Warren Wilson College, Ecodorm
Warren Wilson College’s EcoDorm paved the way for many other green dorms worldwide, getting LEED Platinum certification in 2009, making it the first dormitory building to meet that level of sustainability. The amazingly eco-friendly dorm in Swannanoa, N.C., uses 69 percent less energy than other conventional structures of the same size, making it a sound investment for the school for years to come. The dorm is very small, housing only 36 students, one R.A. and one R.D., but offers a living situation unmatched by any other dorm on campus. Aside from the green features, the building is unique in that caged pets are allowed and there are two full-size kitchens and an outdoor garden where residents can grow food. The building itself is home to solar panels, a large rainwater collection system, high-tech insulating panels, recycled and salvaged materials, and low emissions paints, helping it earn its platinum certification.