10 Green Commercial Buildings

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By Patrick Sisson
These environmentally-friendly office spaces prove it's about working smarter, not harder.

Where does our power go? While pipelines and petroleum often get the bulk of the media coverage, commercial and industrial buildings account for a surprisingly high amount of America's overall energy usage (40%), and contribute half of our overall climate emissions, according to the EPA. Office parks and high-rises add up, and while the idea of spending 40 hours a week in one can be daunting enough, those looking to curb emissions need to consider time on an entirely different scale. Three-quarters of buildings in the United States will be either new or renovated by 2035, according to the EPA; now’s the time to start encouraging smarter, savvier, and more energy efficient practices.

10 Green Commercial Buildings - Photo 1 of 10 - The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters (Los Altos, California: 2012)<br><br>The forward-thinking headquarters of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, created in 2012, embodies the vision and mission of the philanthropic concern, a reflection of the Hewlett-Packard founder’s passion for the environment and technology. An angular grid of configurable office suites encircling an open courtyard, the Bay Area site reflects the region, sporting salvaged wood, local stone, and a red cedar exterior. And while the structure itself, a Net Zero Energy Building that earns LEED Platinum certification, is impressive, the architects at EHDD did one better by shaping culture as well as space. An energy audit revealed that the staff’s emissions were generated mostly from transportation, so EHDD added video conferencing suites and a shuttle to pick up staff from the nearby rail station.<br><br>Photo by Jeremy Bitterman

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters (Los Altos, California: 2012)

The forward-thinking headquarters of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, created in 2012, embodies the vision and mission of the philanthropic concern, a reflection of the Hewlett-Packard founder’s passion for the environment and technology. An angular grid of configurable office suites encircling an open courtyard, the Bay Area site reflects the region, sporting salvaged wood, local stone, and a red cedar exterior. And while the structure itself, a Net Zero Energy Building that earns LEED Platinum certification, is impressive, the architects at EHDD did one better by shaping culture as well as space. An energy audit revealed that the staff’s emissions were generated mostly from transportation, so EHDD added video conferencing suites and a shuttle to pick up staff from the nearby rail station.

Photo by Jeremy Bitterman

We’ve rounded up our favorite examples of green commercial construction—from a living building in Seattle to an off-centered brewery renovation with its own treehouse—to showcase spaces that work toward affecting a different bottom line.

10 Green Commercial Buildings - Photo 2 of 10 - Henkel North American Consumer Products Headquarters (Scottsdale, Arizona: 2010)<br><br>Building in the Sonoran desert doesn’t immediately bring the word "sustainable" to mind. This 348,000-square-foot Scottsdale office space for Henkel, a German consumer goods company, is a stylish rejoinder to that impression. Here, nature is put to work. The roof is covered in a 1.5-acre garden of native plants, with solar panels that power the building’s banks of washers and dryers, a substantial green gesture for a company that makes laundry detergent. And the exterior, designed by CH2M Hill and Will Bruder + Partners, features custom glass etched in a pattern that reduces the intensity of the sunlight and a breathable skylight over the central atrium. Turning down the heat only seems fitting for the makers of a successful line of deodorants. <br><br>Photo by Henkel

Henkel North American Consumer Products Headquarters (Scottsdale, Arizona: 2010)

Building in the Sonoran desert doesn’t immediately bring the word "sustainable" to mind. This 348,000-square-foot Scottsdale office space for Henkel, a German consumer goods company, is a stylish rejoinder to that impression. Here, nature is put to work. The roof is covered in a 1.5-acre garden of native plants, with solar panels that power the building’s banks of washers and dryers, a substantial green gesture for a company that makes laundry detergent. And the exterior, designed by CH2M Hill and Will Bruder + Partners, features custom glass etched in a pattern that reduces the intensity of the sunlight and a breathable skylight over the central atrium. Turning down the heat only seems fitting for the makers of a successful line of deodorants.

Photo by Henkel

10 Green Commercial Buildings - Photo 3 of 10 - Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton, Delaware: 2009)<br><br>What’s more off-centered than a steampunk treehouse? When the eccentric craft brewery needed a quick expansion, DIGSAU delivered a playful design, filled with tilted angles and expressive geometry. Salvaged materials, LED lighting, and daylight modeling give the new space its green credentials, and the treehouse conference space adds a fitting outdoor touch. <br><br>Photo by Halkin/Mason Architectural Photography

Dogfish Head Brewery (Milton, Delaware: 2009)

What’s more off-centered than a steampunk treehouse? When the eccentric craft brewery needed a quick expansion, DIGSAU delivered a playful design, filled with tilted angles and expressive geometry. Salvaged materials, LED lighting, and daylight modeling give the new space its green credentials, and the treehouse conference space adds a fitting outdoor touch.

Photo by Halkin/Mason Architectural Photography

10 Green Commercial Buildings - Photo 4 of 10 - Livestrong Foundation (Austin, Texas: 2009)<br><br>Lance Armstrong’s charity can certainly get behind cycling as a way to reduce energy usage. But when the organization made the move into a larger space, it earned its environment bonafides with a LEED Gold-certified renovation of an old paper mill that earns a yellow jersey for smart renovation. Lake|Flato Architects reused 88% of the existing building, installing features like skylights and a rainwater collection system that reduced energy consumption by nearly 40% and water usage by 67%. <br><br>Photo by Frank Ooms

Livestrong Foundation (Austin, Texas: 2009)

Lance Armstrong’s charity can certainly get behind cycling as a way to reduce energy usage. But when the organization made the move into a larger space, it earned its environment bonafides with a LEED Gold-certified renovation of an old paper mill that earns a yellow jersey for smart renovation. Lake|Flato Architects reused 88% of the existing building, installing features like skylights and a rainwater collection system that reduced energy consumption by nearly 40% and water usage by 67%.

Photo by Frank Ooms

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