EPA Honors Top Energy Efficient Building Designs

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During the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention in Washington, DC, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized nearly 100 commercial building design projects submitted by 43 architecture firms that achieved Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification in the past year. Projects that receive Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification are estimated to be nearly 40% more energy efficient than typical buildings. In total, the projects recognized 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. “Building owners and architects who achieve EPA’s Designed to Earn the Energy Star for commercial buildings are getting it right from the start,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “From city skyscrapers to rural elementary schools, these new building design projects are helping to save energy and money from the ground up for American families and businesses.” By 2035, 75% of all buildings will be new or renovated, and architecture firms are positioned to design energy efficient buildings and reduce carbon emissions. For the past five years, EPA has worked with AIA to promote energy efficiency in new commercial construction by highlighting Designed to Earn the Energy Star projects at the AIA National Convention. This year, EPA’s Energy Star Challenge: Race to DC created competition across the country to see who could submit the most Designed to Earn the Energy Star projects. The country was divided into three regions and the Big Easy Central, representing the mid-section of the country, won with nearly 50 projects achieving certification. Project highlights from the three regions include:
  • East Coast Region—High Performance Computing Research Center at Princeton University (Princeton, NJ); Architect of Record, Gensler: 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.
  • Central Region—Kroger Store (Dallas, TX); Architect of Record, Robertson Loia Roof: 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.
  • Western Region—Red Hawk Elementary School (Erie, CO); Architect of Record, RB+B Architects: 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.
Projects that achieve Designed to Earn the Energy Star certification meet specific energy performance criteria set by EPA, perform in the top 25% nationwide on EPA’s national energy performance scale, and are independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or registered architect. Launched in 1992 by EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. The Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products with more than 5 billion sold over the past 20 years. More on the winners of the Projects receiving Designed to Earn the Energy Star Certification can be found here.

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3 Responses
  1. Katie K says:

    This is great! So glad to see that the efforts to be sustainable are being recognized in the real estate industry.

  2. Michael Berretta says:

    It’s terrific to see building owners and architects receiving recognition for energy efficiency. While architects play an indispensible role in the design of these buildings, I think it’s also important to remember the role owners play in pushing for these requirements. After all, tenants who employ wasteful behaviors such as consuming massive amounts of energy not only negatively impact the environment, but also the owner’s bottom line. The importance of offering environmentally friendly amenities has never been greater!

  3. Ecosol Global says:

    It is very important to use sustainability methods in every single thing we have and we do. The need to have a cleaner earth is rising and its a good thing to read that there are people doing it now.

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