AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Kroon Hall

This photograph shows the buildings western facade at night.
Photo credit: Hopkins Architects


  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Building type(s): Higher education, Library
  • 68,800 ft2 (6,390 m2)
  • Urban setting
  • Completed January 2009
  • Rating: U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2.2--Level: Platinum (59 points)

Kroon Hall, the new home for the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is charged with many ambitious goals: to be novel and inspiring while fitting in with its Neo-Gothic neighbors; to be timeless on a campus known for its icons; to be practical, indeed, the university's most efficient energy consumer; to provide a home for an academic department previously scattered throughout a collection of outdated buildings; to not only be sustainable but to explicitly reveal through its design how a 100-year design lifespan building can run on nearly 60% fewer resources than its conventional peers. It includes offices for faculty, classrooms, a library and study center, an auditorium and a student lounge.

When the building opened in January 2009, it was difficult to imagine the very different physical conditions that had been present on the sloping site several years earlier: a gritty power plant described as a brownfield, a forgotten courtyard that was a visual eyesore, and an unused opportunity to capitalize on the site's proximity to the revered Ingalls Rink and historic Sachem's Wood. Now the power plant is buried underground, the courtyard redeveloped and expanded, and newly considered views and connections opened up across the site.

Environmental Aspects

The architects and the university wanted Kroon Hall to set a new standard for schools around the country. It had to function not simply as a sustainable overlay that offset unsustainable practices in people's everyday lives but as something that inspired and encouraged people to alter their lives and become more sustainable citizens. This was accomplished through a mix of active and passive design measures and visible, invisible and interactive building features. It also involved a range of design team actions from a fundamental realization of the sustainable possibilities that the site offered to more systemic issues, including electronic transmission of drawings for review between the team to save energy and reduce waste.

Program analysis grouped similar functions together to eliminate redundancies and identify areas that could serve multiple functions. Faculty office and research spaces are modular in design and offer efficient change of use for future modification. Significant portions of the top floor are flexible spaces that can provide for a variety of uses. By grouping most plant functions and the delivery node below an expansive green roof, we were also able to dramatically increase efficiency.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned by Yale University, Corporation, nonprofit
  • Typically occupied by 51 person, 35 hours per person per week; and 522 visitors per week, 18 hours per visitor per week


Integrated team, Simulation, Green specifications, Performance measurement and verification, Operations and maintenance, Brownfield redevelopment, Indigenous vegetation, Stormwater management, Massing and orientation, Glazing, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, On-site renewable electricity, Adaptable design, Durability, Recycled materials, Certified wood, Daylighting, Thermal comfort

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Last updated: 4/19/2010

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

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