A few green buildings to admire


A few green buildings to admire


Green architecture is an attractive concept in theory, but things get really exciting when that theory is put into practice by real estate developers. These developers understand that prioritizing creativity and sustainability may cost more in the short-term but have a positive effect in the long-term. The resulting facilities are almost always news-worthy, as they pave the way to a healthier, more practical way for humans to live and give back to the environment. Further, green building systems are exponentially more efficient and cheaper to run, even if they have a higher upfront cost. Let’s look at some green developments in a little more detail.


Greensburg/Kiowa County Schools, Kansas

The story here starts with tragedy, as most of the town of Greensburg, Kansas, was destroyed by a tornado in 2007. Among the buildings lost in the event were all of the local schools. To recover, the local school district opted to merge the three districts into one, with a single K-12 school.

The new building is a marvel - not only is it positioned to capitalize on solar and wind power respectively, it also features passive daylight lighting, skylit roofs, and heat mitigation. A 50kW wind turbine supplies the school with electricity enough to power its facilities, while rainwater is stored in the school’s cisterns for use in dryer months. Top it off with restored wetlands constructed on site and native landscaping, and this school boasts quite a green resume indeed!


Lance Armstrong Foundation, Austin, Texas

Renovated from an old warehouse, the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s offices reused 95% of the demolition’s waste, and uses nearly 40% less energy, overall, than similar offices elsewhere. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Among the more interesting green endeavours going on here are the ‘offices’ - blocks of reused roof decking from the now-demolished warehouse that create hubs of desk space and open up the rest of the office for native plants. A combination glass and steel roof floods the space with gorgeous natural light while lowering energy use, which is a hybrid note of functionality and efficiency that reverberates through the whole facility.


Vancouver Convention Centre

You may have heard of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s ‘living roof’ - a 2.4 hectarelandscape of plants and drip irrigation piping that was designed to recreate the beachfront ecosystem. Home to a staggering number of plants and grasses, as well as local birds and insects, the roof is more than a simple habitat for these species.

That’s because the nature of this ‘green roof’ also reduces heat absorption in the summer and loss in the winter. Nearby seawater powers a geothermal heat pump for energy. The pump cools the building and warms the floors, among other things. But there’s more to see here than a very green rooftop - the centre’s expansion contains an artificial reef home to all sorts of sea-life, built in collaboration with biologists to recreate tidal activity. 

Participating in these projects is even more exciting than reading about them. For more information on how Homburg Institute’s real estate courses can position you strategically, visit our course catalogue or contact us directly. We’re happy to answer your questions, plot out a curriculum, and more.

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