The U.S. Green Building Council
Naturally, the USGBC is a pioneer in the green building industry, practicing what they preach with a LEED Platinum-certified headquarters in DC. The building features a, “eco-corridor,” a two-story waterfall (which serves a purpose–it regulates the building’s indoor climate) and an energy meter that gives updated feedback. Walls are gilded with repurposed good and they take advantage of as much natural light as possible in the workplace, making the headquarters a leader in sustainability and functionality.
California Academy of Sciences
Within the walls of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (which are comprised of floor-to-ceiling German glass which minimizes cooling energy while maximizing natural light) are all kinds of innovative ways to keep the building sustainably sound and preserve our natural resources. 90 percent of all regularly occupied spaces in the building are lit by daylight and have stunning outside views, and the green roof serves as a home for wildlife.
The Empire State Building
When President of Malkin Holdings (owner of the Empire State Building) Tony Malkin decided that “bike racks and showers are not going to change the world,” he took matters into his own hands in 2009 with a retrofit for the Empire State Building. Within three years, the program cut $7.5 million in energy costs. Recognizing that commercial buildings account for around 80 percent of the energy used in New York, Malkin partnered with organizations to transform the iconic landmark, complete with LED lights, window refurbishment, efficient lighting and tenant energy management.
Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies
On the campus of Oberlin College in Ohio, the Lewis Center is equipped with solar panels, geothermal air systems and biodegradable upholstery, making the zero-energy building a mecca for environmental studies. It would have qualified for a LEED Platinum building, had the LEED system been established prior to the building.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
A 1950s warehouse was renovated several years ago to become the headquarters of Lance Armstrong’s Foundation in Austin, Tex. They recycled 88% of the building’s original material to create a multifunctional office space, complete with north-facing windows, dining facilities, and a gym. The building boasts a LEED Gold Certification.