Traveling around the United States to see the best green architecture might not be the most environmentally friendly option. So, the Department of Energy, and Google have teamed up to bring you the next best thing: Using Google Earth software, one can now view full SketchUp models of the 96 projects in the High Performance Buildings Database project, bringing green building projects from all over to your computer screen.

While the models aren’t as detailed as one would like, the High Performance Buildings layer provides a good idea of the mass of a building, something quite difficult to get a sense of when looking at simple photographs. Furthermore, for those buildings in densely populated areas, such as New York or Chicago, one can get what would be otherwise impossible views of the relationships between the buildings and the urban landscape.

Furthermore, the models provide links to very detailed case studies available in the database. To view the models, you must have Google Earth software and download the Great Green Buildings layer. Now, if only Google could give us a proper daylight model to do some shading analysis.

+ Google Earth features new High Performance Buildings layer @
+ Earth Outreach KML: Great Green Buildings @ Google Earth
+ High Performance Buildings Database @ Department of Energy