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8 historic buildings that are environmentally friendly

Caltech Linde + Robinson Laboratory

Photo: David Wakely/Linde + Robinson Laboratory

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Linde + Robinson Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Caltech's Linde + Robinson Laboratory is a new environmental sciences center created inside an existing astronomy building that was first constructed in 1932. This is, in many ways, the perfect example of the possibilities of adding state-of-the-art eco-friendly upgrades to an existing building.

The renovations, funded in part by a grant from the famous university itself, took the use of natural light to a whole new level, with various reflectors and mirrors carrying sunlight as far as the basement. Solar panels and a state-of-the-art radiant ceiling panels provide heating and cooling in the laboratories with an absolute minimum use of energy. The labs even have “smart” ventilation systems that will cut back on air flow until they sense certain gases that need to be vented out. All these upgrades were done without much change to the exterior structure of the classic building.