Check out these pioneers in green architecture
By Brynn Mannino Posted April 21, 2010 from WomansDday.com
The U.S. Green Building Council was the first organization to establish a green rating system called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to publicly reward buildings that meet eco-friendly construction standards. The initiative has led to the certification of more than 14,000 projects and sparked other eco-friendly green rating systems. Whether these buildings were the first of their kind for any LEED certification at all, or reached new highs in LEED standards—the ratings go from the lowest of silver then gold and platinum—join in our celebration of Earth Day with these environmental trendsetters.
First Hospital: Boulder Community Hospital
In 2004, Boulder Community Hospital’s newly constructed Foothills Campus became the first LEED-certified hospital facility—a huge feat considering the strict health and safety standards. Cool features include motion-activated lights, recycling rooms, extensive landscaping to reduce the need for freshwater irrigation, and waterless urinals. Photo courtesy of Boulder Community Hospital.
First Church: Keystone Community Church
This nontraditional worship center, located in Ada, Michigan, didn’t want to look like a church. Instead, the goal was to create a welcoming sanctuary, which was finally completed in 2004. The organization’s most notable contribution to a sustainable environment is its setting—open high ground in the middle of a heavily wooded 35-acre site, intended to help construction workers avoid significant tree clearing and create a natural buffer between the church and neighboring communities. Photo courtesy of Rockford Construction.
First Presidential Library: Clinton Presidential Center
After its completion in 2004, the Clinton Presidential Library was recognized with a silver LEED certification. After installing a green roof to control temperatures and provide a habitat for plants, it was elevated to a platinum LEED certification in 2007, the only federally maintained facility to receive this recognition. With over 300 solar panels energizing the building, it uses 34 percent less energy than others of comparable size. The facility recycles 95 percent of its waste and features renewable resources, like bamboo flooring. Photo courtesy of Clinton Presidential Center.
First Manufacturing Facility: GM Lansing Assembly Plant
General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant, completed in 2006, was the first to receive LEED certification. Its eco-friendly features include a 1.5-million-square-foot roof made of white polymer to reduce heat absorption (and the cost to cool the building) and a roof draining system, which collects water above the restrooms to flush toilets. Photo courtesy of GM Corp.
First NYC Office Building: Hearst Tower
The Hearst Tower, which houses the publishing company’s various magazines, is the first LEED-certified office tower in New York City. Completed in 2006, the structure is covered in low-E glass, which floods the space with natural light while keeping out the heat. It also employs a “diagrid” system (four-story triangles on the tower’s façade) to decrease the amount of steel needed by 20 percent. Photo by Cupeles.
First LEED Gold-Certified Public High School: Northland Pines High School
This 253,000-square-foot school in Eagle River, Wisconsin, was constructed in 2006 with recycled materials from the original structure. It cost $116 per square foot to build, instead of the national median cost of $150 per square foot, and uses daylight-harvesting high ceilings with low-E glass. Not only is this greener, but studies have shown natural light improves learning, student performance, attendance and teacher morale. Photo courtesy of Hoffman LLC.
First Parking Garage: Santa Monica Civic Center
The Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure is the first LEED-certified parking lot. Completed in 2007, it boasts seven and a half levels with 900 parking spaces—14 of which are devoted to electric vehicles. The garage is equipped with rooftop photovoltaic panels, which generate electricity; efficient fluorescent lighting, which reflects off white ceilings; structural steel that contains up to 68 percent post-industrial recycled content; recycled glass; and bicycle storage lockers. Photo by John Edward Linden, Design by Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners and International Parking Design.
First McDonald’s: Location in Savannah, GA
Adding a glimmer of green to the golden arches, this Savannah, Georgia–based McDonald’s is situated smack dab in the middle of the LEED-certified retail center Abercorn Common. The restaurant, which became the first of the chain to support environmental sustainability in 2007, is 75 percent lit by natural light and sits under a heat-reflecting white roof and sustainable basin, which recycles rainwater for irrigation. It also boasts bike racks and preferred parking for hybrids. Photo courtesy of Melavar Inc.
First Gas Station: Helios House
Looking a bit out-of-this-world with its heat-reflecting steel and geometric shape, this Los Angeles BP gas station is lessening its carbon footprint. Completed in 2007, the station is crowned with light-reflecting solar panels, a rainwater collection system and a roof garden that grows cacti. Included in the experience is a trained staff eager to share their ideas on eco-friendly living. Photo courtesy of BM Construction.
First LEED Platinum-Certified Skyscraper: Bank of America Tower
Hovering above Bryant Park in New York City, this 54-story skyscraper, completed in 2008, was built with recycled materials obtained within a 500-mile radius of NYC, and has floor-to-ceiling windows, which work to both insulate and light the structure. The midtown mainstay is also fitted with an on-site power plant, an under-floor air delivery system for natural ventilation and an in-house water system that saves 10.3 million gallons of water each year. Photo courtesy of Travis Seifman via flickr.com.
First LEED Silver-Certified Major League Stadium: Nationals Park
Nationals Park, home to the Washington Nationals, is also host to a number of notably green components. Completed in 2008, its proximity to the Anacostia River—which flows through Maryland and Washington, DC, before emptying into the Potomac River—was its eco-friendly inspiration. To keep the river clean, the architects developed a unique irrigation system around the stadium to screen, separate and filter all water before it flows into connecting sanitary and storm water systems. Photo courtesy of cliff1066 via flickr.com.
First NYC Museum: Brooklyn Children’s Museum
This family destination reopened in 2008 with a new 21st-century look, more space and eco-friendly recognition. The now L-shaped, two-story funhouse, constructed with renewable and recycled materials like bamboo and rubber flooring, boasts an annual visitor capacity of 250,000 to 400,000. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
First Dunkin’ Donuts: Location in St. Petersburg, FL
In 2008, Dunkin’ Donuts did more than introduce the Egg White Veggie Flatbread; it also opened its first LEED-certified restaurant. Meant to serve as a prototype for the company’s future green construction projects, its energy-efficient features include concrete foam walls to reduce air-conditioning use by 40 percent and motion sensors in bathrooms and offices to curb electrical costs. The store also serves coffee in paper cups and donates leftover baked goods to a local food bank. Photo courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts.
First LEED Platinum-Certified Home: Pasadena EcoHouse
Completed in 2009, this self-insulating concrete structure, designed by StudioRMA and located in Southern California, is built mainly of Structural Concrete Insulated Panels (SCIPs), and is meant to appear as if it rises “as a continuation of the earth’s natural materials to cocoon its inhabitants with warmth, eco-elegance, efficiency, natural beauty and architectural significance,” according to ThePasadenaEcoHouse.com. Solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting contribute to this sustainable residential landmark. Photo courtesy of Studio RMA.
First Bowling Alley: Brooklyn Bowl
This entertainment epicenter, completed in 2009, helped bring a once-desolate sector of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood back to life. The building is completely powered by wind energy and offers plenty of bike racks for its eco-conscientious patrons. Most notably, a tree really does still grow in Brooklyn, as the 16 planted spruces surrounding the building will attest. Photo courtesy of Adam Macchia via flickr.com.