Buildings generate nearly 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions—and since two-thirds of the buildings that exist today will still be around by the middle of the century, architects need to rethink their design now to have a chance of meeting goals for a net-zero economy. The industry is shifting, and sustainability has become a standard part of architecture. But some projects go further than others. Each year, the American Institute of Architecture Committee on the Environment selects the 10 best designs. Here’s the list for 2020.
Environmental Nature Center and Preschool - LPA, Inc.
This preschool at a nature center in Newport Beach, California, preserves four acres of open space with native plants in a suburban neighborhood. Rainwater is harvested from roofs into bioswales where plants filter and clean the water. The preschool, built with natural and recycled materials, is designed to be so efficient that rooftop solar panels can provide more power than the building needs. Preschoolers grow their own food in an on-site organic garden. The design is flexible, so the building could later be repurposed for other uses in the future.