Institutional buildings may be built out of bricks, mortar, and steel, but they take on the characteristics of a living system. People rotate in and out of them as employees, public visitors, and sometimes even residents. They must provide everything necessary to safely and comfortably serve all their occupants, 24/7.
Often, their architectural visage and design are a big part of their reason for being—to make a notable statement about how habitable structures should look and function. They grace our cities and public spaces. And sometimes, they become world famous and instantly recognizable (The Sydney Opera House being one example). The challenge is to unify their function and sustainability with technologies and add to and don’t subtract from the experience of human visitation.
An increasing number of them have taken renewability and efficiency to heart with designs that incorporate both solar pv and solar thermal, plus geothermal technology. The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED ranking system has helped us quantify design and performance in new ways, and that gives builders or operators choices they never had before. CaliforniaGeo congratulates those who have built such structures and encourages all those who might consider one to take that next step!