News

News Analysis

From handwashing signage to humidification, here’s how the building industry can help combat the spread of infectious disease.

June 8, 2020

Lactation rooms, circadian lighting, nutritious food, and inviting stairways: through Fitwel and WELL, these have become more common ways to promote wellness through building design and operations. But what do these certifications have to say about illness? And specifically, about stopping the spread of COVID-19?

Fitwel:... Read more

Webcast

May 22, 2020

What weather data are you using to inform design? Learn where to access high-resolution climate projection data for your projects, and how to use it. Be an early adopter as the AEC industry moves from considering weather as static to using information about our changing climate to inform design.

News Analysis

Daylight, indoor/outdoor spaces, extensive plantings, and exposed wood are among the features of this year’s winners.

May 21, 2020

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its Top Ten projects for 2020. If one theme shows through, it’s the almost universal embrace of natural daylight and plantings, along with commonalities like exposed wood and indoor/outdoor spaces.

Two awards went... Read more

News Brief

A life-cycle assessment of Katerra cross-laminated timber reveals opportunities for lower carbon impact.

May 4, 2020

Want to lower the carbon footprint of a mass-timber structural system? Consider the species of the lumber and where it’s coming from.

That’s one of the central conclusions of a life-cycle assessment (LCA) recently published in the journal Sustainability and summarized in a report by Katerra.... Read more

News Brief

The United Church of Christ says there is a moral urgency to tame toxic emissions from 100 plants located in populated areas.

May 4, 2020

In a recent report, The United Church of Christ, a denomination of Protestant Christianity, shames 100 U.S. manufacturing facilities with highly toxic air pollution records, calling it a “moral crisis” that more than 112,500 children under the age of five live within three miles of the facilities’ perimeters. 

... Read more

Product Review

Cleaning with soap and water is still the best defense against COVID-19 virus and other pathogens. Antimicrobials are not the answer.

May 4, 2020

COVID-19 self-isolation has drastically changed our behavior. We don masks and rubber gloves if we have to go outside and then wash hands incessantly when we get back … behaviors that would have seemed absurd just a few months ago. The precautions are well founded as we look for ways to “flatten the curve” and get a handle on... Read more

News Analysis

Flattening the COVID curve is also flattening electricity load curves, which may be a lesson for the building industry.

May 4, 2020

Just as COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of day-to-day life, the virus is upending deeply rooted patterns of the electric grid. Combined with initial signs of cleaner air, emboldened wildlife, and growing demand for local agriculture, some have wondered whether being confined to our homes has resulted in lower... Read more

News Brief

The Illuminating Engineering Society’s white paper “Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV)–Frequently Asked Questions” explains GUV and its potential role in fighting COVID-19.

May 4, 2020

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has released the white paper “Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV)–Frequently Asked Questions.” The report is aimed at healthcare applications, addressing the fundamentals of GUV light, its effectiveness, its safety, and more in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.

... Read more

News Brief

Older buildings are “CFC banks” because of phased-out refrigerants and blowing agents, according to MIT scientists.

May 4, 2020

The hole in the ozone layer is closing—but not as quickly as it should, according to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In fact, buildings with older foam insulation, HVAC systems, and refrigeration equipment could delay healing by six years. The escaping CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) are blowing... Read more

News Brief

Measuring embodied carbon is no longer enough: certified projects now must purchase offsets for embodied carbon and refrigerant leaks.

May 4, 2020

The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) was the first to launch a national standard for carbon neutrality in buildings. Now version 2 has been released with changes that include multiple compliance paths for energy efficiency, a requirement to offset fugitive refrigerant emissions and embodied carbon, and a higher bar for carbon offsets. The... Read more

Op-Ed

Fifty years out, the increased awareness of the environment is heartwarming and the accomplishments significant, but our challenges are greater than ever.

April 20, 2020

Fifty years ago, I was the Earth Day Coordinator at Radnor Junior High School in Wayne, Pennsylvania. At age 14, I was a budding conservationist (we weren’t really using the term “environmentalist” yet), and I remember taking the train into Philadelphia to pick up mimeographed flyers about Earth Day to hand out in our school... Read more

Op-Ed

What lessons can we learn from the coronavirus pandemic that will help us end up in a better place when the crisis is over?

April 10, 2020

In a time of an unrelenting onslaught of devastating news from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to imagine that we will get to the other side of this mounting humanitarian and economic catastrophe. And it’s even harder to imagine that there could be good news that will emerge from it. But there may be some silver linings in... Read more

News Analysis

Microgrids installed in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria kept power on in ten schools, but doubts about structural integrity stopped class anyway.

April 6, 2020

Ten microgrid systems installed in schools in Puerto Rico were put to the test recently after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake caused massive power outages. The systems survived and successfully powered critical loads in each school, according to Rocky Mountain Institute, which championed the installations along with Save the Children and the Kinesis... Read more

Feature Article

The process of finding and managing product information for LEED has changed—and v4.1 has added even more to think about.

April 6, 2020

Remember 2013? LEED version 4 had just been released to the public. Hardly anyone was using it, though—not only because they didn’t have to, but also because there just wasn’t a pathway to achieve many of the new credits in the rating systems. Especially the product-related credits in the Materials & Resources category, along with the Low-... Read more

News Brief

Under a new EPA ruling, large commercial HVAC and refrigeration systems will no longer have to address high-GWP refrigerant leaks.

April 6, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rescinded the leak-repair provisions that were put in place in 2016 by the Obama administration as part of Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Section 608 regulates the use of high-ozone-depletion-potential (ODP) refrigerants in HVAC and refrigeration equipment. The Obama administration amended... Read more

News Analysis

Use of whole-building life-cycle assessment tools like Tally is spiking. Why?

April 6, 2020

Interest in the embodied carbon of buildings—the upfront carbon emissions associated with production of building materials—has seen a major spike in the last couple of years, which has led to increased interest in whole-building life-cycle assessment, or WBLCA. WBLCA measures the environmental impacts, including global warming impacts, of a... Read more

News Analysis

Three organizations focused on building electrification share their message for the AEC industry.

April 6, 2020

Advocacy groups have been popping up, urging people to use more electricity, not less. It’s sometimes a confusing message for people to hear.

 

Building electrification refers to using electric technologies instead of combustion-fueled technologies to supply the comforts of... Read more

News Brief

A new standard lays out design guidance for maximizing a building’s adaptability and disassembly potential.

April 6, 2020

Making material and design choices that minimize a building’s embodied carbon upfront is vital. But a new standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) reminds us that we can also reduce embodied impacts by extending the useful life of what we plan to build.

ISO 20887: 2020, Sustainability in Buildings and Civil... Read more

April Fools

Manufacturers claim non-English HPDs promote transparency, but critics cry foul.

April 1, 2020

Acme Resilient Flooring thought it had scored a home run with the release of a LEED v4.1-compliant Health Product Declaration (HPD) v2.1.1 for its tire-derived recycled rubber floor tiles. They hoped the HPD, written entirely in Hittite cuneiform, would not only drive international sales but also revive interest in ancient... Read more

April Fools

Clowns in tiny house communities are finding challenges, and solutions, in the age of social distancing.

April 1, 2020

In 2017, BuildingGreen reported on the community of clowns who had settled in a tiny house cohousing complex in Portland, Oregon. They quickly became indispensable members of the community, modeling humor, tolerance, acceptance, and the ability to optimize resource and energy efficiency by cramming seemingly impossible numbers of... Read more