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Fact or Fiction: Sustainable Building
by Staff
Studies have shown that sustainable buildings cost only about 2 percent more to build than traditional buildings do -- and they'll pay you back many times over in energy savings. So how much do you know about building green?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It stands for Light, Energy and Environmental Design.

Green is the highest LEED rating.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The highest rating is Blue.

A brise-soleil system stores energy from sunlight and uses it to power a building's HVAC system.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: A brise-soleil system reflects sunlight throughout a building while also blocking solar heat.

Fly ash is a byproduct of coal burning that can be used to make energy-efficient insulation.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Fly ash is used to make cement.

Many sustainable buildings recycle gray water into drinking water.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: Recycling isn't necessary, so sustainable buildings just pump it where it needs to go.

The "Living Machine" at Oberlin College treats and purifies wastewater for use in toilets.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The Living Machine takes food waste and automatically turns it into compost.

The "solar umbrella" of PV panels on the creatively named Solar Umbrella House in Venice, Calif., supplies half of the building's energy.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: The solar umbrella produces 65 percent of the home's energy.

Chipotle is the first restaurant chain to have a LEED Platinum-certified building.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: An Applebee's in Miami was actually the first.

The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in New York City has the city's largest green roof, at 2.5 acres.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's a U.S. Postal Service building that has the huge green roof.

The largest solar-powered community in North America is in Baja California, Mexico.

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact: It's actually in Marin County, Calif.