking points at the convention was the development and transfer of technologies to help developing countries adapt and curb emissions.

Smart technologies can help reduce the amount of energy used throughout the lifecycle of a building. Now, governments are looking to make city centers sustainable, resulting in a significant savings. As another example, Envision Charlotte is a public-private partnership in Charlotte, N.C., that is using technologies to allow participating office buildings in the city’s center monitor and manage energy usage.

As governments look at ways to make cities more sustainable, technology will certainly have a large role to play. It will be interesting to watch as these ‘green’ cities become more widespread and ultimately see the quantifiable return of the energy-efficient technologies in the buildings.