By Rachel Leber
WASHINGTON — Each year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognizes 10 buildings for superior sustainable design. The awards measure energy and water use, materials, resilience, economic impact and ease of access to public transportation. The awards were presented on April 22 this year to coincide with Earth Day. The top three winners in 2017 were the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, Va., Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass., and Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Brock Environmental Center was recognized for its support of wetlands restoration and education initiatives— the facility being located with view of a local marsh — as well as its use of salvaged buildings materials. The building also has composting toilets, a rainwater catchment and treatment system for drinking water, and produces 80 percent more energy than it needs.
Bristol Community College was recognized for its net-zero energy achievement in the campus’ science building, which has specialized lighting and ventilation systems. The systems have already saved the college $103,000 in annual operating costs since completion. Additionally, the building was relocated during a holistic campus redesign, which has increased the walkability of the campus.
Finally, Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility — which powers more than 1,000 buildings — has been transformed into a plant fueled mostly by an off-site solar farm, making it carbon-neutral and reducing energy use by one third. The plant has a unique recovery system that taps heat created in a cooling process and supplies 93 percent of the heating and hot water required for campus buildings. The plant reduces Stanford emissions by 68 percent and potable water usage by 18 percent.
Here is a complete list of winners for AIA’s Top 10 Green Buildings for 2017:
1. The Brock Environmental Center
Virginia Beach, Va.
2. Bristol Community College
Fall River, Mass.
3. Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility
Palo Alto, Calif.
4. Ng Teng Fong General Hospital
5. Chatham University
6. George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health
7. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Inouye Regional Center
8. R.W. Kern Center at Hampshire College
9. Spring Street Salt Shed and the Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage
New York City, N.Y.
10. Discovery Elementary School