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AIA’s Top 10 Green Designs Emphasize Efficiency, Stewardship

Friday, April 15, 2011

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In designs ranging from schools to sewage plants, natural systems and technologies figure prominently in the top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green-design solutions, as interpreted by AIA and its Committee on the Environment (COTE).

The featured projects will be recognized at the AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition, scheduled for May 12-14 in New Orleans.

In its 15th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is the profession's best-known recognition program for sustainable-design excellence, AIA said.

In announcing the winners, AIA said the projects reflect sustainable-design principles by:

• benefiting their communities;

• improving comfort for building occupants; and

• reducing environmental impacts through technology and strategies such as the reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality.

The Top Ten

Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

This urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate housing project was designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle.

The design maximizes the opportunities provided by the mild, Southern California climate with a passive cooling strategy. Together with high-efficiency LED and electric lighting, photo and occupancy sensors, and natural daylighting, the design maximizes energy efficiency.

All of the total regularly occupied building area is day lit and can be ventilated with operable windows. A combination of cool roof covered in solar panels, green roof and blown-in cellulose insulation complete an efficient building shell exceeding California Title 24 by 47%.

First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, Wis.
The Kubala Washatko Architects Inc.

 First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, Wis.

 Kubala Washatko Architects Inc./Zane Williams

 First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, Wis.

The 20,000-square-foot addition to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed national historic landmark Meeting House is approximately 40% more efficient than a comparable base-case facility. The new building design features recycled-content and locally-sourced materials.

Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, Kan.
BNIM Architects

 Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, Kan.

 Farshid Assassi

 Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, Kan.

Following the devastating tornado that destroyed their town and schools, Unified School District 422 chose a bold strategy to combine their schools into a single K-12 facility that would align with the town's sustainable comprehensive master plan. The facilities design optimizes daylighting and natural ventilation in all classrooms, which increases student academic performance/potential and focus.

High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista, Calif.
Studio E Architects

This public-charter school serving 550 students in grades 9-12 with an approach rooted in project-based learning uses a building-management system that integrates a weather station, and monitors and controls the lighting and mechanical systems of the facilities in addition to the irrigation and domestic water systems. This optimizes thermal comfort, indoor air quality and lighting levels, and conserves energy and water.

LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, Texas
Lake|Flato Architects

The adaptive reuse of a 1950s-built warehouse transformed the concrete tilt-wall building to provide a multi-functional office space. Nearly 90% of the materials from the demolition of the dilapidated warehouse were recycled and used in the new design.

In order to allow for the most engaging open-office environment, the team replaced the roof’s center bays with north-facing clerestory windows that harvest ample diffused daylight for the core workspace. No toxic chemicals are used in or around the building in accordance with green housekeeping and landscape procedures adopted by the LIVE STRONG Foundation. Achieving LEED Gold certification, the project reflects the foundation’s mission “to inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”

LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, Wash.
The Miller | Hull Partnership

LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, Wash.

 Nic Lehoux

 LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, Wash.

While most sewage-treatment plants are invisible to their communities and separated by a chain-link fence, the LOTT Clean Water Alliance Regional Service Center is a visible and active participant in the public life of Olympia.

Different strategies were utilized to control solar heat gain, improve the energy performance of the building, and introduce daylight and provide views. Methane generated from the plant’s waste-treatment process is used in a cogeneration plant to generate electricity and heat. The heat is used directly in the building through a low-temperature water loop connected to water-source heat pumps, thus eliminating the need for a boiler, cooling tower, or geothermal field.

OS House, Racine, Wis.
Johnsen Schmaling Architects

 OS House, Racine, Wis.

 John J. Maculay

 OS House, Racine, Wis.

Occupying a narrow infill lot in an old city neighborhood at the edge of Lake Michigan, this LEED Platinum home demonstrates how a small residence built with a moderate budget can become a confident, new urban constituent. Taking advantage of the lake breeze and the site’s solar exposure, outdoor rooms were created to reduce the house’s depth, allowing for maximum natural cross-ventilation and daylight to wash the inside.

Research Support Facility (RSF) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, Colo.
RNL Design

With the goal of creating the largest commercial net-zero energy structure in the country, the building is meant to serve as a blueprint for a net-zero energy future and influence others in the building industry to pursue low energy and net-zero energy performance. NREL and the Department of Energy’s goal is to transform innovative research in renewable energy and energy efficiency into market-viable technologies and practices.

A Durability + Design story on the facility can be read at High-Tech Systems Add up to Net Zero at New DOE Facility.

Step Up on 5th, Santa Monica, Calif.
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)

This mixed-use project provides 46 studio apartments of permanent affordable housing and supportive services for the homeless and mentally disabled population in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. The density of the project is 258 dwelling units/acre, which exceeds the average density of the Manhattan borough of New York City by more than 10%.

The building is located in a transit-oriented location with access to community resources and services, providing a healthy living environment for residents and using resources efficiently. Based on California Title 24-2005, the building is nearly 50% more efficient than a conventionally designed structure of this type.

Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia
Design Architect: LMN Architects, Prime Architects: DA/MCM

 Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia

 Nic Lehoux

Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia

As the world's first LEED Platinum convention center, this project is designed to bring together complex ecology, vibrant local culture and urban environment, embellishing their inter-relationships through architectural form and materiality.

The living roof, at six acres, is the largest in Canada, hosting some 400,000 indigenous plants. Free cooling economizers can provide cooling for most of the busy season for the convention centre. The heating and cooling is provided by high-efficiency sea-water heat pumps powered by renewable hydro electricity. The interior is fitted throughout with CO2, VOC, and humidity sensors that can be monitored in conjunction with airflow, temperature, and lighting controls to optimize air quality on a room-by-room basis.

More information: Full Top Ten announcement.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects; Architects; Architecture; Color; Design; Green building

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