Proponents of sustainable design unveiled a Web-based database intended to improve the overall performance of green building projects during last week's American Institute of Architects annual convention in Charlotte, N.C.
'We just went live with it last week,' Drury B. Crawley, program manager, Commercial Buildings R&D, Building Energy Tools, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the site's sponsor, said in Charlotte.
During the conference, experts familiarized attendees with what they claim is first national green, high-performance building case study database created on a national and international level. Attendees were encouraged to use the database early on in the design process to maximize results for their projects.
The Web-based central database used by the DOE and other partner organizations enables green projects across the country to be submitted and showcased. 'As of May 15, 26 projects have been published,' says Crawley. Currently, the site includes projects from the U.S., Canada, Argentina, and Australia. 'Another 40 or 50 projects are being edited and reviewed. We expect more than 100 projects to be published on the site by the end of this year,' Crawley says.
The site publishes a variety of green projects, and will include projects that have received certification through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, says Peter Templeton, LEED program manager.
Users may access the database through the DOE's general high-performance buildings page: www.highperformancebuildings.gov . After entering the Web site, click on the 'projects' link. Direct access to the database can be obtained by entering www.eren.doe.gov/buildings/highperformance/case_studies . Information on how to submit projects for publishing in the database also can be found at the 'case_studies' address. 'Submitted projects are reviewed for technical completeness and edited for grammar,' says Crawley. 'The process takes a few weeks.'
Rare LEED-Platinum certification bestowed
In other news, it was announced during the conference that the LEED program has certified its second building as Platinum-rated, the highest rating the program can bestow on a project. Ceremonies were conducted at the University of California at Santa Barbara on April 20 to commemorate the certification the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management as a Platinum-rated building. The building was a LEED pilot project, and was certified under the program's original 1.0 rating version.
The first building to receive a Platinum rating was the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Phillip Merrill Environmental Center, Annapolis, Md. (BD&C, 6/01, page 32).
Templeton says that two other buildings presently in the certification process are seeking Platinum ratings. One of the buildings, the Chicago Center for Green Technology, which opened May 3, is a mixed-use building. The building is undergoing certification through LEED 1.0, while the other, a government building in California, is undergoing certification through LEED's latest 2.0 rating version.