Green buildings are becoming quite trendy, and for good reason. As cities grow, their buildings need to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly in order to reduce our impact on the planet.
Architecture is (and should be) more than just aesthetics and basic functionality. Green architecture seeks to incorporate many other factors in creating a building, like energy and water use efficiency, economic impact, transportation use by visitors, and even health and wellness. These are the measures that the American Institute of Architects (AIA) refers to in choosing the best green buildings of 2017.
Check out five of these buildings and see how they made use of design, materials, and techniques to create eco-friendly structures.
Brock Environmental Center
The Brock Environmental Center is a hub for learning about the environment and how to restore the Chesapeake Bay wetlands. The building’s design makes it possible to mitigate the effects of storm surges and even the rise of sea levels.
Salvaged and recycled material also make up several parts of the building. Aside from that, the Center also produces 80% more renewable energy than it needs.
John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building, Bristol Community College
This building is a special one because it’s a net zero energy building. This means that the energy the building consumes is equal to the amount of renewable energy the building produces. A net-zero energy achievement is a great one, especially in a place like Massachusetts. This is one institution that definitely practices what it preaches.
Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
Singapore’s NTFGH isn’t like the cold, closed-off hospitals many of us are used to seeing and visiting. 70% of the NTFGH has natural ventilation and cross-ventilation. It’s naturally light and airy because its architects oriented the building towards the directions from which light and wind come from. The hospital also uses about 38% less energy than other nearby hospitals.
Chatham University Eden Hall Farm
This urban farm-cum-campus is an experiment in sustainable living. Like many other green buildings, the campus generates more renewable energy than it needs, and the students have a hand in generating this energy. Eden Hall Farm is a place where students and teachers collaborate on developing ways to support our future urban areas. At Eden Hall, sustainability is the name of the game.
Inouye Regional Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Natural ventilation and light are defining characteristics of the NOAA’s Inouye Regional Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A passive downdraft system uses the sea breeze to ventilate the building in spite of the absence of operable windows. The architects and engineers also raised the building to keep it above rising sea levels. Its harmonious interaction with nature makes it a great example of what green buildings should be like.