The Shangri La Botanical Gardens in Orange, has been selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for its 2009 list of the greenest buildings. The  COTE Top 10 Green Projects are selected by the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) and make a positive contribution to their communities, reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality. In particular, the Shangri La Botanical Gardens, the first project to earn LEED Platinum for new construction in the state of Texas and the Gulf Coast region, was selected for the following sustainable design features:

· More than 75% of the interior spaces have been provided with effective daylighting.

· Rooftop rain water is harvested utilizing nine 3,700-gallon cisterns for a total storage capacity of 33,200 gallons, used for both irrigation and flushing toilets. This, combined with water conserving fixtures, results in a 77% reduction in water use.

· Thirty-six solar photovoltaic panels throughout the property generate renewable energy. When the sun is out, Shangri La is designed to produce 21% of its energy from these panels.

· Hurricane Rita devastated Shangri La in 2005 at the beginning of construction. Rather than conceding a setback, many of the fallen trees were milled on site and used throughout the property for outdoor benches, for furniture and in the construction of the main pavilion.

Other named organizations on the list were: Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut, Lebanon; Chartwell, Seaside, Calif.; Gish Apartments, San Jose, Calif.; Great River Energy Corporate Headquarters, Maple Grove, Minn.; Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation (JRC), Evanston, Ill.; Portola Valley Town Center, Portola Valley, Calif.; Synergy at Dockside Green, Victoria, B. C.; The Terry Thomas, Seattle, Wash.; and World Headquarters for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Yarmouth Port, Maine.