This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 30, 2008

American Architects Name Top Ten Green Buildings for 2008

Twilight photo of a rectangular building with an exterior shell composed entirely of windows.

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life in New Orleans, Louisiana, is oriented to take advantage of prevailing breezes. Walls cooled with chilled water and air-cooled metal ceilings help to keep the building comfortable during hot summer days.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment have named the top ten examples of sustainable architecture and green building design solutions for 2008. The efficient buildings draw on a variety of energy-saving technologies, including efficient lighting, daylighting, passive solar heating, natural ventilation, thermal mass, earth berms, and green roofs. For mechanical heating, the buildings draw on a range of technologies, including a wood-pellet boiler, radiant floor heating, and ground- and air-source heat pumps. Cooling technologies include demand-controlled ventilation and fans with variable-frequency drive motors. Four of the buildings employ displacement ventilation, which provides air at more moderate temperatures at low velocities, in a way that gradually displaces the stale air in the room with the fresh ventilation air. One of the top ten buildings, the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center even features "Earth tubes," pipes buried below the foundation to moderate the temperature of incoming ventilation air.

The buildings range from a temporary, modular building for exhibits to a high-rise condominium. Most are institutional buildings, including a library, a visitor center, two K-12 school buildings, two university buildings, and the headquarters for a foundation. The AIA's Top Ten Green Projects program is sponsored in part by DOE and the Energy Star program, a joint effort of DOE and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2008 National Convention and Design Exposition in Boston, Massachusetts, in mid-May. See the AIA press release and top-ten list.