As more research reveals the slow deterioration of Planet Earth, efforts of sustainability, especially in architecture, are becoming more prevalent. With the celebration of Earth Day just a few days ago, we thought it’d be both fitting and inspiring to showcase some of the greenest buildings in the U.S.

1. Wharton’s San Francisco Campus

Wharton San Francisco Campus Green Building

University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious business school set up shop on the Embarcadero in our hometown of San Francisco. The east coast based school easily transitioned into the west coast lifestyle, immediately participating in the region’s green movement. The building features plenty of natural day lighting and the use of locally sourced, eco-friendly materials in its construction. Efficient lighting and equipment systems were also installed to keep energy consumption at a minimum, while custodians are required to use only green cleaning products in the maintenance of the building. Campus recycling and composting programs were also implemented to further the green efforts of the school.

2. Casa Verde Idea House

Casa Verde Green Idea House San Francisco

Sunset Magazine’s Green Dream Home is another San Francisco jewel located in the city’s Mission district. It was designed by John Lum Architecture and constructed by Meridian Builders and Developers to be a zero energy super-home, complete with its own wind turbine, which is located in the garden. Multiple sustainable systems were also installed including a solar thermal heating system and radiant floors, as well as a green roof that recycles rainwater. The gorgeous, midcentury modern interior is completed with reclaimed wood flooring and various glass details.

3. Special No. 9 House, New Orleans

Special No. 9 House New Orleans Green Building

The Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans aims to help rebuild the lives of those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Its project, the Special No. 9 House, was implemented to construct affordable, green homes in the Lower Ninth Ward, which was displaced by the storm. Philadelphia architects at KieranTimberlake collaborated with New Orleans based architect John C. Williams, to build these storm-resistant homes, using non-toxic materials and efficient systems, such as a geothermal pump for the house’s heating/cooling and a trellis for shade to limit sun exposure during hot months. Big windows allow for maximum natural lighting, views, ventilation, and connection of residents to the outside world.

4. Omega Center for Sustainable Living, Rhinebeck New York

Omega Center Sustainable Living New York

The Omega Center is designed to clean/sterilize water and return it back to the local systems through the use of earth, plants, and sunlight. The building also uses solar energy for passive heating and lighting to harvest its own renewable energy, providing life to itself and the areas surrounding it.

These are just some of the revolutionary architectural wonders that currently lead the green/sustainable movement by example through innovation in both environmental and design aspects. We still have a long way to go when it comes to the “greening” of our planet but the existence of these structures indicates a promising start. If you want to get a head start in making eco-friendly changes in your home, please do stop by our tile showrooms in San Jose, Burlingame, and Pleasanton. Our sales staff will gladly guide you through some of our own green products.

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