Get Out

Green Buildings

By Sacha Cohen
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, August 6, 2006

Would you spend more money on your home if you thought it would cause less damage to the environment? If so, you're like the vast majority of Americans. A January poll by the American Institute of Architects showed that 90 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay $4,000 or $5,000 more for a house that would use less energy and protect the Earth.

To meet demand for greener structures, architects and builders are increasingly incorporating ecologically sound practices into new developments, both public and private.

Want to experience green building in action? Here are a few locations to check out:

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS. By covering the roof of its building with black-eyed Susans, stonecrop, cactuses, sumacs and dozens of other types of grasses, perennials and succulents, the professional association is helping to reduce heating and cooling costs, and improve community air and water quality.

"Landscape architects are leading many green roof projects across the U.S. and abroad, so it was only fitting that ASLA provide a demonstration project on this sustainable technology that can cure so many urban ills," says Executive Vice President Nancy Somerville. "We hope to provide a catalyst for more green roof development in Washington and beyond."

Call for info on public tours. 636 Eye St. NW. 202-898-2444. .

ECOVILLAGE OF LOUDOUN COUNTY. This 180-acre community, with houses beginning in the low $400,000s, preserves open space and uses solar power and environmentally sensitive technologies to conserve water and energy. Homes in the community have superior insulation in walls and roofs, as well as high-tech ventilation systems that reduce heating and cooling requirements, while maintaining excellent indoor air quality. Construction practices in and around the community preserve existing forest, and protect wildlife, soil and water, while landscaping emphasizes native plants, ground cover and wildflowers.

Tours can be organized via the phone or Web. 12606 Trillium Glen Lane, Lovettsville. 540-822-9449. .

HOTEL MADERA. One completely eco-friendly floor (the sixth floor) features water-efficient showers, lights, recycled papers and recycling bins for guests to use. Plus, all hotel rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly cleaning products. The entire Kimpton hotel group is moving toward more ecologically sound practices at all properties across the country. Visit for more details.

1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW. 202-296-7600. .

NATIONAL BUILDING MUSEUM. "The Green House" exhibit includes a full-size, furnished version of a modern prefab home that features environmentally friendly design and materials including bamboo flooring, countertops made from recycled paper and energy-smart appliances. There are also miniature replicas of 20 green residences from around the world and interactive elements in the exhibit that help visitors learn about the five principles of sustainable design. The exhibit runs through June 2007.

401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448. .

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