Top Ten Green Projects

Earlier this week, the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment announced the winners of their annual Top Ten Green Projects competition. The scoring system was based on a whole-systems approach that doesn’t just award projects for being topped with photovoltaic arrays but considers community and context as well as life cycle and potential repurposing plans.

The competition entries were judged on the following ten merits:

  1. Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation. Projects were judged on the ecological goals of the buildings and how they shaped their designs, the efforts made to increase efficiency and reduce unneeded extras such as superfluous square footage, and the incorporation of innovative technologies, among other design considerations.
  2. Regional/Community Design and Connectivity. Projects were judged on how they relate to their local community and region and how they encourage the use of public transportation and discourage the use of personal cars, among other design considerations.
  3. Land Use and Site Ecology. Projects were judged on how the buildings protect and benefit the surrounding ecosystem, how they accommodate the existing wildlife habitats, and how they respond to density and existing land conditions, among other design considerations.
  4. Bioclimatic Design. Projects were judged on the ways the buildings reduced the need for fossil fuel energy sources, and the ways in which the design oriented the buildings, among other design considerations.
  5. Light and Air. Projects were judged on use of and strategies for day lighting, task lighting, and ventilation, among other design considerations.
  6. Water Cycle. Projects were judged on how the buildings manage site water and drainage, capitalize on renewable sources, and reuse rainwater, among other design considerations.
  7. Energy Flows and Energy Futures. Projects were judged on the ways in which the buildings reduced energy loads, conserved energy, and used renewable or alternative energy sources, among other design considerations.
  8. Materials and Construction. Projects were judged on whether the materials were appropriate for the building site and location, the life cycle of the materials, and the energy required to extract, manufacture, and transport the materials used, among other design considerations.
  9. Long Life, Loose Fit. Projects were judged on the flexibility and adaptability of the buildings for potential reuse, among other design considerations.
  10. Collective Wisdom and Feedback Loops. Projects were judged on the evaluations techniques used during the design and building phases as well as the strategies set up to continuously monitor performance and occupant satisfaction, among other design considerations.

The 2009 winning designs, which range in function from apartments to offices to botanical gardens, and in location from British Columbia to Beirut, will be honored at the AIA 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Francisco at the end of April.

To see the Top Ten Green Projects winners, click the “View Slideshow” button at the top right corner of this post.

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