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10 Cutting-Edge Green Building Technologies

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These days, it's almost necessary facilities have some sort of green strategy and practice. Naturally (no pun intended), new buildings strive to be LEED certified, incorporating awesome green functions from water and energy efficiency to solar power, composting toilets and even green roofs. Here are 10 of the most cutting-edge green buildings in the country.

1. Bullitt Center

Location: Seattle

SF: 50k

Use: Commercial office 

Cool green feature: This building is made of clean materials and has zero energy consumption.

Named the greenest office building in the nation, the solar powered six-story Bullitt Center has zero energy consumption thanks to the clean materials. And check this out: the building catches enough rainwater to survive a 100-day drought (if that ever happens in Seattle) and also features composting toilets. 

2. Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Location: Pittsburgh

SF: 24.35k

Use: Educational facility

Cool green feature: Wind turbines and solar power help this research and educational facility produce its own power.

The building has quite the résumé of achievements, such as a Living Building Challenge certification, LEED Platinum-certified and is the only building to have the Four Stars Sustainable SITES Initiative. This research and educational facility in the 120-year-old Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens produces its very own energy, using solar power and wind turbines. 

3. Federal Center South Building 1202

Location: Seattle

SF: 209k

Use: Federal office

Cool green feature: This federal office pioneered the nation's first wood composite floor system.

This $65M project operates on net-zero energy and is within the top 1% of energy-efficient office buildings of the nation. It also features the nation's first wood composite floor system, which adds to its natural and earthy interior design of open airy spaces. Completed in just over two years, this former warehouse was chosen as the 2015 winner of the America Institute of Architects' Environment Top Ten Projects

4. DPR's San Francisco office

Location: San Francisco

SF: 24k

Use: Commercial office

Cool green feature: This workspace features a living wine bar. 

DPR Construction's newest regional office was designed by FME Architecture + Design and built in just five months. The DPR work space takes the outdoors indoors with three living walls, and a living wine bar where live plants grow under a glass bar counter (seriously). Big fans circulate the air within the office—giving the feel of a live breeze—while skylights are automated, making work seem like a walk in the park. Literally.

5. Kiln Apartments

Location: Portland, OR

SF: 16k

Use: Multifamily affordable housing

Cool green feature: Solar thermal roof panels make this multifamily apartment way more energy efficient than the city's leading code requirements.

Built in June 2014, this 19-unit apartment building is the most energy-efficient market rate multifamily building in the country. By using space heating and solar thermal roof panels, the building's energy use is off the charts (well...not literally, of course), performing up to 75% better than Portland's current leading code requirements. Talk about savings.  

6. University Center

Location: New York

SF: 375k

Use: Mixed-use 

Cool green feature: An urban green roof catches rainfall and helps heat this collegiate facility. 

The New School calls the building a striking embodiment of the school's "mission of challenging the status quo." And for good reason: With funding from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the $353M building also incorporated a green rooftop that catches 40% of annual rainfall and mitigates a heat-island effect. Inside, there are moving walls, composting vessels and waterless urinals. 

7. San Antonio Military Medical Hospital 

Location: San Antonio, TX

SF: 750k

Use: Medical center

Cool green feature: This building catches 100% of the land's rainfall and puts it to good use.

Nature in the form of foliage and natural lighting was the key to making sure this state-of-the-art medical facility didn't have that austere "military" feel to it. Built in 2011, the building is able to catch 100% of rainwater on site for utility, reducing the use of potable water by 20%, and also for its landscape, which consists of a healing garden and bioswales. The SAMMC also features a much-needed gigantic canopy to shade the building from the sharp Texas sun. It must be working, since patient surveys show 90% satisfaction.

8. Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Morgridge Family Exploration Center 

Location: Denver

SF: 126k

Use: Museum 

Cool green feature: This museum wing's LED lights are triggered by sensors to save energy. 

Combining sustainability with education is the point of this five-story addition to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which is among the largest in the country and has over 65,000 member households. The new wing, however, is LEED Platinum and consumes 50% less energy than a standard building of its type. The building has automated louvers on its glass exterior that move based on the angle of the sun, as well as LED lighting with sensors that turn off when no one is in that area. 

9. New Orleans BioInnovation Center

Location: New Orleans

SF: 63.9k

Use: Nonprofit lab and office space 

Cool green feature: This energy efficient lab's exterior skin is outfitted with ventilation and solar controls. 

The BioInnovation Center, a lab and office space for biotech startups, was completed in 2011 to help revitalize the post-Katrina neighborhood (dubbed "Silicon Bayou") by generating over 200 jobs in its space. Most laboratory buildings are heavy energy users, but NOBIC manages to use one-third of typical lab energy, using efficient building skin deployed with solar controls and targeted ventilation. 

10. Tassafaronga Village

Location: Oakland, CA

SF: 238k

Use: Residential 

Cool green feature: The entire neighborhood cuts energy bills with solar power completely high-efficacy lighting.

Tassafaronga Village is the $54M product of an award-winning developer with a reputation as a local hero for his first-class housing for the poor and elderly. This affordable housing complex was constructed in just two years to totally transform in a run-down (think abandoned factory) and notoriously dangerous neighborhood of Oakland. Now, green pathways and pocket parks connect apartments, townhouses and even an on-site medical center. But the real innovation came with reducing energy bills for the low-income residents so buildings with solar-assistance and 100% high-efficacy lighting. Along with a drop in energy usage is a 25% drop in crime in 2011.