The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently recognized about 100 commercial building design projects estimated to be nearly 40 percent more energy efficient than typical buildings. The agency made the announcement at the American Institute of Architects National Convention in Washington, D.C. The projects were submitted by 43 architecture firms and achieved Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification.
Projects that receive Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification are In total, the projects recognized at the convention are estimated to prevent nearly 175,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and save more than $23 million in annual energy costs across 10 million square feet of commercial space.
"These new building design projects are helping to save energy and money from the ground up for American families and businesses," says Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a statement. She says they range from skyscrapers to rural elementary schools.
Commercial and residential buildings consume about 40 percent of all energy in the United States and about 70 percent of all electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And electricity consumption in the commercial building sector is expected to increase another 50 percent by 2025.
In total, the projects recognized at the convention are estimated to prevent nearly 175,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and save more than $23 million in annual energy costs across 10 million square feet of commercial space.
The EPA says that by 2035, 75 percent of all buildings will be new or renovated and that architecture firms are "uniquely positioned to design energy efficient buildings and reduce carbon emissions."
Here are several highlighted projects:
High Performance Computing Research Center at Princeton University in Princeton, N.J. Architect is Gensler. Comments: "This project design provides power to the computers while using as little energy as possible. During winter, the air conditioning system can be switched off and giant louvers, or movable slates, can be opened to let in cold outside air."
Kroger Store in Dallas, Texas. Architect is Robertson Loia Roof. Comments: "This design incorporates energy efficient features such as cooler/freezer refrigerant heat replacement systems and roof planters for heat island effect reduction and shading. White high solar reflective roof material is also in the project plan to minimize sunlight absorption."
Red Hawk Elementary School in Erie, Colo. Architect is RB+B Architects. Comments: "The sustainable design of Red Hawk Elementary School creates a vibrant place for kids to learn with a central space connected to all parts of the school which allows for interactions amongst students and teachers. Sustainable features include proper orientation of classrooms to maximize daylight, displacement ventilation coupled with ground source heat pumps as well as radiant floor heating, low flow fixtures, and highly insulated building envelope."