Top Ten Green Building Projects
Top Ten Green Building Projects:
There are few organizations who’ve been more closely tracking the evolution of green building over the last decade than the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA/COTE). Each year, they round up the best projects they’ve seen and evaluate them according to a rigorous set of measures and metrics. Ten emerge victorious as the year’s top projects. A couple of this year’s winners will be familiar to Inhabitat readers, as we’ve noted their superior greenness in the past including The EpiCenter, shown above, and others…
The EpiCenter in Boston, home of Artists for Humanity, was recognized for its huge PV array, rain catchment system and vigilant use of recycled building materials; and for achieving all this with a non-profit budget on an inner-city site.
Kieran Timberlake Associates won an award for their Sidwell Friends Middle School project in Washington, DC. This one has a green roof and artificial wetland which reduce storm runoff, and lessen the facility’s need for water from the municipal supply. They’ve also paid attention to students’ transportation needs, siting the school near public transit, adding bike storage and placing parking underground to keep open spaces free for foot traffic and landscaping.
And of course the perennial center of sustainable building attention, Ray Kappe and LivingHomes‘ green prefab royalty, the Z6 House. I never actually knew it was officially called “Z6″ — we always refer to it simply as “LivingHome” — but it turns out Z6 represents the home’s “six zero” goal: zero waste, zero energy, zero water, zero carbon, zero emissions, and zero ignorance. The home is LEED platinum certified, which is something to be proud of, and built to be replicated, which means platinum prefabs will soon start to multiply.
Of those that haven’t been covered here before, one that stood out was the Heifer International headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. The plans for this facility were carefully infused with the aim of embodying Heifer’s values as an international non-profit which addresses hunger and poverty. “The project team’s goal was to design a sustainable headquarters that would exemplify Heifer’s mission and sustainable attributes for educational purposes and allow all employees to work as equals…Part of a four phase master plan for a brownfield site, the building was conceived as a series of concentric rings expanding outward from a central commons. The architecture weaves wetlands with people at work, expanding environmental stewardship into the public realm while serving as a beacon of hope.” These projects all reflect the fact that as the green building evolves, so must our definition of “green.”
Every year we look forward to the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment’s (AIA/COTE) top picks for the best green building projects of the year. This year’s selections are a showcase of sustainable design approaches that balance functional aesthetics with environmental consciousness. Each winning design has been evaluated under a comprehensive list of measures from community connectivity, to energy efficiency, to longevity of purpose. Those that have risen to the top of the AIA/COTE list for 2008 are examples of successful programs that, through extensive collaboration, have achieved low-impact structures that fuse architectural excellence with environmental stewardship.
The Cesar Chavez Library, from Line and Space (above), was recognized for its design innovations that deal with the unique desert climate of Laveen, Arizona. Met with the dual challenge to prioritize water and energy conservation, this design uses elements like extensive overhangs, roof-top rainwater collection and earth berm construction to lower the building’s energy load. The building provides naturally lit spaces for a 25,200 sq. foot library that greets 6,400 visitors per week.
Another project in this year’s top ten is one that we’ve featured here on Inhabitat, the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Wisconsin designed by Kubala-Washatko Architects. This design was in the spotlight as the first LEED Platinum, carbon neutral building and was also recognized with an accolade from the Forest Stewardship Council for using sustainably-harvested timber throughout the structure – 78% of the wood used was FSC-certified and 92% of those materials were locally processed and harvested on site.
Earth Advantage Institute, a leading nonprofit green building resource and research organization that has certified more than 11,000 sustainable homes, today announced its annual selection of top ten green building trends to watch for over the next 12 months.
The trends, which range from “affordable green” to lifecycle analysis of materials, were identified by Earth Advantage Institute based on discussions with a range of audiences over the latter part of 2010. These sectors included policymakers, builders, developers, architects, real estate brokers, appraisers, lenders, and homeowners.
Each year, the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment (COTE) awards ten super sustainable structures. Most of the winners are located in the United States, however one winner is in Canada and another in Saudi Arabia.
Located in Thuwal Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) designed by global architectural firm HOK. This building has been selected as one of the 2010 “Top Ten Green Projects” by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).
The annual awards program honors sustainable projects resulting from an integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology. This building is a new international, graduate-level research university established to drive innovation in science and technology and to support world-class research in areas such as energy and the environment.
The existing building was stripped to the concrete frame, expanded by 33% and redesigned with a variety of environmental systems. The hot and humid New Orleans climate is further tempered with strategies for expanding the comfort zone; including programming for thermal zoning, and technically innovative systems for variable shading, moving air and radiant cooling. Despite its high ambitions, the project had a modest budget and was completed for $189/SF, fourteen months after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Tulane sees the project as a new model for sustainable design in New Orleans.