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Can Airports and Gas Stations be Green Buildings?

New buildings claiming environmental friendliness and/or LEED certification are popping up every day, but it's important to remain wary of greenwashers.

Green Building Elements has a list of some of the most ridiculous green buildings on the planet, including Logan Airport Terminal A, the Nestle Pure Life Water Bottling Plant, and BP's Helios House Gas Station.

Despite being LEED certified and having solar panels, the Logan Airport Terminal remains unsustainable for one simple reason: airplanes emit massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Similarly, Nestle's bottling plant is also LEED certified— if it wanted to be truly sustainable, however, it would stop bottling water and encourage people to drink from the tap. And while BP's Helio House Gas Station contains solar panels, a rainwater collection site, and LED lighting, it still sells petroleum.

But as easy as it is to criticize these buildings, we should remember that there are plenty of airport terminals, bottling plants, and gas stations that don't make any effort towards sustainability. As long as these institutions exist, even baby steps should be recognized.

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