News

News Analysis

USGBC will start integrating more equity elements into the LEED rating systems and beyond.

November 12, 2020

“A sustainable future is meaningless if it is not also an equitable future.”

That’s the bold statement made on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website to introduce a new 12-point strategy called “All In.” The idea is to close equity gaps in the LEED rating systems, which have traditionally... Read more

News Brief

SPIRE is a new program that assesses the performance of smart building technology.

November 9, 2020

As technology advances, more and more building systems are becoming automated. They self-monitor and send alarms and advice. They allow facility managers to control lighting, HVAC, and more, remotely through apps. Some can even learn from patterns. With all these new technologies, it’s easy to feel out of control and to... Read more

News Analysis

Regulators are updating Community Reinvestment Act protections, but will they do it without giveaways to banks?

November 9, 2020

Redlining may be coming back.

"The CRA is one of the most important tools we have in the community development field."

The practice of denying loans to people and businesses based on their neighborhood effectively became illegal in the U.S. in 1977 with passage of the... Read more

News Brief

Gender equity in the workplace may see backsliding due to COVID-19, despite strong employer support.

November 9, 2020

The U.S. has made strides toward attaining gender equality, but it may be a fragile achievement. Even in the green building community, cracks are starting to show.

The U.S. Green Building Council surveyed more than 500 people in the green building industry to gauge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the workplace. The... Read more

News Brief

Carbon-neutral concrete by 2050 is the industry’s new goal. But there are lots of hoops to jump through to make up for concrete’s basic chemistry.

November 9, 2020

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) recently released a “carbon ambition statement” announcing that its 40 members aspire to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050. A laudable goal, but given concrete’s chemistry, is it even possible?

One problem is with cement. The majority of cement’s... Read more

News Analysis

Understanding the source of your project’s power is essential as the industry moves toward electrification.

November 9, 2020

Josh Radoff contributed to this article.

The green building community is abuzz with the concept of decarbonization through electrification—the use of electric technologies instead of combustion-fueled technologies to supply the comforts of a modern building. But is it a good idea for your project? It... Read more

Feature Article

An all-electric commercial kitchen offers potential energy and carbon savings over using natural gas, but making the switch can be complicated—and even controversial.

November 9, 2020

Filled with large appliances, sinks, fans, ductwork, and hard surfaces, a commercial kitchen is not exactly the type of space that inspires high design. Kitchens are defined by function and food. It’s no wonder they have long been afterthoughts to design teams. But for those looking to reduce their buildings’ carbon footprints, kitchens have... Read more

News Brief

RiskFootprint automates resilience risk assessment, covering sea-level rise, winds, flooding, wildfires, and more.

November 9, 2020

A comprehensive resilience assessment takes a lot of time and resources, requiring use of different tools and platforms to put together a full picture of the risks and their severity. Imagine if you could just type in an address and instantly receive a full resilience risk report for any property in the U.S.

... Read more

News Analysis

Inspired by the 2030 Commitment, the Materials Pledge looks at products holistically, from carbon impacts to social justice.

November 6, 2020

What is a sustainable material? A big, complicated question, admits Lona Rerick, associate principal at ZGF architects. But the Architecture & Design Materials Pledge recently adopted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) starts to get at the answer, she said.

It’s time to stop playing... Read more

Webcast

November 4, 2020
“We can’t build sustainable buildings without sustainable products” –Nadav Malin.

If you don’t spend your “day-to-day” in the healthy materials space, it’s hard to create strategy and align your company to meet your customers' (what seems to be) ever-changing asks and project goals. This webinar is geared toward the building product... Read more

Webcast

October 30, 2020

Are you getting questions, advice, and dubious sales pitches from all comers about how to design and run an HVAC system to combat infectious disease? You’re not alone. Engineers, facility managers, architects, and other building professionals are all feeling immense pressure about COVID-19 right now—especially since the Centers for Disease... Read more

News Analysis

With design awards on the line, architecture firms are starting to require sustainability tracking across all projects.

October 5, 2020

Did you notice your AIA design award submissions looked different this year? You were likely asked for information that you only used to provide when submitting for a COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top Ten Award—such as the project’s predicted net energy use intensity (EUI) or embodied carbon estimate. These questions are currently being... Read more

News Analysis

With equity on the minds of many in the green building community, some are looking to bias training—but it might not be as effective as you expect.

October 5, 2020

Implicit biases—the unconscious assumptions we make about people based on their gender, race, physical ability, and many other factors—don’t stay buried. They lead to adverse decisions and behavior that we don’t even recognize as sexist, racist, or ableist. Implicit bias is particularly dangerous in situations ripe for... Read more

News Brief

Nearly 70% of waste in the U.S. comes from construction and demolition. Contractors in the Bay Area want to bring that down to zero.

October 5, 2020

When you ask people what they’re doing for the environment, many will point to recycling as one of their primary actions. Yet recycling isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as NPR recently reported. What’s more, it’s not actually happening as consistently as we are led to believe. And that’s just as true for construction and... Read more

Product Review

Bloom Energy fuel cells provide on-demand electricity but use natural gas and release CO2. Switching to hydrogen could help change our energy future.

October 5, 2020

Fuel cells and hydrogen are necessary, inevitable power sources of the future. But technological challenges, high cost, required fuel infrastructure, and other issues have allowed photovoltaics, wind, and batteries to become the short-term interventions for our fossil fuel addiction.

Bloom Energy has been making fuel cells since 2009,... Read more

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 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

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 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