WASHINGTON - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment have named the Top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green building design solutions for 2008. The projects highlight the design innovations and sustainable strategies used to reduce energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, and improve building functionality.
These efficient buildings draw on a variety of energy-saving technologies, including daylighting, passive solar heating, natural ventilation, thermal mass, earth berms, and green roofs. For mechanical heating, the buildings draw on a range of technologies, including a wood-pellet boiler, radiant floor heating, and ground- and air-source heat pumps. Other HVAC technologies include demand-controlled ventilation, and four of the buildings employ displacement ventilation, which provides air at more moderate temperatures at low velocities, in a way that gradually displaces the stale air in the room with the fresh ventilation air. One of the Top 10 buildings, the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, even features “Earth tubes,” pipes buried below the foundation to moderate the temperature of incoming ventilation air.
The buildings range from a temporary, modular building for exhibits to a high-rise condominium. Most are institutional buildings, including a library, a visitor center, two K-12 school buildings, two university buildings, and the headquarters for a foundation.
The AIA’s Top Ten Green Projects program is sponsored in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Star program. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2008 National Convention and Design Exposition in Boston, scheduled for May 15-17.