News

Op-Ed

Our democracy is at risk. There is more work to do than going to the polls.

September 24, 2020

We at BuildingGreen have generally avoided taking political stands. I believe that regardless of our positions on fiscal policy or a range of social issues, we can—and must—come together to protect the ecological functions that support life as we know it on planet Earth.... Read more

Feature Article

Mass timber seems alluring because of its low carbon footprint, but not all wood is equally sustainable. We dig deep into the controversy over which types of timber are “climate smart.”

September 8, 2020

When Michigan State University started planning its new STEM building, the design team was considering a typical concrete or steel structure. That was before Richard Kobe, Ph.D., heard about the project. Kobe, who heads up the university’s Department of Forestry, advocated for a mass timber structure instead.

After a field trip to a... Read more

News Analysis

In the world of sustainable building design, one of the most common questions that comes up is: what is the best system to use if you want to build a healthy building?

September 8, 2020

Mohammad Abbasi and Matt Dempsey contributed to this analysis.

WELL or Fitwel? WELL has become more accessible to achieve, with significantly fewer mandatory preconditions.

For a while, the space was dominated by the WELL Building rating system, but the experience of many architects and consultants has been that WELL was either too... Read more

Product Review

Electric hand dryers have a lower carbon footprint and save resources compared to paper towels, but COVID-19 has changed how we view these products.

September 8, 2020

Washing hands properly is one of the primary ways of controlling the spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Drying hands properly is also important, as wet hands are more likely to provide an avenue for spreading pathogens. Yet even this seemingly simple act has reignited a contentious issue: what is the best way to dry your... Read more

News Brief

Entering a crowded field of building re-entry solutions, IMMUNE is an open-source standard.

September 8, 2020

How can we safeguard the health of occupants while preventing future health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic? The IMMUNE Building Standard, developed by Bucharest-based Genesis Property in collaboration with The National Institute for Infectious Disease in Romania, is a new approach to assessing and certifying human health and safety measures... Read more

News Analysis

Good indoor air quality will help if SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, and tried-and-true measures can get us there.

September 8, 2020

In July 2020, 239 scientists urged the medical community and public-health authorities to acknowledge the potential for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and promote additional precautionary measures like increasing ventilation in indoor, enclosed environments. By implication, they suggested that HVAC systems... Read more

News Brief

The All for Reuse initiative is currently seeking signatories.

September 8, 2020

At least 11% of total carbon emissions worldwide come from building construction, most of which is embodied in the materials used to complete projects. A new initiative, All For Reuse, calls upon building professionals to embrace material reuse options to help mitigate our global climate crisis.

“We’ll unlock a whole economy that can... Read more

Blog Post

Educational building tours help us learn new strategies—but what if you can’t go in person?

August 27, 2020

Building tours: they’ve been a vital educational component of green building from day one. But now COVID-19 has made them unsafe. Thanks to the Sustainability Leader Peer Networks we help convene, we’ve compiled a list of online tours and other videos that you can view from the safety of home.

This is... Read more

Op-Ed

Manufacturers have a unique role in sustainable building and LEED—and they don’t need to leave profits behind.

August 14, 2020

Words may inspire, but it’s action that creates change.

             –Simon Sinek

Building owners, architects, and others on the value chain have many opportunities to make headway into sustainable building, but there are also unique steps that manufacturers can take to help improve and promote products while also working... Read more

Webcast

August 14, 2020

Returning to work: for many, it’s unthinkable without some kind of reassurance that leadership and the facilities team have taken all possible precautions. Lots of organizations are weighing in on what we should pay attention to, but how do we know if it’s working?

The free Re-entry program from Arc is a tracking and measurement program... Read more

Op-Ed

Enhanced readability and new features have improved our product guides, but they still offer the deep knowledge you need.

August 3, 2020

Ever heard of a sugar-on-snow supper? Before the pandemic took hold, that’s the way churches, fire departments, and grange halls here in Vermont would advertise their late winter fundraising dinners—by enticing people with these old-time maple-syrup-on-snow sweets. These clever promoters knew that, even though the wholesome... Read more

News Brief

Despite years of preparation, some states are putting off implementation of planned energy codes.

August 3, 2020

At least four states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington—have delayed the effective dates of new energy codes due to process disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no pattern to be found among those that have delayed, according to Eric Lacey of the Responsible Energy... Read more

News Analysis

With the conversation on race and justice coming to the forefront, it’s worth thinking through how architecture can contribute to change.

August 3, 2020

The first time I visited a prison, as I was walking out of the last of many claustrophobia-inducing checkpoints, I watched a monarch butterfly glide through the razor-wire fencing to the outside. It hit me hard that none of the incarcerated people inside would be slipping out so easily. The harsh design of the facility also... Read more

News Brief

More than 150 U.S architecture firms have signed on to fight a triple threat: climate, biodiversity, and justice emergencies.

August 3, 2020

A movement started in the United Kingdom called Architects Declare is now spreading globally and has picked up steam in the U.S. In addition to biodiversity and climate, the U.S. chapter has added justice to the list of issues it’s declaring as emergencies and hoping to address.

Architecture firms are... Read more

Product Review

RAB’s Lightcloud Outlet enables wireless monitoring and control of plug loads while allowing for demand response and other energy-saving scheduling.

August 3, 2020

Computers, monitors, printers, and other office equipment typically continue to consume energy even after the office or school closes. Offices now on standby due to the pandemic are not immune from this waste. These plug and process loads (PPL) can account for more than 30% of a commercial building’s electricity consumption—and even more in... Read more

News Brief

Electric outlets must be placed by parking spaces and combustion-based appliances to allow for easy conversions.

July 8, 2020

Final results for the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code were recently released and will be published for cities and towns to adopt this fall.

The updated code is estimated to improve efficiency in both residential and commercial buildings by at least 10%, according to the New Buildings Institute. For commercial buildings,... Read more

News Brief

From dilution to humidity control, ASHRAE offers guidance on how to reduce the spread of aerosolized pathogens in buildings.

July 8, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHRAE has released a position paper on managing the risk of spreading infectious disease pathogens through HVAC systems. The organization recommends a number of strategies, ranked by evidence level, including these “A-level” actions:

Consider designs that “promote cleaner airflow... Read more

Blog Post

Innovative technologies and practices can incite fear of unknown risks. But are those fears grounded in reality?

July 8, 2020

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Nicole DeNamur owns Sustainable Strategies, a consulting firm that helps companies manage sustainable innovation by applying a legal and risk-management lens to innovative projects. Prior to launching Sustainable Strategies, Nicole practiced construction and insurance coverage law in Seattle for more than a decade.... Read more

News Analysis

Private consultants, along with LEED, WELL, and AIA are all offering strategies for re-occupying buildings without unduly compromising occupant health.

July 7, 2020

Wary of returning to your usual workplace? You’re not alone. Zoom might be a strain, and the home office might not provide the work–life balance you need, but to many the alternative seems scary—even unthinkable. It would be crazy for people to return to offices and other workplaces without some kind of reassurance that the... Read more

News Brief

A group of structural engineers has released a plan to eliminate the embodied carbon of concrete, steel, and wood within 30 years.

July 7, 2020

The building industry could achieve net-zero embodied carbon of structural materials by 2050, according to a working group of the Structural Engineering Institute. Through the use of carbon sequestration, this is possible even without purchasing carbon offsets, claims a white paper on the group’s findings.

... Read more