BuildingGreen Report


Technology that separates us from our surroundings can have far-reaching consequences for our fellow humans.

July 10, 2024

In my early adult years, noise-canceling headphones were a luxury I didn’t feel I could afford. Then the price came down, the quality went up, I had a bit more disposable income … and I splurged. I love how they help me feel more relaxed when I’m on an airplane or a subway—but that pleasure comes with a distinct awareness of my... Read more

News Brief

A new white paper will help building teams interpret their continuous air monitor data—and take action

July 1, 2024

Collecting data on indoor air quality (IAQ) is the first step toward ensuring it’s safe and healthy. The second step is to do something with it.

“So, You Have Some IAQ Monitors. Now What?” is a free white paper by the Air Quality Working Group, a subset of the BuildingGreen Peer Networks, that delves into how practitioners can interpret... Read more


June 26, 2024

Should housing be affordable? Or should it be sustainably designed, built, and operated?

When you put it like that, the question sounds absurd.

But the idea—usually unspoken—that sustainability wastes precious time and resources is painfully common in the affordable housing world. 

It’s time to bust that myth. In this... Read more

Spotlight Report

June 21, 2024

Experts agree: it is possible to build both sustainably and affordably.

But to do so, we must shift our business-as-usual approach by applying systems thinking and centering equity in sustainable design. After all, a building is only “green” if its entire supply chain is too. 

So what does this... Read more

Feature Article

Sustainability doesn’t have to cost more—and no one knows that better than affordable housing experts. But every project type can benefit from these 12 cost-reducing ideas that support people and the planet.

June 11, 2024

This is Part Two of a two-part series related to affordable housing. It supports project teams across disciplines and building typologies with 12 specific ideas for building green on a budget. Part One emphasizes the critical importance of sustainability in affordable housing and details six steps building professionals can take to help that... Read more

Product Guide

May 15, 2024
Air-to-air heat pumps are more than three times as efficient as electric baseboard heaters, and many are now engineered for better cold-climate performance

Air-to-air heat pumps transfer heat energy from the air into and out of a building. These systems have an outdoor unit with a compressor and condenser, and either indoor units or a central... Read more

Spotlight Report

May 13, 2024

As we work to provide affordable shelter to tens of millions of households in the U.S., we have a choice: we can reinforce the exploitive systems that created our housing crisis, or we can support health, life, and resilience.

But the perceived first cost of sustainable and regenerative design solutions is one of the... Read more

Feature Article

The U.S. is grappling with a housing crisis, climate change, and a legacy of racism and segregation. But we can address these problems all at once by centering community.

May 13, 2024

This is Part One of a two-part series related to affordable housing. It emphasizes the critical importance of sustainability in affordable housing and details six steps building professionals can take to help that happen. Part Two supports project teams across disciplines and building typologies with 12 specific ideas for building green on a... Read more

Product Guide

April 22, 2024
HPWHs are more than three times more efficient than standard water heaters, and those that use CO2 as a refrigerant are the best.

Note: This guide does not include information on boilers or air-to-water heat pumps used in larger commercial applications, though some HPWH systems are modular and can sometimes meet those demands.

Heat-pump... Read more

Product Review

Intellihot electrifies commercial water heating using heat pumps, CO2 refrigerant, thermal batteries, and no need for water storage.

April 16, 2024

The commercial water-heating systems used in hotels, restaurants, and large multifamily buildings have a few problems. As we move toward all-electric buildings, we need an alternative to gas, but heat-pump water heaters face a couple of challenges:

First, they do not heat water very quickly. For this reason, they require storage tanks... Read more


April 4, 2024

Wood products are widely considered to be inherently “carbon neutral.” The current surge of interest in mass timber was spurred by this belief.

But could scaling up our demand for wood actually make climate change worse?

It’s a huge risk. Our forests are a massive carbon bank and a critical climate buffer,... Read more

News Analysis

Weather files that help designers plan for climate change will soon be readily available. But legal liability remains until ASHRAE catches up.

April 3, 2024

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only; it is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal advice.

Architects are required to help their clients plan for climate change, but building codes and design standards are based on weather histories that are often over 20 years old. As a result, stormy... Read more

Blog Post

Now is your chance to comment on LEED version 5, a pivotal update and the first major change since 2013. We give you the highlights below.

April 3, 2024

By Nadav Malin and Paula Melton

It’s here. So what’s new?

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released LEED v5 for its first public comment period on April 3, 2024, giving us our first detailed look at the next generation of the program that has defined green building in North America and around the world for more than... Read more

April Fools

Whistleblowers alert state health agencies to possible foot fungus scourge in laid-back Vermont, Silicon Valley workplaces.

April 1, 2024

Nonconformist, bohemian businesses in Vermont share a long-held footwear philosophy: “no shoes, yes service.”

And similarly, but also really differently, shoelessness has found a foothold among companies in southern California’s famously informal—even wacky—tech start-up scene.

“I love to scrunch the course carpet nodules... Read more

April Fools

Building on Texas’s reputation for environmentalism, which stems from its clean grid, Houston is aiming to rival Amsterdam and become a worldwide leader in urban bicycle commuting.

April 1, 2024

In a surprise move aimed at reducing the carbon impacts of commuting, Houston, Texas is banning cars from most of the city limits, expanding bicycle infrastructure into the suburbs, and even making right turns illegal. Mayor John Whitmore said residents overwhelmingly supported the initiatives in recent elections, and local businesses are... Read more

April Fools

A mass timber controversy compels BuildingGreen to bid a regretful farewell to its hippest and most popular event venue.

April 1, 2024

As the 2024 event season approaches for BuildingGreen’s Peer Networks, the Sustainable Design Leaders (SDL) have been looking forward to yet another summit at the beloved IslandWood venue on Washington’s Bainbridge Island.

But in the aftermath of Paula Melton’s two-part report released earlier this year, “Wood: Is It Still Good?” it’s... Read more

April Fools

GSHPs have gone mainstream, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, and the hippest AEC professionals are so over them.

April 1, 2024

“I was specifying ground-source heat pumps before they were popular,” recalled Gea Snootfeld, principal at Seattle’s Maverick Design. “Most people installing them now don’t, like, actually, get it.”

Snootfeld is referring, of course, to the recent breakout of ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) onto the mechanical heating and cooling... Read more

April Fools

A building project brings brothers back together, but a fast-moving storm challenges the project and the family.

April 1, 2024

Welcome to the second installment of BuildingGreen’s Biophilic Design series “Built Against the Howling Wind,” as we follow the Boar brothers’ journey of sustainable homebuilding from design considerations through project completion. We’ll look at the choices and challenges that triplets Kevin, Wilbur, and Hamlet ran into while selecting... Read more

April Fools

With headlines daily jumping the shark, scientists warn of dangers for Earth’s oceans and for humanity.

April 1, 2024

Long before Sharknado, far in advance of Shark Week, popular culture produced something historians have since dubbed “the best marine-animal metaphor since trained seals.”

Yes, we mean jumping the shark—a type of ridiculous stunt that heralds the imminent decline of a formerly respectable endeavor.

Experts now say this metaphor... Read more

April Fools

Outdated, inefficient buildings find a new path forward—and inward.

April 1, 2024

As the morning sun hits the east-facing curtain wall, Summit Ridge Office Park gazes down at its own reflection in the still waters of a man-made lake. Until recently, the building simply accepted what it saw there: a six-story, highway-adjacent office complex, first built in 1987. Once proud of its blandly handsome exterior, Summit Ridge... Read more