AIA Names Top 10 Green Building Projects

AIA Names Top 10 Green Building Projects

Their purposes vary -- schools, condominiums, even a non-profit headquarters -- but their sustainable architecture and green building innovations scored 10 projects from across the country a nod from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The AIA and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) named the Top 10 Green Projects that exemplify new heights in the integration of architecture, natural systems and technology. The projects were judged on community contribution, occupant comfort and reduced environmental impact.

“All of the projects succeed in all the measures,” said Henry Siegel, COTE chair. “Some projects demonstrated true innovation in one or more measures, and all of them help illustrate how much farther the design and construction community will need to go in the coming years to reach truly sustainable design.”

The projects include the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans. The existing building was stripped, expanded by a third and redesigned 14 months after Hurricane Katrina on a modest budget at $189 per square foot. The building includes systems for thermal zoning, variable shading, moving air and cooling.

The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wis., which is the first building designated carbon neutral in operation, serves as the headquarters for the Aldo Leopold Foundation. At 12,000 square feet, the project is comprised of several structures surrounding a central courtyard to make it easier to manage energy use.

The Nueva School’s Hillside Learning Complex in Hillsborough, Calif., sports a green roof, drought-tolerant landscaping and a 30-kilowatt solar energy system that delivers nearly a quarter of the building’s energy needs.

Boston’s Macallen Building Condiminiums will use 30 percent less energy than a conventional building, and water technologies will save more than 600,000 gallon each year. The project is striving for LEED-Gold certification.

Additional winners include:

  • Cesar Chavez Library in Laveen, Ariz., which was designed to combat the region's desert conditions with an overhang serving as a shield from the sun, a rainwater collection system that partially irrigates a 40-acre park and properly shaded windows to reduce solar gains.
  • Discovery Center at South Lake Union in Seattle, which was designed to be demountable in order to be reconfigured and reused based on the needs of nearby residential neighborhoods.
  • Garthwaite Center for Science and Art at the Cambridge School of Weston in Boston, which includes 55 sustainability goals, such as renewable energy and zero wastewater discharge. The building is LEED-Platinum designed.
The Internal Revenue Service's Kansas City Service Center earned an honorable mention for its ability to service 80 percent of workspaces with natural light, and underfloor air system which allows sections of the building to be turned off during slow parts of the year.