New Construction

Photo: Brandon Boswell. License: CC BY 2.0.


New construction projects include design and construction of new buildings, and major renovations of existing ones. As defined by major programs like LEED, which has a rating system dedicated to new construction (LEED-NC), a major renovation involves major HVAC renovation, significant envelope modifications, and major interior rehabilitation.

In line with the LEED-NC emphasis, new construction often refers to new commercial office buildings, but many other commercial occupancy types can fall under this category, including hotels, mid- and high-rise residential, and institutional buildings such as libraries and schools.

Sustainability in new construction typically means a range of considerations:

  • siting (e.g., locating near public transit, using previously developed land)

  • water efficiency

  • energy efficiency

  • sustainable and healthy materials

  • construction waste management

  • indoor environmental quality
  • Rethinking the All-Glass Building
    June 29, 2010

    Feature Article

    Is it time to end our love affair with the all-glass building? A lot of proponents of high-performance, green design certainly think so-while other respected architects, including some leading green designers and energy experts, argue that all-glass can work well if done right.

  • Integrated Design Meets the Real World
    May 1, 2010

    Feature Article

    Proponents of integrated design say that it results in higher-performing buildings at lower costs than the conventional design process. But real world obstacles can derail or limit integration. We offer tips from experts to keep things on track.

  • Measuring (and Understanding) Humidity
    February 17, 2017

    Blog Post

    Humidity sensor recommendations for building professionals and homeowners

  • Unmilled Timber Frames Go High Tech, Replacing Steel
    January 4, 2017

    Product Review

    Keep the beauty of round logs, and get more strength from an engineered wood structure, promises Wisconsin-based company WholeTrees. 

  • Zero-Energy Laws Spur Growth in Passive House Certification
    January 4, 2017

    News Brief

    Passive House-certified projects surged in North America last year, particularly in Vancouver.

  • How Low-Flow Can You Go with Plumbing Fixtures?
    January 4, 2017

    Product Review

    BuildingGreen-Approved toilets, urinals, showerheads, and faucets automatically meet CALGreen and LEED v4 water-efficiency standards.

  • Why “Zero VOC” Was Never Enough
    October 4, 2016

    Feature Short

    We used to look for coatings, adhesives, and sealants that contained no VOCs. Great for smog prevention, but IAQ and installer health are also important.

  • VOC Testing: What It Can and Can’t Tell You
    October 4, 2016


    “Section 01350” has come a long way since it acquired its curious nickname. Here’s what it can tell you about indoor air quality—and what it can’t.

  • Verifying Project Outcomes: Which Metrics Work?
    September 7, 2016

    Feature Short

    Project success is increasingly tied to performance metrics, especially EUI. But that doesn’t always capture what owners are really looking for.

  • Owners, This RFP Hack Enables Lasting Building Performance
    September 7, 2016

    Feature Short

    A request for proposals is not just about selecting the right team; it’s the first chance to create buy-in for your new building’s goals.