Green buildings big and small sprout up
Designing buildings to be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly is taking root. Here is a collection of recent green building photo galleries.
The traditional housing market bubble may be bursting, but green buildings clearly have plenty of life.
In the past few weeks, we have run a handful of photo galleries and features on green buildings--one old and some not even built yet. Here's a rundown of recent coverage:
Last week, I got a tour of Genzyme Center, an award-winning green building in Cambridge, Mass., from the building's facilities manager. Here is a photo gallery, with views you won't see from most tours of the building, and a separate video.
The builders used a lot of technology to make the building green. Heliostats on the roof follow the sun during the day to beam light through the skylight, which is then dispersed with a chandelier of reflecting tiles.
Fresh air is circulated through an automated system that uses sensors and controls. While we were standing in the atrium, I was surprised to see and hear the motor-controlled blinds shift position by themselves. That's why they call it a "smart" building!
Also in Cambridge (and also walking distance from CNET's office), I visited a solar-powered home under construction. Students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are putting the off-grid house together for the Solar Decathlon, a Department of Energy competition.
In October, contestants from 20 universities from around the world will construct their solar homes on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Here is an article on the MIT effort and a photo gallery.
Finally, I checked out a commercial modular green home being constructed in, once again, Cambridge.
The idea is to make this type of energy-efficient home--which uses solar heating and sustainable materials--more commonplace by making it competitively priced. As it's still under construction, it's not yet on the market.
Far afield in the land of Texas, here is a photo gallery of two other green buildings: Austin City Hall and the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, which expects to be the highest-rated green building hospital.