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2015 Green Buildings of North America

As the popularity of the LEED certification program becomes more popular and our society becomes more green, some really amazing buildings have been created that convey those values. But even among the many exceptional designs constructed every year, there are a few that go above and beyond to prove that not only is green living economical, but it's beautiful as well. Here are the top ten green buildings constructed in North America in 2015 that made the AIA Committee on the Environment's top ten list:

1. Federal Center South Building 1202 - Seattle, Washington

Federal Center South Building - Seattle, Washington

This 209,000 square foot building for the Army Corps of Engineers had several challenges to overcome. Construction involved a series of tightly-packed fast-track phases, meeting an absolute minimum of LEED Gold Certified requirements and incorporating contractually-bound minimum performance ratings.

2. CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

This LEED Platinum structure provides 174,300 square feet of metallurgical testing and research lab space. The project sought a 70% reduction in energy consumption, very ambitious given the location and sheer square footage of the design. It incorporates in-slab radiant heat, displacement ventilation and solar power to meet the goal.

3. Collaborative Life Sciences Building - Portland, Oregon

Collaborative Life Sciences Building - Portland, Oregon

With the price of real estate in Portland, maximizing the space in this building was vital to its success as a teaching and research space. It incorporated a brownfield site, reducing the impact to the local environment, and incorporated a roof that significantly reduced stormwater runoff. It's one of only two Platinum-certified structures over half a million square feet in the US.

4. E+ // 226-232 Highland Street Townhouses - Boston, Massachusetts

E+ // 226-232 Highland Street Townhouses - Boston, Massachusetts

When it comes to a green living space that has all the amenities of the city, these townhomes provide excellent options. The four townhomes in this project, each at 1,850 square feet and three stories, provide three bedrooms, two and a half baths, easy access to public transportation and an awesome backyard to enjoy.

5. Hughes Warehouse Adaptive Reuse - San Antonio, Texas

Hughes Warehouse Adaptive Reuse - San Antonio, Texas

This project involved the creative repurposing of an early 20th century plumbing warehouse into studio space. Though there was some challenge in maintaining the open feel of the warehouse and the 18 foot ceilings, a 1,500 square foot courtyard was added to increase green space in the location as well as providing a great opportunity for floor to ceiling windows for excellent daylighting options.

6. Military Medical Hospital - San Antonio, Texas

Military Medical Hospital - San Antonio, Texas

As one of the nation's top military hospitals, San Antonio's Military Medical Hospital needed a serious addition in space. This 750,000 square foot space delivers that but also provides great green construction. It provides a solar orientation to prevent solar heat gain while incorporating design elements from the existing brick structure without making the space overwhelming.

7. New Orleans BioInnovation Center - New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans BioInnovation Center - New Orleans, Louisiana

As a location for biotech startups, this lab and research center provides easy access to public transportation, the French Quarter, the Treme neighborhood and several downtown college campuses. Careful design provides the same performance at 1/3 the energy of a similar structure.

8. Sweetwater Spectrum Community - Sonoma, California

Sweetwater Spectrum Community - Sonoma, California

A community for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the community was designed with the needs of that population in mind. Features were added to improving energy efficiency, incorporating a lot of green spaces, acoustic control and thermal comfort to reduce external stimuli that often cause emotional upset for those with the disorder.

9. Tassafaronga Village - Oakland, California

Tassafaronga Village - Oakland, California

Formerly a 7.5 acre brownfield site with poorly-maintained public housing, the village takes a unique approach to construction, incorporating heavy timber with concrete and steel elements. It adds nearly 180 new residential units for low-income families while maintaining a strong energy-efficient operation.

10. The Bullitt Center - Seattle, Washington

The Bullitt Center - Seattle, Washington

Designed to meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge, this 52,000 square foot office building spreads out green construction on six floors. Each design element was carefully considered, using metrics to provide a forecast of future performance while creating a self-sustaining, zero impact building.

11. University Center – The New School - New York City, New York

University Center – The New School - New York City, New York

Packing 400,000 square feet of studios, academic space and residential living into New York City isn't easy, but the New School does it with grace and amazing efficiency. Thermal energy storage was developed to reduce the impact on the city's power grid while a 13,500 square foot green roof prevents runoff while providing wildlife habitat and green spaces for students and faculty alike.

These amazing buildings have a lot to offer, especially as inspiration for future projects. Are you considering pursuing a LEED Accredited Professional Certification? Sign up today to get our free guide to the LEED AP process or contact us with any questions you have about green products for your next environmentally friendly project.

LEED Accredited Professional BD+C Contractor Guide

Images Courtesy: American Institute of Architects

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