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Credit: William Snow

New College House is one of six projects being honored by a non-profit organization for sustainable design. 

The 2017 Groundbreaker Awards is an annual ceremony that honors organizations and individuals dedicated to sustainable design and construction in Philadelphia. The Delaware Valley Green Building Council launched the awards to recognize and inspire environmentally friendly innovation. 

This year's winner for the individual category is Scott Mazo, the Founder and CEO of University Place Associates. The winning organization is the Ronald McDonald House, which is located at 3925 Chestnut Street. 

Mazo is being recognized for his design of the “Platinum Corridor”, a commercial and office building which will be located at 40th and Market streets. The space will be a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum Project, which is the highest standard for sustainable design. It will feature tinted windows to reduce cooling costs and a rooftop garden. 

The Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House is being recognized for their recent renovations, which significantly reduced their energy costs. Their efficiency upgrades include changes to their heating, cooling and lighting systems. 

Six projects were also listed as finalists, one of which was Penn’s New College House which opened August 2016. The structure features large glass windows, open spaces, efficient plumbing and a green roof that stores and cleans rainwater. 

It was designed by architects at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, an architecture firm which emphasizes on sustainable design. 

Credit: Athena Panton

“It was really important to the project to maintain green spaces, not just so that they could be enjoyed by the people in them, but that they could also improve the sustainable infrastructure of the city” Dana Reed, a senior associate at BCJ, said. 

Reed said BCJ designed the roof of NCH to be able to store and filter rain water, which helps cool the building and prevents excess dirty water from ending up in the Schuylkill River. 

Alex Dews, the executive director of DVGBC, said Penn and other organizations are committed to adhering to LEED building standards in the future. However, several students living in NCH said they weren't fully aware of the sustainable features that warrant the project’s gold LEED rating. 

“There’s nothing particularly environmentally friendly about the building that you’d notice when you walk through the door,” College sophomore Grace Boroughs said. 

The award ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Sept 19 in the Atrium at 1900 Market Street, a commercial property that employs environmentally-friendly methods of energy consumption and conservation.