When it comes to sustainability, many smaller architecture firms are interested but still getting there.

by Paula Melton

We hear a lot about the sustainability commitments and plans of large architecture firms, but the reality is that the vast majority of firms—about 75% in 2019, according to research done by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)—are small (by their definition, “small” means ten or fewer employees)

The Marshall Fire brought tragedy to Boulder County at the end of 2021. Can something positive grow out of the ashes?

by Nadav Malin

2021 was a year in a string of years of unprecedented weather-related events: mega tornados, record-shattering heat domes, and ever-expanding forest fires.

The endless availability of fresh, clean water is an illusion—and not just in drought-stricken places. Here are some ways in which building professionals can step up.

Seriously, what are we thinking? Lush golf courses, thirsty almond groves, and huge metropolises in the desert. More sprawling cities built on flood plains. And we wonder why water is dangerously scarce in some places and destructively abundant in others.

We are out of balance with natural water cycles, and we pay for it—billions of dollars per year—when wildfires and floods result.

Equity starts with inclusion and listening. Done right, over time, it ends with joy.

by RoseAnn Grimes

The themes of Living Future ’21 were unmistakable: a strong call from leaders in the building professions for allyship around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI).

A few important ways to do this stood out:

MEP engineering firms and others are encouraging MEP equipment manufacturers to report on the embodied carbon of their products.

MEP systems contribute to both the initial construction and lifetime embodied carbon footprint of an example office building. This MEP footprint begins at construction and grows over time is due to operations, refrigerant leakage, and replacement.

BuildingGreen’s editors look back on three decades of a movement

by the BuildingGreen editors

It has been quite a wild ride! As The BuildingGreen Report (formerly Environmental Building News) celebrates its 30th year of publication, we decided to track the growth—and explosion—of the green building movement. We start in 1990 with the founding of AIA’s Committee on the Environment.

Design and construction companies are urging the Biden Administration to build back greener.

February 22, 2021 – President Biden has made a commitment to “Build Back Better” in the wake of COVID-19, the economic crisis, social upheaval, and regulatory rollbacks by the former administration. A growing group of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms is calling on Biden to also build back greener. He can do this, they say, by adding sustainable building strategies to his climate agenda and environmental justice plans. And he doesn’t need Congress’s help.

Educational building tours help us learn new strategies—but what if you can’t go in person?

by Paula Melton

Building tours: they’ve been a vital educational component of green building from day one. But now COVID-19 has made them unsafe. Thanks to the Sustainability Leader Peer Networks we help convene, we’ve compiled a list of online tours and other videos that you can view from the safety of home.

This is by no means comprehensive, so we hope you’ll share your favorites in the comments!

Innovative technologies and practices can incite fear of unknown risks. But are those fears grounded in reality?

by Nicole DeNamur

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Nicole DeNamur owns Sustainable Strategies, a consulting firm that helps companies manage sustainable innovation by applying a legal and risk-management lens to innovative projects. Prior to launching Sustainable Strategies, Nicole practiced construction and insurance coverage law in Seattle for more than a decade.

A letter that BuildingGreen President Nadav Malin sent to our community on March 16, 2020

by Nadav Malin

To our friends and colleagues in the green building world,

We are now, in the most challenging sense, living in interesting times. As of today very few of us in North America are suffering from the illness caused by COVID-19, but we’re all experiencing its secondary effects: efforts to contain it that are shutting down gatherings, schools, and businesses. And, despite our best efforts now, we’re aware that widespread illness and even loss of life are increasingly likely in the near future.

We need to eliminate toxic fossil fuels from our buildings. This joint letter to HVAC equipment manufacturers asks them to address the gaps in the equipment that’s currently available.

by Paula Melton

Have you been moving toward electrifying HVAC systems but struggling to find the equipment you need?

The SDL Show-and-Tell session is where Greenbuild becomes more personal, more intimate, less business-to-business, and more community-centric.

by Daniel Overbey

The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is the world’s largest conference and expo centered around sustainable design. Greenbuild is unparalleled in its robust educational and networking opportunities, but it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Can buildings be both comfortable and energy efficient? The Kendeda Building shows how the two can go hand in hand.

By Alissa Kingsley

User control may seem antithetical to high-performance buildings: imagine the amount of energy that might be wasted when building occupants are able to adjust the thermostat or open and close windows at will.

Selecting the greenest products doesn’t do any good unless strong specifications support your choices. Here’s some language you can use.

by Anne Hicks Harney

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Anne Hicks Harney, of Long Green Specs, is our partner in providing product vetting services. Harney offers guidance on writing green specs and on finding products for LEED v4, WELL, and beyond.

For real this time?

by Peter Yost

For twenty years or so, companies like Pilkington (Spacia) have been cranking out R-5ish (center-of-glass) vacuum-insulated glazing (VIG).