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Robin Guenther advanced new standards for hospitals that were adopted by the larger green building community and integrated into leading rating systems.
We acknowledge with mournful hearts the death of Robin Guenther, FAIA, a leading expert in evidence-based healthcare design and an early, vocal critic of questionable chemistries that remain all too common in building materials. Robin died of ovarian cancer on May 6, 2023, according to a New York Times obituary.
Robin had long decried... Read more
Electrical and communication cables typically have an insulation layer around the wire and are coated with jacket materials that protect them from damage and improve safety in various applications. There are cables rated for use in standard applications (such as risers) and in plenums, where added flame resistance is necessary. As a result,... Read more
Urban Mining Industries’ Pozzotive glass pozzolan can replace portland cement in concrete and is now a Concrete Innovation Award winner.
Pozzotive glass pozzolan won a 2023 Innovative Product or Service award at the recent National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) conference in Las Vegas. As part of NRMCA’s Build With Strength sustainability initiative, the organization gives out awards for products that show a “commitment to improving the resilience,... Read more
In a new strategy, the EEOC plans to tackle workplace discrimination in industries lacking in diversity, including construction.
The construction industry has a diversity and discrimination problem, and in January, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) took formal notice. In its recently proposed Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), effective from 2023 through 2027, the EEOC explains that it will prioritize discrimination cases in certain industries,... Read more
Architects want to design for future weather, but the data aren’t formatted with them in mind.
There is now more information available than ever about how our climate is likely to change. Why aren’t architects using those projections to design safer, more resilient buildings?
The University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) and HGA recently conducted a study to answer that... Read more
A proposed rule would regulate six PFAS “forever chemicals” in drinking water. The agency faces a backlash over the cost of compliance.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule limiting per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS “forever chemicals”) in drinking water.
PFAS—a class of chemicals used to repel dirt and liquids from carpets and textiles and to make cookware “nonstick”—are ubiquitous in building materials and have been banned in... Read more
While governments continue to adopt “buy clean” procurement policies, a newer race is on to limit embodied carbon through codes. But the fate of the effort is uncertain.
The urgency of curbing embodied carbon, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with building materials, continues to escalate. Voluntary rating systems have been working away at the issue for more than a decade. More recently, states like California, several cities, and some U.S. agencies started adopting “buy clean” policies... Read more
Solid Carbon’s biochar admixture can create a carbon-negative concrete, with the help of other concrete additives and credit for avoided emissions.
The race to address climate change has had a profound impact on the concrete industry as it attempts to lower its historically high embodied carbon. Low-carbon concretes are now available for most applications. They are not a one-size-fits-all low-carbon solution, however, which makes the specification process more challenging... Read more
Interior paint can be a source of VOCs and other contaminants, and some may not be durable enough for intended applications. Interior paints have to balance low emissions and toxicity with durability and performance. If paint needs to be reapplied too often, it wastes resources and exposes workers and building occupants to additional VOCs.... Read more
Three Millennials and ten members of Gen Z share scorching, optimistic, and skeptical thoughts about their future and the future of the planet.
When I was a kid in the ’80s, the constant threat of nuclear apocalypse kept my friends and me up at night. At the same time, the probability of full-scale thermonuclear warfare was small. So we kids put our trust in the adults in power and forgot about it most of the time. Anxious nights aside, we listened to Casey Kasem on... Read more
Even constrained urban sites offer biodiversity and equitable access to nature, and winners also include a city park, a nature center, and a tech campus with a public waterfront.
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has unveiled its annual top ten awards for high-performance projects. The projects feature cutting-edge accomplishments in all ten COTE design categories (which a few years ago were also promulgated as the AIA Framework for Design Excellence... Read more
The integrative process holds great promise—identifying cost savings, improving building performance, and helping teams discover and implement unique solutions. Proponents also point to other benefits, including shorter project timelines and a more inclusive (and even joyful) work climate. Despite these enticements, this way of... Read more
There are few materials that are as ubiquitous as concrete—or that cause as much environmental consternation. Concrete is one of the construction industry’s largest carbon emitters, responsible for about 5% to 8% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is also one of the most important building materials, used in... Read more
Urban Machine developed a machine that can de-nail salvaged wood for reuse onsite.
Demolition activities in the U.S. create 37 million tons of wood debris each year, with the vast majority ending up in landfill, according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Harvesting and processing virgin timber can be energy and water intensive, can cause forest degradation, and comes with unknown levels of... Read more
Advancements in low-carbon concrete materials and strategies have led to greater adoption in much of the U.S. Now it's time to start using them.
There are few materials that are as ubiquitous as concrete—or that cause as much environmental consternation. Concrete is one of the construction industry’s largest carbon emitters, responsible for about 5% to 8% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is also one of the most important building materials, used in even the... Read more
Building professionals advocating for stricter local requirements can learn from the innovative stretch energy codes in Massachusetts.
Working one-on-one with clients to help a building perform well on environmental, health, and social criteria is what gets many design and construction professionals out of bed in the morning.
Convincing politicians and civil servants that they should make those criteria a matter of law, and then... Read more
A set of core principles and assessment guidelines from the Integrity Council aim to help purchasers identify “high-quality” carbon credits.
Carbon credits have become ubiquitous. Building owners have long been able to purchase offsets to make up for onsite energy use (as incentivized in LEED) or embodied carbon (as required by the Living Building Challenge). But now even everyday passengers can pay an extra dollar or two to make up for the emissions of an airplane... Read more
Pink hydrogen made using nuclear energy will provide the power of tomorrow, fueling everything from robot warehouses to flying cars.
Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe. And nuclear furnaces, like those that power our sun. Put them together and they have the potential to drive industry, fuel transportation, and provide energy to the factories and skyscrapers of tomorrow.
How could this be? you ask. Here on Earth?... Read more
After complaints about rejected credits and failed certifications, BuildingGreen took action.
BuildingGreen will be changing the name of its LEED certification project tool, LEEDuser.com, to the more apt FOLLOWuser.com.
“One of our core values at BuildingGreen is transparency,” said BuildingGreen founder Alex Wilson, “so we believe it makes the most sense to highlight that professionals building with LEED... Read more
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report outlines some of the significant impacts of current and future carbon outputs. What do Americans think?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on climate impacts is the culmination of eight years of research from hundreds of scientists across the globe. The most recent synthesis report outlines the significant consequences of rising greenhouse gas emissions, which include flooding, droughts... Read more