LEED certification has become the new reigning status symbol for architects, builders, and the corporate real estate industry. The most prestigious projects going up in America’s cities are often certified Gold or Platinum. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and the certifications are administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, which in turn is made up of almost 20,000 different constituent organization, all of whom have a say in the standards adopted.
The list below should in no way be construed as an official ranking by LEED, or even by me. These are just 5 of the most acclaimed green projects that have been certified by LEED.
1. Philip Merrill Environmental Center
This building, the headquarters for the Chesapeake Bay Association in Annapolis, Maryland, was the first structure ever to be certified LEED Platinum, back in 2001. It remains one of the greenest buildings in the United States.
2. Adobe Systems Towers
These office buildings in San Jose, California make Adobe Systems the first company to boast three LEED Platinum certified buildings, two of which were renovated to achieve that status and one of which was newly built.
3. Audubon Center at Debs Park
This nature education facility in northeastern Los Angeles was the first building in the country to be certified 100% carbon-neutral.
4. Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park
This New York City skyscraper is 54 stories tall, about 1,200 feet, making it the third-tallest building in New York City now that One World Trade Center has taken back the record. (You probably know what number two is, but we’ll save that for later...) It cost a billion dollars to build and contains 2.1 million square feet of office space. The raw materials were sourced from areas near New York City and are almost entirely renewable and/or recyclable.
Philip Merrill Environmental Center
5. The Empire State Building
Yes, that Empire State Building! It may have been first built back in the asbestos-happy 1930s, but this treasure of American architecture has been newly renovated to earn LEED Gold status. Windows were replaced along with lighting, plumbing, and ventilation systems. Altogether the renovation cost about $120 million.
Melissa Miller is a freelance writer and blogger who loves to give education advice. If you have any suggestions or comments, shoot them to melissamiller831 (at) gmail.com.