living building challenge, living building certified, green building, passive building, net zero energy, net positive energy, sustainable building, sustainable architecture, solar panels, rainwater collection, geothermal wells, wind turbines

Image: Ethan Drinker Photography

1. Smith College Bechtel Environmental Classroom

The Bechtel Environmental Classroom, designed by Coldham and Hartman Architects, is a former pastoral observatory transformed into a green learning space in Whatley, Massachusetts. The 2,500-square-foot, single-story building serves as a part of Smith College and sits on 223 acres of pasture and forest, overlooking an old stone dump site. One of the two enclosed areas provides space for biological and environmental science classes and the other, larger area gives plenty of room for humanities seminars and other classes, such as poetry and dance. A drilled well ensures a sustainable water supply and composting toilets give back to the Earth. LED lighting and two solar panels combined ensure a gentle footprint on this peaceful site.

living building challenge, living building certified, green building, passive building, net zero energy, net positive energy, sustainable building, sustainable architecture, solar panels, rainwater collection, geothermal wells, wind turbines

Image: Matthew Millman Photography

2. Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab

If you are going to teach the next generation how to move forward with alternative energy, the facilities had better reflect the mission. That is just what the Hawaii Preparatory Academy Energy Lab ensured with its completely sustainable, net-zero-energy design. Flansburgh Architects are behind the structure, which achieved