The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the organization’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) have announced their choices for the top ten green projects of 2009.  Today, I’m discussing the first five on AIA’s list and then next week, I’ll follow up with the remaining five.

Charles Hostler Student Center – Beirut, Lebanon - VJAA

The Charles Hostler Student Center is located on the campus of the American University of Beirut and features a large fitness area, an indoor pool, an open-air amphitheater, an auditorium and much more.  The building was recognized for its “environmentally diverse spaces for people to gather in throughout the day and evening.”  Source: AIA

Chartwell School – Seaside, CA - EHDD Architecture

In November 2007, the Chartwell School campus received the prestigious LEED Platinum certification.  The school scored 57 points, out of 69 possible points, on the LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) checklist.  A few of the schools green highlights include a net zero electricity design, the use of slag concrete, low VOC products, and a lighting control system.  Additionally, the school’s green housekeeping program garnered the project an extra point in the LEED-NC Innovation in Design category.

Gish Apartments – San Jose, CA - OJK Architecture and Planning

The Gish Apartments in San Jose house 35 apartments ranging from a 355 square foot studio to 1,029 square foot three bedroom models.  The complex has underground parking, on-site laundry, free Wi-Fi access through the building, a picnic area, and two LEED Gold Certifications.  The building received LEED for Homes Gold certification as well as LEED for New Construction Gold Certification.

Great River Energy Headquarters – Maple Grove, MN - Perkins+Will

The new, LEED Platinum certified Great River Energy Headquarters is four stories tall and features 166,000 square feet of sustainable design.  The building was the first in the state of Minnesota to receive LEED Platinum certification.  A few of the eco-friendly features include a 90% water reduction when compared to other corporate campuses, on-site renewable energy production, a layout to maximize daylight harvesting, and energy efficient elevators.  For more information on the building, read the Great River Energy Headquarters Fact Sheet (PDF).

Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation – Evanston, IL - Ross Barney Architects

If you don’t live in the Evanston, Illinois area but want to learn more about the LEED Platinum Certified Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC), you can take a virtual tour of the Green Synagogue online.  Projects that score between 52 and 69 points qualify for LEED Platinum certification and the JRC scored 53 points on the LEED for New Construction checklist.  The JRC scorecard (PDF) is available online at the U.S. Green Building Council website.

Check back next week for information on the Portola Valley Town Center, the Shangri La Botanical Gardens, Synergy at Dockside Green, The Terry Thomas, and the World Headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Photo by JackVinson

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