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Green Building - Case Studies

This section will be periodically updated with relevant new case studies. Case studies are categorized under the following headings, and projects completed in the Pacific Northwest are designated by the swimming salmon icon: Northwest

    Commercial and Institutional
    Brownfield Development

Commercial and Institutional

Northwest - Are You in a Good Space?
Specializes in quality of workspace issues, including enhancement through green construction methods. Twelve case studies are presented. Technical advisors available.
(Go to "Discover" and to "Field Studies")

Northwest  EarthAdvantage
Portland General Electric presents case studies on homes and commercial buildings have met the EarthAdvantageTM standards. Also offers a national information center on energy and sustainable solutions for the built environment.

Northwest Seattle's 2003 BEST Award Winners - Washington
Seattle's second annual BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) Awards (2003) include Café Septieme for Waste Prevention & Recycling, Genie Industries for Water Conservation, Starbucks Coffee Company for Energy Conservation, Quiring Monuments and the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club for Stormwater Pollution Prevention, Vulcan Inc. and the Urban Environmental Institute for Innovation In Conservation, and the Seattle Center / Miller Hull Partnership / Howard S. Wright Construction Co. for Fisher Pavilion in Sustainable Building.

Northwest Seattle's 2004 BEST Award Winners - Washington
Seattle's third BEST (Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow) Awards (2004) include University of Washington facilities for Water Conservation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for Energy Conservation, Todd Pacific Shipyards for Stormwater Pollution Prevention, and in the Sustainable Building Category, co-winners are the Archdiocesan Housing Authority / Environmental Works / Rafn Company for Traugott Terrace and the City of Seattle / NBBJ / Hoffman Construction Co. for the Seattle Justice Center.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Southern California Office, Santa Monica, California
This building is expected to be one of the first to receive the LEED Platinum rating. The renovated, 15,000-square-foot, $5.1-million building expects to consume 60 to 75 percent less energy than a typical commercial building of the same size. Other features include recycled or renewable materials, photovoltaic solar panels, daylighting, operable windows to capture ocean breezes, and reclaimed water and rainwater for toilet flushing.

Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, Colorado
The new $79 million facility is hoping to be the the first hospital to receive LEED certification. It features waterless urinals, restored wetlands area, dirt-covered roads, natural lighting for almost every room, automatic shutoff of air conditioning when a window opens, and high energy efficiency. (click on "Foothills Hospital")

Jack Evans Police Headquarters, Dallas, Texas
This LEED Silver certified building was placed on a reclamated brownfield has proximity to bus and rail transit, and has incorporated many other environmental features.

Lowe's, Los Angeles, California
Lowe's West Hills, Los Angeles, branch installed one of the largest commercial solar rooftop electric systems, and the largest at any retail store, in the U.S. The solar roof will meet the store's energy needs and generates energy equivalent to that used by 370 American homes per year.

David L. Lawrence Convention Center Convention Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
This 1.4 million-square-foot building used three sustainable design strategies to cut energy consumption 30 percent compared to similar facilities: natural ventilation, natural lighting, and water efficiency.

Northwest Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Office - Building Renovations, Seattle, Washington

Northwest King County's Case Study Topics - Washington
Links to various case studies, including commercial and institutional building projects and construction site recycling.

Northwest Clackamas High School - Oregon
Clackamas High School opened in April 2002 with daylighting and natural ventilation/cooling strategies, assisted by sensors, computer controls and mechanical technologies. It consumes roughly 40% less energy than required under Oregon's non-residential energy code and is in line for a silver rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards.

Northwest King Street Center - Seattle, Washington
This building incorporates a range of recycled products such as plastic lumber for outside furniture, compost for the building landscaping, recycled-content partitions, and refurbished carpet.

Northwest Sustainable Building Policy - City of Seattle
Case studies on green building, indoor air quality and associated productivity improvements, for various commercial and institutional buildings.

Montana State University's EPICenter
This national center sponsors or initiates research, testing, simulation, demonstration and evaluation studies dealing with green and sustainable design and construction. The building itself incorporated Ecologically Sensitive Building Systems, of which the following are detailed on the site.

Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies - Oberlin, OH

Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) - Austin, Texas
BEST recognizes Austin companies that have made outstanding achievements in sustainable building and operation of their businesses. Awards are given in the areas of water conservation, water quality, energy conservation, waste management and land use.
Contact: 512-505-3700

Four Times Square - New York, New York
A 49-story tower in Manhattan designed by Fox & Fowle Architects, incorporated energy conservation measures, ensured high indoor air quality, addressed waste minimization, and used "green" building materials. (scroll down)

Counterpoint Article: Four Times Square: How Green Is It?
Architectural Record, Mar 00, p 91, by Suzanne Stephens.
Discusses the inherent conflict in trying to have a green, urbanistic, architecturally striking, and comfortably functioning building in New York City. With its flashing signs gobbling up power, the question is whether the building is truly environmentally sensitive.
Go to Projects at

Green Demonstration Project - Bettendorf, Iowa
Recognizing the waste reducing character of green building, The Iowa Department of Natural Resources ,Waste Management Division, subsidized the construction of the Family Museum of Arts and Science. The project emphasized use of durable, recycled-content or sustainably grown materials.
Contact: Jeff Geerts,

Green on the Grand - Canada
This building meets the requirements of Canada’s C-2000 program, consisting of four major criteria for building design: energy efficiency, minimal environmental impact, occupant health and comfort, and functional performance. Green on the Grand is recognized as a leading example of sustainable design in Canada. Features discussed.

Greening of the White House - Washington DC

International Netherlands Group Bank - Amsterdam
Mostly daylit, highly energy efficient, and architecturally innovative building, with such features as curvilinear form, local materials, plants, artwork, and flowing water incorporated into the building in a highly integrated fashion.

Ridgehaven Green Building Demonstration Project - San Diego, California
In 1999, the building received the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's first Energy Star Label for Buildings. Ridgehaven’s energy consumption is 28 percent better than the California Energy Code (2005), and the building uses half the water of a comparable commercial facility. This translates to about $100,000 in annual estimated cost savings.

Roy Lee Walker Sustainable Elementary School - Texas
During the school year, students at this newly constructed school will study wind and solar energy, water their greenhouse plants with harvested rainwater, and watch for storms at the school's weather station. Walker's design elements include geothermal heating and cooling, recycled building materials, rainwater collection for campus irrigation and toilet flushing, and a thirty-foot windmill for power. Daylight illuminates classrooms. More information in Natural Home, Jul-Aug 00, p 13.

Pennsylvania's Governor's Green Government Council - Case Studies


Northwest Traugott Terrace - Seattle, Washington
This is the nation's first affordable housing project to achieve LEED certification, and is the first project built under the City’s new sustainable building guidebook, SeaGreen: Greening Seattle’s Affordable Housing. The $4 million, 39,000-square-foot (50 unit) project has fluorescent lighting; recycled-plastic decking; energy-efficient appliances; recycled-content carpet, siding, structural steel and concrete; and other eco- and energy-conscious features.

Homes Across America Profiles resource-efficient and high-performance homes across the U.S. Also gives technical assistance contacts in each state.

Article: Solar Electricity - Finally Cost Effective On-Grid
Profiles homes in Oregon, California, and Washington that have installed solar energy systems.

Northwest  Mainstream Green Homes by Environmental Homes Northwest, Inc. - Washington
These houses look like other contemporary homes but are created using three, new, additional building criteria and certification. They are rated 'EnergyStar Labeled Homes' and are specially equipped to provide superior indoor air quality. They are constructed using numerous environmentally 'green' building materials.  The firm has 9 homes currently underway in Lynnwood, Lake Stevens, Shoreline and Seattle.

Habitat For Humanity Experimental Energy-Efficient Home - Tennessee
This Habitat house has 48 solar panels on the roof, a state of the art water heater in a closet, energy efficient appliances, prefabricated insulated panels, and more.

The Cleveland EcoVillage
This project national demonstration project that will showcase green building and transit-oriented development. aims to demonstrate advanced techniques of green building, such as energy efficiency, passive solar design, nontoxic building materials, considerations of life-cycle costs, and alternative forms of wastewater treatment. In addition, the project is helping the city of Cleveland think about how green building techniques can be made part of the city's building code.

Northwest  Manufactured Home Built Entirely from Energy Efficient Foam Core Panels - Silverton, Oregon

Northwest  The NeXt House - Post Falls, Idaho
Features state-of-the-art technologies such as: automated heating, lights and appliances, super efficient, low-e windows, geothermal heat pump system, instant water heater, air-to-heat exchanger, efficient appliances, efficient lighting, structural insulated panels, pour-in-place foam concrete block, and low-water use landscaping with solar powered landscape features.

Building America Program - U.S. Department of Energy
Building America works with members of the home building industry to produce quality homes that use up to 50% less energy without costing more to build.

En-House (short for Environmental House)
This is a green building demonstration located in Ann Arbor, Michigan at Recycle Ann Arbor's ReUse Center. The project includes deconstruction information.

Green Building at the Metro Denver Parade of Homes
This technical assistance project used the Metro Denver Parade of Homes to showcase waste reduction strategies and recycled content building materials in home construction.

Village Homes - Davis, California
A group of 240 small homes, clustered in groups of eight, surrounded by common space and connected by walkways. The subdivision was laid out for good solar exposure, and located within walking distance to a major employer. The compact, pedestrian-oriented design encourages residents to walk to meet daily needs.


Northwest Lighting Design Lab - Seattle, Washington
The Lab provides lighting design solutions applied to actual projects. More than 90 case studies are featured from lighting designers.

Northwest Seattle Center's Key Arena - Solar Panels
Three solar panel trackers, installed and supported by both Sparling Electrical Engineering and the WSU Energy program, include a total of 24 solar modules. The trackers produce up to 2000 watts of clean, reliable energy during peak sun light hours. The DC energy produced by the solar trackers is inverted to AC power using a series inverter/charger from Trace Engineering. The AC power is then fed back to the system’s financier, Seattle City Light, during peak sun hours of the day.

Northwest  Pacific Gas Transmission Headquarters - Portland, Oregon
Project includes a number of energy saving features: wall and roof insulation are double the levels required by energy codes; the building is oriented to reduce air conditioning requirements; high-performance windows selectively transmit light and heat; water for bathrooms is pre-heated by waste heat from computer rooms; and, ice for daytime cooling requirements is made at night.

Northwest  Compressed Air at Sawmill/Veneer Plant - Willamette Valley
The plant optimized its compressed air systems, with the help of the SAV-AIR project sponsored by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Before the upgrade, the compressors were run to meet peak demand at all times, resulting in an annual power bill of $175,000. Monitoring and control systems were installed, enabling the system to efficiently produce air in needed quantities. The changes reduced energy consumption by 1.3 million kilowatt-hours annually, saving $55,000 per year.
(Go to Projects, then SAV-AIR)

Centre for the Analysis and Dissemination of Demonstrated Energy Technologies (CADDET)
Case Studies in Energy Efficiency


Inn of the Anasazi - Santa Fe, New Mexico
This building held to historical and cultural values and incorporated green building opportunities. Designers utilized the existing steel-frame, used local and low-toxic materials, ensured good indoor air quality, used water-saving fixtures, natural daylight, and energy-efficient lighting.

Brownfield Development

As part of a research project at Carnegie Mellon Unviersity entitled: "Brownfield Development: the Implications for Urban Infrastructure", many case studies were (or are being) conducted concerning specific brownfield sites. Links provided.

RKETEK.COM (Design-build Firm in Juneau, Wisconsin)
In 1991, Architect and developer Martin Sell, president of RKETEK.COM, approached Dodge County, Wisconsin, with a proposal to facilitate the cleanup and undertake site planning of a contaminated industrial property that had been abandoned since 1984. In return, Sell was able to buy a parcel at a time at its pre-cleanup price. Sell made a profit from the architectural and construction management fees, and on the sale of the land at a price well above the purchase price. The community also profited by eliminating a blight on their neighborhood. Architectural Record, June 2003, p 185, by Nancy B. Solomon.

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