The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Photo credit: Phipps Conservatory

It seems the bar for green buildings is being set higher and higher with every new project coming onto the radar. However, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens may have set the bar at its highest level. Completed in 2012, the CSL is increasingly being referred to as the most sustainable building in the world due to the fact it’s obtained the world’s four highest green certifications. The building has met the standards for LEED platinum, Four Stars Sustainable Sites Initiative, WELL building platinum, and most recently achieved Living Building Challenge certification, the toughest of them all. Glancing into how the CSL was developed, it is easy to see how this building is earning the title of most sustainable in the world. Read more

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center

Photo credit: Hourigan Construction

When it comes to green buildings, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is no rookie. 15 years ago, in 2001, CBF was the first in the world to claim a LEED Platinum certified building as its own. Their Philip Merrill Environmental Center, CBF’s Annapolis, Maryland headquarters, incorporates composting toilets, rainwater harvesting, and various other water-saving strategies that enable it to achieve a 90% reduction in water use compared to a conventional office building. As CBF is a non-profit whose sole objective is to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, this is certainly one organization that walks the talk (or paddles the babble?) Now, in 2016, CBF has gone above-and-beyond the status quo once again, one-upping their Maryland office with a brand new 10,000-square-foot Living Building Certified center in Virginia Beach, VA. What is it that makes their latest Brock Environmental Center one of the greenest buildings in the world? Read more

The Building That Goes Beyond Net Zero

Photo credit: Bullitt Center

“Please, come crap in my building.” Jason McClennan, during his inspiring TED Talks speech about the Living Building Challenge, half-jokingly says that he tells people this because of his office building’s unique bathrooms. But, what actually makes these unique? What is it about this office building that makes a positive impact on the environment when people use it? Read more

Our Built Environment Filled With Net Zeros: Energy, Water, and Waste

Photo credit: JE Dunn

Building Within the Site

Before jumping into all of the numerous ‘Net Zero’ definitions that exist for one simple idea, lets go back in time briefly to examine how efficient home design has influenced one aspect of this famous buzzword today. Germany (with the help of Lund University in Sweden) was first to coin the design for an ultra energy-efficient home—the “Passivhaus.” The idea, still relevant today for all net zero energy structures, is to build a home or building in such a way so that the need for artificial heating and cooling is severely reduced. But how does a builder accomplish this? Read more

Perlita Passive House

Services: Living Building Challenge Project Management (Targeting Petal Certification)
Location: Atwater Village, Los Angeles, CA
Area: 2,000 square feet
Client: Xavier Gaucher | View Xavier’s Perlita Passive House blog here.