In commemoration of Earth Day, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) named the top ten greenest buildings in America. The AIA says that buildings on the list “make a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts”.
Check out this year’s winners to see their novel strategies for creating sustainable buildings:
1. Charles David Keeling Apartments; La Jolla, California – KieranTimberlake
Built to capitalize on the site’s favorable features, the Keeling apartments use thermal mass to combat temperature changes and regulate the building’s temperature.
2. Clock Shadow Building; Milwaukee - Continuum Architects + Planners
Designed to work with the continental climate changes associated with the mid-west, the Clock Shadow building employs passive climate control strategies to mitigate energy consumption.
Photo: Tricia Shay
3. Federal Center South Building 1202; Seattle - ZGF Architects LLP
The U.S. Federal Center South Building is one of the first structures in the North West to use structural piles for geothermal heating and cooling. Other new technologies like chilled sails and open office lighting were developed specifically for this project.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider
4. Marin Country Day School Learning Resource Center and Courtyard; Corte Madera, California - EHDD
The Marin County Day Schools construction includes 2x8 and 2x10 fire-treated wood studs to provide an excellent thermal envelope. To cut down on energy consumption, 95 percent of the indoor spaces are day lit.
Photo: Josh Partee
5. Merritt Crossing Senior Apts.; Oakland, California - Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Cooling for the Merrit Crossing Senior apartments is achieved through the use of thermally broken windows, high performance glass, exterior sunshades and a low-volume ventilation system that is passed around the structure by ceiling fans.
Photo: Tim Griffith
6. A New Norris House; Norris, Tennessee - College of Architecture & Design, UT Knoxville
The New Norris House chooses quality over quantity, opting for a home half the size of a median home, reducing the much of the environmental impact of building on the usual scale. In addition the home is day lit thought out the daytime and night lighting is done by low-power LEDs.
Photo: Ken McCown
7. Pearl Brewery/Full Goods Warehouse; San Antonio - Lake Flato Architects
Open breezeways oriented to capture the prevailing winds, rainwater collectors that irrigate the landscape and a passive cooling channel that allows cool air to flow through the open structure all underscore the Gold LEED design for the 67,000 square foot Pearl Brewery.
Photo: Lara Swimmer
8. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters (SFPUC); San Francisco -Joint Venture: KMD Architects w/ Stevens & Associates
Over course of the next 75 years SFPUC will save $118 million in energy costs by producing 7% of its own power through its photovoltaic and wind power sources. In addition the building will use 60% less water than building of its same size.
Photo: Bruce Damonte
9. Swenson Civil Engineering Building; Duluth, Minnesota - Design Architect: Ross Barney Architects - Architect of Record: SJA Architects
The Swenson Civil Engineering building makes the most of its water resources. From its extensive green roof, storm water is funneled through three scuppers into a series of cylindrical receptacles where it is filtered by rocks. After filtration the water passes into the building’s French drain system where it is stored for retention.
Photo: Kate Joyce Studios
10. Yin Yang House; Venice, California - Brooks + Scarpa
The Yin Yang House’s 12kW solar system and passive cooling design help to make this a truly zero energy consumption home (it’s never received an energy bill). To further reduce the load on the home’s solar power system the structure’s large cantilevered roof shades all of the home’s bedrooms.
Photo: John Linden