Platinum Buildings

If green buildings are the goal, then a lot of people shoot for the highest ranking possible, which is LEED-Platinum. Without exactly knowing what it takes, many building owners and design teams begin their green building project by proudly proclaiming a goal of LEED Platinum. Usually, rather quickly they find out there is more to making a project "super green" than just declaring good intentions.

As of early 2007, there were fewer than 30 LEED Platinum new buildings in the US in all four USGBC rating systems — about 4% of the total number of certified projects. Even among those buildings, there were some that barely made it over the bar (52 points out of 69 possible in the LEED-NC rating system), while others achieved as many as 60 points. (It's well-nigh impossible to get all points in any of the rating systems for a single project.)

Genzyme Center, Cambridge, MA. Behnisch Architects/ Architekten, with House & Robertson Architects and Next Phase Studios.
Center for Health and Healing at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR, designed by GBD Architects.

To date the highest point total belongs to the iio,ooo-square-foot (excluding parking) corporate campus renovation for Alberici Constructors, Inc., in St. Louis, Missouri, completed in 2005. In this building, a 50-year-old manufacturing facility on a 13-acre brownfield site was renovated into a modern two-story office building, with solar thermal panels for hot water on the roof and a 65-kilowatt wind turbine onsite for additional renewable energy.

At the end of 2006, the largest Platinum-certified building was the 344,000-square-foot, 12-story Genzyme Center corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, completed in 2003. Its building envelope is a high-performance curtain-wall glazing system with operable windows on all 12 floors. More than 32% of the exterior envelope is a ventilated double-facade that blocks solar gains in summer and captures solar gains in winter. Steam from a nearby power plant is used for central heating and cooling. The project is owned and operated by Lyme Properties, with Genzyme as the major tenant.122 Including 20 kW of photovoltaics, overall energy use is projected at 41% less than in a conventional building.

In 2007 the Oregon Health and Science University's new Center for

Alberici Headquarters, St. Louis, MO, designed by Mackey Mitchell Associates.

Health and Healing, a 4i2,ooo-square-foot mixed-use medical office, lab and classroom building became the largest Platinum-certified project in the world. This project combines 60 kilowatts of building-integrated pho-tovoltaics, a large site-built solar collector for water heating, a 300-kilowatt microturbine plant, an onsite sewage treatment plant, an extensive green roof and 100% recovery of all rainwater for reuse. Occupied in the fall of 2006, it is projected to save more than 60% of the energy use of a similar conventional building and more than 50% of the water use. Total cost premium was reported at 1%, net of all incentives.

There are also LEED Platinum projects in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), China and India. In 2007 and 2008 we expect at least 50 more projects, recently completed or currently under construction, including one as large as one million square feet, to receive LEED Platinum designations in one of the four established LEED rating systems.

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