Desert Living Center Striving For LEED Platinum

While perusing a periodical recently we became aware of an interesting project in Las Vegas, Nevada known as the Springs Preserve. The complex consists of the Origen Experience, Desert Living Center, Gardens/Trails and the Nevada State Museum. The Desert Living Center is of particular interest as it was designed with the intent of gaining LEED Platinum Certification.



The center was designed by Lucchesi, Galati Architects Inc. and incorporates the following elements in order to obtain the platinum certification:

  • Rammed-earth walls utilizing local materials
  • Window design maximizing natural daylight use
  • Recycled materials minimizing new resource demand
  • Passive cooling and renewable heating of buildings
  • Reclaimed water to reduce tap water needs
  • Electrical energy created by solar array panels


The building consists of three zones, the Sustainability Gallery, the Inside Out Gallery and the Design Lab & Dialogue Center. The Sustainability Gallery focuses on various aspects of sustainability while the Inside Out Gallery peels back the inner structure of the building itself to reveal and teach the fundamentals of green buildings. The Lab focuses more on academic and research endeavors as they relate to the environment.

William McDonough Speaks At TED

Here is the description for the lecture given by McDonough from the TED website:

Architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account “All children, all species, for all time.” A tireless proponent of absolute sustainability (with a deadpan sense of humor), he explains his philosophy of “cradle to cradle” design, which bridge the needs of ecology and economics. He also shares some of his most inspiring work, including the world’s largest green roof (at the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan), and the entire sustainable cities he’s designing in China.

Skyscraper Creates All Its Own Energy

Interesting news article from Metaefficient of a proposed project in Dubai, UAE called Burj al-Taqa. The high rise tower which translates as “Energy Tower” in English is to be a purely self-sufficient building in terms of energy usage. The design of the building minimizes its exposure to the sun while also employing a giant wind turbine and numerous solar panels to provide its sustainability within the local climate of the Persian Gulf.

WTC Complex Striving for LEED Gold


Apparently the latest design incarnation of the World Trade Center Complex will attempt to receive
USGBC (
United States Green Building Council) LEED Gold Certification. Tower 7 has already been certified Gold as of March of 2006. For those of you unfamiliar with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ here is a passage from the USGBC’s website to help explain, “…(LEED Rating System) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.” Points are earned through research, calculation, analysis and written description in a prescribed manner and submitted for review to USGBC within a LEED Letter Template in one of six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation & Design Process. After successful review points are awarded in the various categories which count towards certification. Below are listed the required point system milestones for various levels of certification:


Certification Level Points

Certified: 26-32
Silver: 33-38
Gold: 39-51

Platinum: 52+


The Freedom Tower and all other towers as well as the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum will submit applications for LEED Certification.



Official World Trade Center Memorial Site
Another Gold Certification Article