Most experts agree that a LEED Platinum certification or the equivalent is the standard for sustainable designs that clearly identify the best energy and water efficient buildings. Other systems for rating green building are Green Star in Australia, DGNB in Germany, BREEAM in the UK, and CASBEE in Japan. Generally accepted as the leading international standard, LEED ratings are being used to rate projects throughout the world.
By recognizing what constitutes the best green standards and how well a design translates into actual performance, we can gather data to be used for future projects. Engineers, architects, and builders have taken the challenge and are moving forward to create greener office buildings, homes, and industrial parks.
It is recommended that the decision to build green is done as early as possible in the design stage as even the site choice can be a factor. It will help to reduce costly missteps down the road.
A few examples of some of the greenest buildings in North America are:
• Bank of America Tower, New York City – currently holds the distinction of being the only skyscraper with a Platinum LEED rating in the U.S.
• Genzyme Center in Cambridge, Mass. – has a beautiful 12-story central atrium that allows for 75% of the employees to work in natural light.
• Twelve West in Portland, Ore. – is equipped with four 45’ high wind turbines mounted on the roof and provides 9,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year.
• Charles David Keeling Apartments, La Jolla, CA – receives extra points for utilizing the building’s site to its maximum potential and regulating temperatures with thermal mass.
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