Green buildings are better for the planet and help reduce energy usage and occupancy costs.
However, you may want inspiration from existing eco-friendly structures before constructing a green building in Ohio. That’s where knowing the top environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio is handy to have as a reference.
Planning a sustainable construction project is no small feat. From determining the most energy-efficient materials to maximizing the amount of natural light for passive lighting, you need all the help and ideas you can get.
Fortunately, Ohio has some of the most innovative and advanced green buildings to model you project on.
In this article, I’ll discuss the top 15 environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio. You’ll get the scoop on Ohio’s most eco-friendly buildings from skyscrapers to offices and apartments. Let’s take a look at them!
1. The Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC)
The Greater Columbus Convention Center is one of the top environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio due to its location, water, and energy efficiency.
GCCC is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver-certified building and is built with sustainable materials incorporating energy-saving techniques.
The convention center is in an urban center that’s easily accessible via public transit. This helps reduce emissions by making it easier for people to attend events without using personal vehicles.
GCCC was built with low-flow water fixtures to minimize water consumption. Moreover, its exterior landscaping has drip lines that provide effective irrigation without wasting water.
Other features that make GCCC eco-friendly include the following:
- Energy efficiency: The building has systems that measure energy usage in real-time to identify issues and opportunities for saving. Furthermore, it’s fitted with energy-efficient LED lights for efficiency.
- Material usage: The convention center employs a sustainable purchasing technique based on the reduce, reuse, and recycle model to reduce waste. For instance, all paper products used in this convention center are made from 100% recycled content.
- Indoor environmental quality: GCCC has green cleaning programs that help create a healthy indoor environment using eco-friendly materials free of VOCs.
2. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was ranked the Greenest Zoo in America in 2010 due to its sustainability efforts.
The zoo’s environmentally friendly tactics involve waste management and auditing, water reclamation, and renewable energy sources.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has saved over two billion gallons (7.5 billion liters) of water by installing low-flow faucets and fixtures and fixing leaks in exhibit pools.
Moreover, its 500,000 gallons (1,900,000 liters) of stormwater storage capacity allows the zoo to use rainwater for its animal exhibits, conserving potable water.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has reduced its reliance on grid-based electricity by 23%. It achieved this by installing 20 kW and several 10 kW solar arrays to serve the Membership and Ticketing power needs.
Moreover, it has a 1.56-megawatt solar array with 6,400 panels that serve other buildings.
The zoo’s transition to solar energy has helped reduce 1,775 tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal burning.
3. Progressive Insurance Headquarters
Located in Mayfield, Progressive Insurance Headquarters has some of the most environmentally friendly building features in Ohio.
The center is focused on environmental stewardship by reducing its dependence on natural resources.
Its buildings are designed to reduce environmental footprint while maximizing energy and resource savings.
Progressive Insurance Headquarters has invested in building automation systems across all its buildings. These systems adjust lighting, heating, and cooling based on a room’s occupancy to save energy.
Moreover, the facility replaced most structures on its buildings with more energy-efficient options.
Besides, Progressive Insurance Headquarters has invested in renewable energy sources like solar and wind to reduce its dependence on grid-based electricity. The move lowered its electricity-based carbon emissions by over 31,000 metric tons annually.
4. The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion
The Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion is one of the best environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio.
Over the past 20 years, The Toledo Museum of Art has been at the forefront of enhancing green building initiatives in the region, starting with its design and glass pavilion.
The museum’s glass pavilion has a heat recovery system that cools the perimeter glass walls. The system reduces the pavilion’s energy consumption by compensating for energy loss through the all-glass perimeter.
Besides the heat recovery system, The Toledo Museum of Art has minimized its electricity-based carbon emissions by investing in the following renewable energy sources:
- Solar panels: The museum has invested in an array of solar panels that provide approximately 50% of its electrical demand on a sunny day.
- Microturbines: The museum has six microturbines and chillers in the glass pavilion’s power plant to work alongside the solar panels. Each turbine produces 65 kW (390 kW for the six) of electricity, catering for up to 15 percent of the museum’s power needs. Consequently, they have played a crucial role in reducing the museum’s dependence on the electrical grid.
5. Ruffing Montessori School
Based in Cleveland, Ruffing Montessori School was the first school in Northeast Ohio to earn LEED certification.
Although the school aims to educate children to their fullest potential, it doesn’t neglect its environmental responsibilities.
Ruffing Montessori School incorporates the green philosophy in its curriculum and infrastructure.
In terms of the school’s infrastructure, its buildings have some of the most efficient systems that help conserve natural resources.
It has hugely invested in solar panels that provide up to 20 percent of its electricity needs.
Moreover, the institution uses a geothermal heating and cooling system to save more energy.
Other features that make buildings at the Ruffing Montessori School sustainable include:
- A living roof: It reduces the demand for heating in winter and cooling in summer by creating insulation on the roof. Moreover, it helps mitigate the heat island effect.
- On-site greenhouse: It facilitates sustainable food production by trapping solar energy to warm plants in its interior.
- Waterless urinals: The institution has installed waterless urinals in its buildings to conserve water. Instead of water, these urinals have a cartridge in the waste outlet that prevents odor and blockages. Consequently, they help save about 100,000 liters (26,000 gallons) of water annually.
- Low-flow toilets: These toilets use a small amount of water per flush.
6. ArcelorMittal Cleveland
ArcelorMittal Cleveland is one of the largest steel manufacturers in the world.
Despite its enormous space — a 7 million-square-foot (650,000-square-meter) manufacturing plant on a 950-acre (380-hectare) site, the facility has some of the most environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio.
In 2013, the facility was the first of its kind to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy to enhance its energy efficiency. Its primary goal was to lower energy intensity by 10 percent across its American-based facilities.
ArcelorMittal Cleveland has two blast furnaces that power its steel-making processes. It has also installed efficient LED lighting systems across its buildings to enhance energy efficiency.
Moreover, the company has considerably reduced its electricity consumption by upgrading its compressed air system.
Through the above initiatives, ArcelorMittal Cleveland became the first U.S. steel miller to be recognized and certified by the Department of Energy (DOE) under ISO certification 50001 Ready.
7. Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies
Located in Oberlin, Ohio, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies (AJLC) participated in the launch of the green building movement of the 1990s. This was due to the facility’s innovative green systems that inspired sustainable construction in other institutions.
AJLC was named by Architect Magazine as the top green building in the U.S. since 1980.
The building’s eco-friendly features include:
- Living machine wastewater treatment system: A system that uses natural cleansing to recycle wastewater into reusable greywater. It plays a vital water conservation role by recycling water for reuse in irrigation at Oberlin College.
- Solar parking pavilion: AJLC’s roof has a solar parking pavilion that generates 159 kW of electricity to power most of the college’s operations.
8. The Village at 115th
The Village at 115th is a property of Case Western Reserve University that serves as a student residence.
It has seven sustainable buildings built in line with the university’s goal to enhance its structures’ efficiency, sustainability, and human health impact.
Case Western Reserve University’s efficiency improvements target the lighting and energy systems to ensure carbon neutrality and human flourishment.
The Village at 115th was the university’s first project to become LEED certified. It holds LEED Silver and Gold certifications due to its efficient use of resources.
The buildings have an artificial sand plot beneath them for sustainable stormwater absorption into the soil.
The plot makes it possible for the rainwater collected from the roofs to be absorbed into the earth without overflowing, making it healthy for the land.
Moreover, The Village at 115th has energy-efficient modern lighting systems that help conserve energy.
It also boasts innovative heating, cooling, and window control systems that improve its efficiency.
9. Tinkham Veale University Center
Tinkham Veale University Center is one of the top environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio due to its focus on renewable energy solutions.
It’s an events venue in Cleveland that hosts nearly a million visitors and thousands of events annually.
The facility is an 82,000-square-foot (7,600-square-meter) complex designed and built by Perkins and Will to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Tinkham Veale University Center is LEED Gold-certified in energy and water efficiency, site development, use of sustainable building materials, and quality indoor environment.
It incorporates daylight harvesting, renewable energy sources, radiant heating and cooling, and natural ventilation to conserve energy.
Its sloping green roof shields it from direct sunlight, minimizing the need for indoor cooling.
Moreover, the facility is built with a double-skin glass curtain wall that promotes natural cooling.
Tinkham Veale University Center is uniquely designed to facilitate natural ventilation through a 3-foot (0.91-meter) hollow cavity within the glass wall system. The cavity uses mechanical ventilation to deliver fresh air and exhaust stale air.
Finally, its radiant heating and cooling system uses pipes underneath the floor to transmit heat throughout the facility. This helps reduce energy consumption by maintaining the building’s temperature without relying on a traditional HVAC system.
10. Allen Memorial Art Museum
Located at Oberlin College, Allen Memorial Art Museum is among America’s finest academic art museums. It was built in 1917 without most features of environmentally friendly buildings.
However, the museum was renovated in 2005 to incorporate environmentally friendly features like lighting and climate control systems.
Subterranean spaces were created during the renovation to improve air quality and provide a buffer zone between the building’s indoor and outdoor environments.
The spaces also provided collection storage and served as a place to reroute mechanical equipment from the building’s roof.
Allen Memorial Art Museum has a new lighting system that reduces energy consumption by lowering wattage and increasing lighting efficiency.
Moreover, the museum has an efficient HVAC design and geothermal wells that serve as heat sources. These components reduce energy consumption while providing sustainable heating and cooling solutions.
The combination of the innovative HVAC design and geothermal wells reduces the museum’s carbon footprint by 75%. Consequently, it contributed immensely toward the museum’s LEED Gold certification.
11. Bertram and Judith Kohl Building
Based at Oberlin College, Bertram and Judith Kohl Building is a bar-shaped structure that serves as a classroom for jazz and musicology classes.
It was opened in 2014 and is one of the greenest structures in the college.
The building’s north-south design orientation helps capture natural light throughout the day.
The orientation improves daylighting, which reduces the need for electrical lighting.
It also has a green roof that creates an insulation layer on the roof. A well-insulated roof reduces heat gain and loss, significantly cutting down energy requirements for heating and cooling.
Other features that make this one of the top environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio include:
- Gypsum boards separated by masonry walls for added insulation.
- Geothermal radiant heat and cooling system embedded in the ceiling to aid in natural cooling.
- The building is also narrow to allow ample daylighting across all sides.
- It has a central terrarium on the third floor for easy light penetration into the building.
12. Great Lakes Brewing Company
Great Lakes Brewing Company is one of the few brewing companies that promote eco-conscious building.
The company uses different eco-friendly building initiatives to conserve energy, support the local economy, and reduce waste generation.
Great Lakes Brewing Company employs the following construction features and designs to achieve its goals:
- Radiant heat floor systems: Most of the company’s structures have radiant heat floors that helps in energy conservation. Unlike the traditional forced air HVAC systems, radiant heat floors are more energy efficient because they retain heat closer to the floor.
- Straw bale walls: Straw bales are among the best sustainable building materials. With R-values between 0.94 and 2.38 per inch, straw bales make some of the most efficient insulations. Therefore, since the company’s buildings have straw bale walls, they require less energy to maintain conducive indoor temperatures.
- Renewable energy: A 62-panel solar array is installed on the roof of one of the company’s buildings. It generates enough energy that reduces the company’s dependence on grid-based electricity. Consequently, this lowers its electricity-based carbon emissions.
- Local sourcing: The Great Lakes Brewing Company sources most of its materials locally. Therefore, it reduces carbon emissions due to transportation.
13. Calfee Building
Initially known as the East Ohio Gas Building, Calfee Building is one of Ohio’s most inspiring green buildings.
Calfee Building’s management aims to be a responsible steward of energy and water resources to create a competitive business environment in Cleveland.
It’s worth noting that during its initial construction in 1915, Calfee Building was not built to meet sustainable standards.
However, it was later renovated with environmentally friendly features that promote healthy indoors and sustainability. These features include:
- A white roof: It cools the house naturally by reflecting up to 85 percent of sunlight. Therefore, it saves energy by minimizing the need for air conditioning.
- Energy-efficient windows: The building has windows designed to reduce energy consumption. They use thermally efficient glazed glass that keeps the interior temperature constant throughout the day.
- Low-flow fixtures: The building has low-flow fixtures that reduce water consumption. These fixtures enhance the structure’s sustainability in two ways — they conserve water and reduce energy costs associated with pumping, treating, and heating water.
- Smart lighting controls: Systems that save electricity by dimming or turning off lights based on occupancy and natural light intensities.
14. KeyBank Tiedeman Road Facility
KeyBank has been at the forefront of promoting green building practices to reduce waste and energy consumption in Ohio.
Based in Brooklyn, KeyBank Tiedeman Road Facility is one of the firm’s buildings incorporating eco-friendly features. It’s among the few structures in Northeast Ohio to attain LEED platinum certification.
KeyBank Tiedeman Road Facility’s green features include:
- Energy-efficient LED lighting: The company reduced its kilowatt use significantly by installing LED lights throughout the facility. For instance, it saves up to 90% kilowatt use in its revolving security doors.
- Low-flow fixtures: The building has low-flow fixtures that reduce the amount of water used in bathrooms, toilets, and kitchens.
- Temperature controls: Its HVAC systems have temperature controls that monitor occupancy and adjust indoor temperatures accordingly.
15. Collinwood Recreation Center
Located in Cleveland, Collinwood Recreation Center is LEED Gold-certified because it was built with sustainable materials.
The 45,794-square-foot (4254-square-meter) facility was built with reclaimed wood and metal salvaged from other structures. Moreover, it’s among the few structures built with recycled concrete in the state.
The recreation center features a sundeck fence made from recycled shipping containers.
In terms of water management, Collinwood Recreation Center has a rain garden for capturing and filtering stormwater for reuse.
Finally, the center also has bamboo flooring in its gym and courts.
Final Thoughts On Environmentally Friendly Green Buildings in Ohio
These top environmentally friendly green buildings in Ohio demonstrate the potential of sustainable construction practices.
Besides conserving water and energy, these buildings promote healthy living conditions for their occupants. Therefore, you can use any of these designs to inspire your next project.