Only a decade ago, sustainable building techniques were fairly rare, a fringe culture on the periphery of mainstream architecture. But with Stephen Colbert interviewing radically green architects like Mitchell Joachim and Passive House buildings popping up in New York City, that's all changing very quickly.
For concrete evidence of the shift, look no further than this year's Top Ten Green Buildings, an annual list chosen by the American Institute of Architects. A few years ago, this list was full of single-family homes commissioned by clients with a special interest in sustainability. Lately, it's full of schools, government buildings, and commercial developments.
And while it's tough to sum up complex buildings in just a sentence or two, there are a few fascinating details from this year's crop that stand out.
From snails that filter water to nails harvested from a WWII-era warehouse, here what's helping the future go green...