Gallery: American Institute of Architects Announces the Greenest Buildi...

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE) has announced its Top Ten Plus list of the greenest buildings of 2013. What stands out this year is that it wasn’t just green building technology that put these buildings on the list, but the community impact of specific buildings. Several of the winning buildings were redevelopments of abandoned brownfield sites, such as the Pearl Brewery and the Federal Central South building. Other winners engaged closely with their occupants in a special way, whether they were seniors, in the case of the Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments, or children, in the case of the Marin Country Day School. This year's winners displayed a holistic excellence that encompassed much more than just the technical aspects of green building.

Yin Yan House by Brooks + Scarpa

The Yin Yan House is a nearly net-zero energy live/work home and office in Venice, California. A very tight building envelope reduces energy demand by more than 50 percent. And a 12-kW solar system produces 100 percent of the home and office’s electricity needs. The design maximizes its location in a 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.

Swenson Civil Engineering Building by Ross Barney Architects

The new Civil Engineering building at the University of Minnesota Duluth is a two-story structure wrapped around double-height laboratories. It showcases structural and mechanical processes and storm water management techniques as a teaching tool. Storm water management was a key ecological consideration and elements of the storm water management system became prominent features articulating building processes and fostering understanding of sustainable design.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters by KMD Architects

The city of San Francisco set high standards for this new administrative building for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The design team also focused on creating the healthiest, most effective and comfortable work environment for occupants. On-site black water treatment meets all of the project’s non-potable water needs. 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.


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