From New York City to Southern California, some of the United States’ biggest cities and population centers are taking energy efficiency seriously. LEED certification – a unique concept just a decade ago – is now the standard for all new developments in most major cities.
While some people may associate energy efficiency with ultra-modern design, there are hundreds of unique, architecturally impressive buildings in all styles making the most of energy efficient daylighting. In this blog post, we’ll look at five of the United States’ most impressive LEED Platinum certified buildings.
Queens Botanical Garden, New York City
The Visitors and Administration Center at Queens Botanical Garden has a unique claim to fame: it’s one of the borough’s most energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings.
The Botanical Garden’s Master Plan of 2001 made energy efficient design a major priority, and the Visitors and Administration Center certainly lived up to the plan’s ambitious goals. With a green roof and highly efficient design, it’s one of New York City’s most environmentally responsible buildings.
Bank of America Tower, New York City
Finished in 2009, this 365-meter tall skyscraper isn’t just one of New York City’s most recognizable buildings – it’s also one of its most environmentally friendly and energy efficient structures.
The recipient of the 2010 Best tall Building Americas award, the Bank of America Tower includes a variety of interesting environmental features. These include an incredible floor-to-ceiling insulated glazing system, an ice-based cooling system to reduce energy consumption, and a rooftop honeybee farm.
The Water + Life Museum, Diamond Valley
This incredible California museum complex celebrates water and life. Almost every square inch of the museums are covered in solar panels, used to generate almost all of the center’s electricity.
Widely regarded as North America’s most energy efficient museum complex, the Water + Life Museums are constructed in the middle of one of California’s most rugged and demanding deserts.
The remarkable museums, which have attracted a wide range of interested visitors, were a gift to the region from the Metropolitan Water District, which constructed three large dams in the river at a cost of $2 billion.
Bob Hope Airport Hangar 25, Burbank
Bob Hope Airport’s Hangar 25 is the world’s first LEED Platinum certified aircraft hangar. This incredible building was designed using the world’s most efficient and environmentally friendly building materials and technology in order to offset the carbon emissions produced by the airport.
With over 1,530 different solar panels, an energy efficient daylighting and skylight system, and special evaporative coolers, this airplane hangar is more efficient than most modern office complexes.
Environmental Nature Center, Newport Beach
Remarkably energy efficient and stunningly beautiful, the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach is one of Southern California’s most well known LEED Platinum certified buildings. Covering over 9,000 square feet, this impressive building is specifically orientated for maximum natural sun exposure.
As well as its impressive daylighting system, the Environmental Nature Center uses an amazing natural ventilation system to cool and distribute fresh air without using excess energy. The building’s grounds are home to 15 unique native pant species, making it one of Southern California’s most ecologically diverse developments.
“Image courtesy of Inhabitat.com