Five of the greenest commercial buildings in the nation

More designers are looking to make commercial space energy efficient.

It's not always easy being green.

While eco-friendly building designs continue to gain popularity, stringent LEED Gold standards and rising costs in construction can put the damper on hopes for energy-efficient commercial designs. Still, many developers are going all out in their quest for a self-sustaining facility.

Seattle's Federal Center South Building 1202 is one such development, and it's considered one of the greenest commercial buildings in the nation.

The center was designed to extensively utilize natural daylight, and some of its other features include recycled materials and an energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that uses under-floor air distribution.

Another building earning renown for its energy efficiency is Pearl Brewery & Full Goods Warehouse in San Antonio, Texas. Covering more than 63,000 square feet of space, Pearl Brewery uses the largest roof-mounted solar array in Texas, according to the American Institute of Architects.

One of the more interesting features includes its use of rainwater caught by the roof. Pearl Brewery uses 100 percent of the rainwater captured from its roof to irrigate the on-site landscaping.

Other buildings of note regarded among the nation's greenest commercial spaces include the Clock Shadow Building in Milwaukee; Marin Country Day School Learning Resource Center in Corte Madera, Calif.; and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters.

The Clock Shadow Building was built using nearly 30 percent salvaged materials. The design team was forced to use a different model for material procurement in order to find salvaged materials while still staying on the construction schedule.

The Clock Shadow Building, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Headquarters, Federal Center South, Marin Country Day School and Pearl Brewery were all named to the American Institute of Architects Top 10 buildings of 2013.

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