The 3rd International Holcim Awards held its annual ceremony in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, acknowledging innovative sustainable building projects in the North American region.
The Holcim Awards was recently formed to seek out “projects that demonstrate an ability to stretch conventional notions about sustainable building and also balance environmental, social and economic performance – while also exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability,” accordingto the organization’s website. The top three winners from this year’s regional competition will go on to be considered for the Global Holcim Awards.
The regional award winning projects for this year’s North American competition include:
* An energy and water efficient border control station in Van Buren, Maine with a projected purchased energy usage of only 48 percent of the national standard. The building's fossil fuel consumption will be reduced through a ground-coupled heat pump, peaking bio-diesel boilers, LED lights, and lighting control systems, and its fixtures will achieve 30 percent water savings.
* A university building in Lawrence, Kansas whose photovoltaic array is projected to carry the energy needs of the building and a car charging station. The building's orientation serves optimal passive solar gain that is reinforced with electro-chromic glass to shade from unwanted summer heat gain and a solid north wall to resist unwanted winter winds.
* An environmental center and bird-watching facility in Chicago, Illinois made from recycled materials and is designed to function more like a living organism than a building, with little to no reliance on the urban grid. Geothermal boreholes reduce energy loads, earth tubes at a shallower depth procure tempered air for distribution and solar panels and biomass combustion harvest extra energy to ameliorate extreme temperatures.
* An "Energy Neutral Portable Classroom" designed for use in Honolulu, Hawaii that collects, generates and maximally conserves natural resources, including electrical energy, daylight, wind energy and rainwater.
* An energy water and waste efficiency military installation, Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, with on-site renewable energy, rainwater capture and grey water reuse, as well as waste disposal. The building is designed to become a zero net energy building, meaning zero net energy consumption and zero carbon emissions, by 2030.
* A temporary festival structure made from recyclable building components, using approximately 10,000 shims as building blocks and designed by three students of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
* A zero net energy building with innovative design features such as solar skin wrapping, solar hot water and a low-energy heating and cooling system that uses phase change materials in place of refrigerants. The building's interior can be adapted as needed, which reduces construction time and cost.
* A strategy to strengthen mangrove forests along coastlines and thereby reinforce the natural protection of the coastal communities against the threat of tsunamis.
To learn more about these and other projects, visit the competition’s award page.