News

News Analysis

Now is a perfect time for property owners and managers to pursue these major sustainability initiatives.

April 5, 2021

All over North America, office space is vacant or sparsely populated. Vaccinations for COVID-19 are gradually rolling out, but a return to onsite office work continues to be slow. While buildings are in a holding pattern, now is a perfect time for property owners and managers to make changes that are difficult when occupants... Read more

News Brief

Designers in the District are being encouraged to design for extreme heat, flooding, and power outages.

April 5, 2021

[Disclaimer: BuildingGreen’s founder, Alex Wilson, was a primary author of this report, with project support from Candace Pearson.]

What do holeless elevators and termite shields have in common? They’re both recommended resilient design features for public buildings, according to a recent guide released by Washington, D.C.’s Department... Read more

Feature Article

The way we use (and don’t use) our offices is irrevocably changing. But what are we going to do with all these vacant buildings?

April 5, 2021

Office work is changing. During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the average commercial office vacancy rate across the U.S. leapt from about 12% to 15%, according to CBRE. Some big companies, including Facebook, Salesforce, and Microsoft, have announced that they will be allowing remote work indefinitely. Experts disagree about how... Read more

Product Review

Alpen’s WinSert commercial window inserts significantly improve the thermal performance of aging window systems, without the cost or aesthetic concerns of full replacements.

April 5, 2021

Instead of new construction, many firms are retrofitting older buildings in an attempt to reduce a project’s embodied carbon. The problem is that the operational energy required to run these often poorly insulated buildings can offset many of those gains. And windows are one of the biggest challenges, since they account for “... Read more

News Brief

Although government officials ultimately implement the energy code, the ICC is blocking them from voting on it.

April 5, 2021

Just when local officials began to take an interest in shaping the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the International Code Council (ICC) decided to strip them of their vote. Bowing to trade group pressure, the ICC has proposed recategorizing the creation of buildings codes as an ANSI standard process in reaction... Read more

April Fools

“They were conducting an energy audit,” say attorneys representing dozens of alleged intruders.

April 1, 2021

In a legal twist following the January 6 insurrection, attorneys claim their clients were assessing the thermal performance of the U.S. Capitol Building, and not illegally invading it as prosecutors allege. Furthermore, they say the boisterous energy audit was fully lawful, having been endorsed by President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas... Read more

April Fools

Using reclaimed building materials is a great way to save resources and lower the embodied carbon of a building, but obtaining these materials has created a new set of legal and ethical challenges.

April 1, 2021

In a rush to lower the carbon footprint of new construction and ward off the worst impacts of climate change, design teams are increasingly turning to reclaimed materials. Furniture, cladding, wood flooring, stone, and even structural beams can be repurposed at a fraction of the environmental and fiscal costs of new materials, and architecture... Read more

April Fools

The new space will break with staid traditions and offer some unusual amenities.

April 1, 2021

The Donald J. Trump Library Foundation has unveiled preliminary plans for the former head of state’s presidential library, which it says will be located near the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. The building is designed to have maximum environmental impact, and activities for guests will range from interactive museum exhibits to... Read more

April Fools

News that BIG will no longer design new buildings shocks the architecture profession.

April 1, 2021

Responding to the extraordinary news that the 2021 Pritzker Prize winners Anne Lacaton and Jean-Phillippe Vassal have pledged to never demolish a building, the Copenhagen-based firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) announced on April 1 that the company will go one better by avoiding new construction altogether.

“From now on,” said company... Read more

April Fools

A subterranean portion of the structure will host thousands of workers.

April 1, 2021

Renderings of Amazon’s forthcoming Arlington, Virginia headquarters wowed the world with a swirling centerpiece dubbed “the Helix.” Sustainability features include access to copious daylight, indoor gardens that double as flexible workspaces, and an awe-inspiring tree-lined ramp—open to the public, like the rest of the grounds—that promotes... Read more

April Fools

COVID has upended our lives, homes, and offices. It’s time to fight back with HAMMER brand biocidal antifungal nonviral germicidal disinfectant antimicrobial therapeutic (BANGDAT) sprays, coatings, and composites.

April 1, 2021

As people struggle to return to the office due to concerns over COVID-19, design teams and building owners are looking for solutions to keep occupants safe and healthy. You can never be too careful, so while cleaning protocols, vaccines, and herd immunity may help provide partial protection against our current pandemic, how do you sanitize... Read more

April Fools

The threshold for demonstrating habitability during power outages just got a lot easier for office buildings in the post-pandemic era.

April 1, 2021

Passive survivability—the idea that buildings should be designed to ensure safe thermal conditions during extended power outages—is about to get a whole lot easier, according to Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA. And all the credit goes to the ongoing pandemic, which proved that the best way to survive might be to avoid the building entirely.... Read more

Blog Post

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

March 22, 2021

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.

The Sustainable MEP Leaders group, organized by BuildingGreen, is a group of motivated... Read more

News Analysis

The latest version of the Cradle to Cradle product standard also expands embodied carbon requirements and replaces the controversial “banned list” with a new approach.

March 17, 2021

The Cradle to Cradle (C2C) product standard just got much more stringent. So stringent, in fact, that the lowest level of the new version 4 (Bronze) “in many categories is better than v3 Silver,” said Matteo Kausch, Ph.D., director of technical development at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). Here’s a look at what’s... Read more

Product Review

Schneider’s Square D Energy Center can connect photovoltaics, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and “smart” meters and appliances.

March 1, 2021

With COVID-19 protocols shutting down many offices, our homes have now become our workplaces. This shift in energy consumption to the home is an opportunity to upgrade these spaces to make them as efficient as possible and to incorporate technologies that will reduce our carbon output, such as renewable energy, battery storage, “smart”... Read more

News Analysis

Many are struggling to hit 2030 Commitment targets and embodied carbon goals. We picked the brains of three architecture firms that are in the thick of it—and progressing.

March 1, 2021

The largest design firm in the world made a bit of a splash in 2020 with its Gensler Cities Climate Challenge (GC3 for short). “Within a decade, we will eliminate all net emissions associated with our work,” the GC3 boldly states. The commitment explicitly includes both operating carbon (greenhouse gas emissions associated... Read more

News Brief

Seven new “proving grounds” will test the effectiveness of new energy-efficiency and grid-harmonization strategies.

March 1, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is partnering with seven state and local governments to create “proving grounds” designed to test advanced building technologies. Many of the technologies enhance “grid harmonization,” using strategies that are responsive to the grid’s supply in order to reduce energy costs while also keeping the grid cleaner... Read more

News Brief

Every major end use for fossil fuels in buildings is ready to be electrified, according to a report from the New Buildings Institute.

March 1, 2021

Building electrification is a great idea to promote decarbonization, but is the industry ready for it? The Building Electrification Technology Roadmap from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) suggests the answer is yes.

The report examines the status of 38 different technologies for residential,... Read more

News Brief

The Carbon Leadership Forum has published a whole library on embodied carbon—and it’s crowdsourcing more resources every day.

March 1, 2021

Net-zero energy. Not so long ago, full-scale adoption of energy efficiency and onsite renewables was the dream of the green building community. But as climate change worsens, the focus has gradually turned to carbon rather than energy.

A shift has also occurred in what kinds of emissions we need to... Read more

News Brief

Des Moines, Iowa, joins Google in aiming for 24/7 carbon-free electricity—a target that necessitates managing energy loads in buildings.

March 1, 2021

Denton, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Reading, Pennsylvania—nearly 210 cities have pledged or have already achieved 100% clean electricity or net-zero emissions, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And then there’s Des Moines, Iowa, which recently pledged to achieve 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2035—a... Read more