Ten Years of Sustainable Building Since Factor 10

It’s been 10 years since Factor 10 House won an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten award. Factor 10 is a modest building with a tiny budget that set quite a high bar for energy and materials use, and happened to be the first sustainable building I’d worked on as an architect. It won numerous awards and was even used as an example of green building in a textbook.

It has been a remarkable ten years in green building, particularly in that sustainable architecture is no longer rare. The number of green buildings has increased 39% since 2005. The USGBC reports that by 2015, 40-48% of new non residential construction will be green buildings.

From a personal point of view this increase in green building over the last ten years has involved work on a to be LEED certified hospital in Toronto, a LEED for neighborhood development mixed use master plan that was approved for North Miami, and an office building targeting LEED platinum, also in Toronto, a progressive and impressive increase in sustainability targeting for some very large developments.

As this year’s AIA Cote Top Ten illustrates, the bar has raised in every way since 2004 and net zero and LEED platinum are now achieved with a good helping of high aesthetic standards. Leaves one to ponder what new territory can be claimed for sustainable building in the next decade.

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AIA’s Top Sustainable Projects of 2013

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) together with their committee on the environment (COTE) has released their top ten sustainable projects of 2013. The COTE Top Ten Projects program is North America’s best known sustainability in the built environment and is currently in its 17th year. Recognized projects are innovative and rigorous in their approach to protecting and enhancing the environment.

Particularly noteworthy for their effective pairing of sustainable design with high aesthetics are three California projects, Yin Yang House by Brooks + Scarpa, Charles David Keeling Apartments in La Jolla, and Marin County Day Learning Resource Center by former employer EHDD Architecture. The latter project was mentioned here in an earlier post.

AIA COTE Top Ten Projects 2013

www.see-change.net: educational buildings set bar