BuildingGreen Report

News Analysis

Architects and engineers will be able to claim energy-efficiency tax deductions when working for tax-exempt clients.

August 10, 2022

The historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed by the Senate and expected to become law soon, is by far the U.S. government’s largest investment in climate change mitigation to date. Not surprisingly, given the outsized influence the building industry has on greenhouse gas emissions, many of the provisions address homes and commercial... Read more

News Brief

President Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to support domestic manufacturing of photovoltaics, insulation, and more.

August 8, 2022

Renewable energy sources are providing an increasing share of electricity in the U.S., with solar sources making up 13.5% of that share in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But the infrastructure needed to supply solar energy comes primarily from overseas. President Biden is trying to change that... Read more

Product Review

Salient Energy is developing a zinc-ion battery that avoids some of the safety and supply chain concerns of current lithium-ion systems.

August 8, 2022

The Holy Grail of energy is for our buildings to go all electric and get that energy from renewable sources. The problem, of course, is what to do when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Batteries are the clear answer, and we already have lithium-ion-based systems that work well in electric cars and for building... Read more

News Brief

The Supreme Court recently ruled against EPA, limiting its ability to regulate coal-fired power plants. But the news may not be as dire as it looks.

August 8, 2022

 The Supreme Court recently ruled against EPA, limiting its ability to regulate coal-fired power plants. But the news may not be as dire as it looks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a blow from the Supreme Court in late June when the court ruled against the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would... Read more

News Brief

New data reveal the continued fallout of overt government racism from the 20th century.

August 8, 2022

It’s been decades since redlining—the federal government practice of refusing to guarantee loans in predominantly black neighborhoods—was outlawed in the U.S. But the impacts continue to ripple through formerly redlined neighborhoods, according to data released by LightBox, a geospatial data and software firm focused on the... Read more

News Brief

The code newly addresses thermal bridging, air leakage, and cool walls and also requires renewables for most projects.

August 8, 2022

Proposed changes to the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for 2022 could have a huge impact on building energy performance, according to Leonard Sciarra, AIA, of Farr Associates. “There’s a lot in version one that I feel is going to change the way that people design buildings,” said Sciarra, who chairs the building envelope subcommittee of... Read more

News Analysis

Forced labor is used to create many building products, but changes are underway that are helping to address this serious issue.

August 8, 2022

Forced labor, or modern slavery, is widely spread across the globe. People—including children—in forced-labor conditions work without pay or for recruitment fees, leaving them in debt bondage. Workers are threatened with relocation, deportation, and worse.

Nearly 25 million people are trapped in forced labor, according to the... Read more

Blog Post

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

August 5, 2022

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). Although these small firms represent a... Read more

Product Guide

July 21, 2022
Hardwood

Hardwood used for flooring can come from unsustainable sources, such as tropical forests and genetically engineered monoculture tree farms.

The availability of domestic hardwood from third-party FSC-certified forests makes this type of flooring a great option. Uncoated hardwood flooring does not require emissions testing, but... Read more

News Brief

Building owners have filed a legal challenge to Local Law 97, New York City’s building performance standard.

July 5, 2022

Unconstitutional. Draconian. Short sighted and dangerous.

That’s how a lawsuit brought by building owners describes New York City’s carbon caps for buildings—a.k.a. Local Law 97. The building performance standard (BPS) has yet to go into effect, but owners are already anticipating the fines they’ll have to pay come 2024, and some aren’t... Read more

News Analysis

With federal funds flooding in, the industry can transform K–12 education in the next three years—but only if we do it right.

July 5, 2022

“It’s a huge opportunity, and we’d be crazy to miss it.”

Jonathan Klein, cofounder of the nonprofit UndauntedK12, wants building professionals to know they have a major role to play in transforming public education in the next three years. That’s because unprecedented federal funds are pouring into school districts, thanks to the... Read more

Product Review

Hemp is a sustainable, low-embodied-carbon building material, but few products are actually made from it. HempWood is out to change that with its flooring and non-structural lumber made from hemp fibers.

July 5, 2022

What if you had a natural building material that could be grown from seed to harvest in three to four months, is good at sequestering carbon, requires no fertilizer, helps fix nitrogen in the soils, requires little water, can be grown on a small plot so it can replace more polluting and/or slower-growing materials such as... Read more

News Brief

EPIC from EHDD is used very early in building design to help project teams make choices about structure, envelope, landscaping, and more.

July 5, 2022

Energy modeling and whole-building life-cycle assessment are sophisticated software for predicting the energy use and carbon footprint of a building. But often, these methods are used too late in design to make a difference. Now, a free online tool from architecture firm EHDD can help project teams home in on lower-carbon... Read more

Feature Article

The Contractor’s Commitment to Sustainable Building Practices calls on construction firms to practice green building on the jobsite and beyond. Here’s why the whole industry needs to get behind it.

June 6, 2022

Health and wellness are in high demand in sustainable design. Soft daylight, superb indoor air quality, enhanced thermal comfort, great ergonomics … all these design elements and more are becoming standard for students, patients, and office workers.

Once design is done, though, the human beings who... Read more

News Brief

More than 300 solar energy projects were in danger of being canceled or delayed as the U.S. Department of Commerce investigated China, but Biden will waive the tariff threat for two years.

June 6, 2022

UPDATE: This article was updated on June 8, 2022 to reflect the news that Biden will waive the tariff threat for two years. 

In March the US Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its investigation into whether Chinese companies are circumventing U.S. tariffs by moving components for solar panels through four Southeast Asian countries. ... Read more

News Brief

The International Living Future Institute has added thousands of PFAS compounds to its Living Building Challenge Red List.

June 6, 2022

The International Living Futures Institute recently added 4,844 perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) to its Red List and 5,947 to its Priority List. PFAS are a group of chemical compounds that do not break down in the environment and can cause potentially serious health and environmental problems. Beyond... Read more

Product Review

Mohawk uses high recycled content and carbon offsets to reduce the embodied carbon of its EcoFlex One cushioned carpet tile.

June 6, 2022

When it comes to weighing sustainability, design, and comfort, few products have the challenges that carpet does. On the one hand, it is comfortable to walk on, it absorbs sound, and there are colors and patterns to complement nearly any design. But for all these positives, carpet has a history of containing potentially... Read more

Webcast

May 26, 2022

Electrochromic glazing holds the promise of less glare and better energy efficiency with fewer moving parts. The reality is much more complicated and includes information you won’t hear from the sales reps.

Join us for a conversation with the nation’s leading experts on smart glass technology. We'll explore how the performance has... Read more

Spotlight Report

May 26, 2022

Health and wellness are in high demand in sustainable design. Soft daylight, superb indoor air quality, enhanced thermal comfort, great ergonomics … all these design elements and more are becoming standard for students, patients, and office workers.

Once design is done, though, the human beings who construct the resulting high... Read more

Product Guide

May 9, 2022

There are a wide variety of acoustic materials that can be used to manage interior noise and help create a welcoming space. The acoustic wall and ceiling panels described here are typically part of a noise reduction strategy that incorporates carpet, acoustic ceiling tiles, and other interior products. (For information on acoustic ceiling... Read more