Top 10 Green Projects Take AIA Honors

MONDAY, MAY 13, 2013

Cool roof technologies, zero-VOC paints, and tight building envelopes are just a few of the “green” features showcased in 10 projects newly recognized by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment.

The projects will be honored at AIA's 2013 National Convention and Design Exposition, scheduled for June 20-22 in Denver, CO, AIA announced.

In its 17th year, the COTE Top Ten Green Projects program is the “profession’s best-known recognition program for sustainable design excellence.” In announcing the winners, AIA said the projects reflected an integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technologies.

AIA’s descriptions below give a brief summary of the projects. More information is available by clicking on the name of the project/firm name.

The Green List

Charles David Keeling Apartments; La Jolla, CA

The design of this project capitalized on the favorable environmental features, while moderating or eliminating the undesirable ones. This led to a building envelope that uses thermal mass to buffer temperature changes, minimizes solar gain, and naturally ventilates.

Water scarcity is managed through a comprehensive strategy of conservation and reuse, including on-site wastewater recycling.

A vegetated roof—an unusual feature in this dry climate—absorbs and evaporates rain that falls on that part of the building, with overflow directed to courtyard retention basins.

Clock Shadow Building; Milwaukee
Continuum Architects + Planners

Clock Shadow
© Tricia Shay

This project involved cleaning up a brownfield site that was difficult to develop. The continental climate provides large swings in temperature and humidity, necessitating passive strategies.

Those include Southern-facing windows with sun screens that maximize insolation of the sun during cooler months and operable windows that let fresh air into the building, allowing occupants to effectively turn off the heating and cooling systems during swing months.

To gain the most efficiency from the HVAC systems, the project utilizes a geo-thermal system, drilled directly below the building, which stabilizes the temperature of the conditioned water used to heat and cool the spaces.

Federal Center South Building 1202; Seattle
ZGF Architects LLP

Current energy models predict that this building will operate at a “net zero capable” Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 20.3 kBtu/SF/year, performing 40 percent better than ASHRAE 2007. The building will earn an ENERGY STAR Score of 100 and comply with 2030 Challenge goals.

Federal Center
© Benjamin Benschneider

The project is one of the first in the region to use structural piles for geothermal heating and cooling, as well as a phase-change thermal storage tank.

Two new products, chilled sails and open office lighting, were developed and manufactured specifically for this project to help achieve aggressive energy targets. To optimize the use of the available reclaimed timbers, the team designed, tested, and constructed the first wood composite beam system in the United States.

Marin Country Day School Learning Resource Center and Courtyard; Corte Madera, CA

About 95 percent of spaces in this project are day lit and naturally ventilated. Night-time operation of the cooling tower and an underground water tank provide active thermal storage, for daytime cooling.

© Josh Partree

The design of the building envelope includes air tightness detailing and the use of fire-treated wood stud framing to minimize thermal bridging. Walls were constructed with 2x8 and 2x10 wood studs (rather than conventional steel studs) to minimize thermal bridging and provide ample insulation.

This building is designed to achieve an EUI of 6.74 kbtu/sf/yr, including the energy generated by the PV array, and to use less than half as much energy as California’s strict energy code.

Merritt Crossing Senior Apts.; Oakland, CA
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

The roof area of this complex has a cool roof surface and uses both solar water panels and photovoltaic panels. Ground-floor spaces benefit from the full-height storefront system that provides ample daylight and transparency to the outdoors.

These windows are also thermally broken and have high-performance glass. The windows are shaded in summer by either exterior sunshades or an overhang from the second floor.

Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments
© Tim Griffith

With no mechanical air conditioning, cooling is achieved by a low-volume ventilation system augmented by ceiling fans in each habitable room. The site has a 94 walkability rating, an 82 transit rating, and an 86 bike-friendly rating from

A New Norris House; Norris, TN
College of Architecture & Design, UT Knoxville

At 1,008 square foot, this production house is less than half the size of a typical home in the U.S. “Rightsizing” reduced material and operational loads and costs, and shifted funds to quality design and construction, passive strategies and high-efficiency systems. The dormer and skylight are placed so daylight is reflected and diffused.

New Norris House
© Ken McCrown

Zero-VOC paint color is warm white with a punch of red-orange hidden within the swing space to produce a warm glow from reflected light. Low-E glass and translucent blinds provide further control over heat, glare and privacy. All interior rooms are daylit. Electric lighting is integrated with cabinetry and includes low-energy LEDs.

Pearl Brewery/Full Goods Warehouse; San Antonio
Lake Flato Architects

This 67,000-square-foot LEED Gold warehouse includes passive solutions including open breezeways, which were carefully oriented to prevailing summer breezes and supplemented with large ceiling fans. Large light monitors oriented to the north provide natural daylight to the breezeways, while the south wall of the cupola is open to allow hot air to escape as it rises.

Pearl Brewery
© Lake Flato

Rainwater captured from roofs coupled with recycled water is used to irrigate the landscaping on site, eliminating the need for potable irrigation water. Highly efficient ductless minisplit systems were installed to condition indoor spaces. These systems can serve multiple zones using only one outdoor unit, and allows individual control of the air conditioning in each room.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters (SFPUC); San Francisco
Joint Venture: KMD Architects with Stevens & Associates

The building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification and will exceed California’s recently-instituted Title 24 requirements for energy efficiency in new office buildings by 55 percent according to SFPUC estimates.

© Bruce Damonte

The building will produce up to 7 percent of its own power needs from renewable photovoltaic and wind sources; will provide $118 million in energy cost savings over 75 years; and will require 45 percent less energy to illuminate the interior through daylight-harvesting and advanced lighting design, compared to typical Class A office buildings.

The SFPUC consumes 60 percent less water than similarly sized buildings and is one of the first buildings in the nation with on-site treatment of gray and black water.

Swenson Civil Engineering Building; Duluth, MN
Design Architect: Ross Barney Architects
Architect of Record: SJA Architects

As an educational facility with a curriculum that directly impacts the natural environment, the building overtly exposes sustainable systems and materials. Seventy-three percent of the site is devoted to pervious materials and landscaping, reducing site detention requirements.

© Ross Barney Architects

An extensive green roof with native plants covers 22 percent of the roof, reducing storm water rates and filtering impurities. Storm water is directed from the roof to three scuppers and into above ground cylinders filled with rocks for filtering. Storm water eventually makes its way to a French drain system of underground water storage pipes for retention. The site lighting is minimal, and all fixtures are equipped with full cut-off optics.

Yin Yang House; Venice, CA
Brooks + Scarpa

This sound passive design strategy combined with a very tight perimeter building envelope and other active sustainable features such as the 12kw solar system make this home a zero-energy consumption home. It produces 100 percent of its energy needs and since completion, has never received an electric bill.

Yin Yang House
© John Edward Linden

The design maximizes the opportunities of the mild, marine climate with a passive cooling strategy using cross-ventilation and a thermal chimney. A large cantilevered roof overhang shades all the bedrooms from direct sunlight while providing ample natural light and ventilation.

The project also has green roofs, its own storm water retention system, and retains 95 percent of roof storm water on site.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Awards and honors; Building Envelope; Building envelope; Cool roof coatings; Design; Green building; Zero-VOC

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