BuildingGreen Report

News Analysis

Low-income families have high energy burdens despite programs designed to help. A new study looks at solutions.

December 6, 2021

U.S. households with low median incomes (LMI) spend 14.5% of their paychecks on energy for heating, cooling, and appliances—almost double the percentage spent by non-LMI families—according to a Groundswell study conducted by data scientist Elvis Moleka, Ph.D. This higher energy burden exists despite programs designed to... Read more

News Brief

The UN Race to Zero campaign enlists businesses in achieving net-zero operational emissions by 2050. How does it fit in with other commitments?

December 6, 2021

We may be inching toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

More than 3,000 businesses and 700 cities had signed onto the United Nations’ Race to Zero commitment ahead of COP26 (the 26th Conference of the Parties), held in November 2021. But is 2050 soon enough? And how does this commitment... Read more

Feature Article

A history of unfair real estate practices in the U.S. has left us with unsustainable, under-resourced neighborhoods. Inclusive green design can help them heal.

December 6, 2021

Baton Rouge is breaking. Since 2003, four different districts of this city in Louisiana have seceded in order to create their own school systems. The latest, St. George, is in transition and simultaneously facing a legal battle challenging the election results that led to its secession. The proposed new city, whose citizens argue that the Baton... Read more

Op-Ed

We believe that social justice issues as they relate to the built environment are relevant to the sustainable design and construction community.

December 6, 2021

“You are not a political party” was the subject line of a recent email we received at BuildingGreen.

The message was a response to a short news story we did on racism and sexism in built-environment workplaces. The body of the email included the line, “We want relevant content.”

... Read more

Product Review

Award-winning Lazer Line LEDs provide high-quality, efficacious lighting in a unique form that provides different options for lighting a space.

December 6, 2021

BuildingGreen’s editorial team has followed the development of LEDs since the first CFL replacements were commercially available. We’ve looked at their energy use, light quality, tunable lighting, outdoor lighting, new technologies, and more. But we’ve largely shied away from covering individual products for their design... Read more

News Analysis

Protesters accused politicians of spouting empty words, but some see real reason for hope out of the UN Climate Change Conference.

November 16, 2021

“Blah blah blah,” said many protesters’ signs during COP26 (the 26th Conference of the Parties, where the governments and other parties come together to make international commitments on climate change). The accusation of empty words echoed a September speech delivered by climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Although the news (or lack... Read more

News Brief

In a new position statement, the American Society of Interior Designers pledges to support people and the environment with new tools and advocacy.

November 1, 2021

Interior design is inherently people-centered and can have dire impacts on the environment, the national board of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) declares in a new position statement on climate, health, and equity. The organization says it’s time for its industry to commit to these “three tenets of design... Read more

News Brief

Gas appliances are no longer eligible for Energy Star’s “Most Efficient” designation.

November 1, 2021

Since 1992, Energy Star has been the standard for choosing energy-efficient appliances. Run by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Energy Star program rates products that perform well above industry average; they are available for dishwashers, clothes dryers, water heaters, and more. The residential products that go above... Read more

Product Review

Gradient is introducing an integrated heat pump that fits into a window opening, but unlike a standard AC unit, it can also supply heat during winter months.

November 1, 2021

Window air conditioners are one-trick ponies: they only do cooling. They are also inefficient and noisy, they use problematic refrigerants, and they block the view out the window. But their relatively simple installation and functional, but inefficient, performance have made them ubiquitous, especially in older buildings where... Read more

News Brief

Green Seal’s GS-11 Paint certification has been updated and can now be used to earn points in LEED v4.1.

November 1, 2021

At Greenbuild, Green Seal announced that its current paint standard, GS-11 Version 4.0 for Paints, Coatings, Stains, and Sealers, now meets LEED v4.1 low-emitting materials credit requirements, as well as those for WELL v.1 and Fitwel.

In the early days of LEED, paint only had to comply with South... Read more

News Brief

Decarbonized raw materials will mean final products with lower embodied carbon.

November 1, 2021

Twenty-nine companies—making up one-third of the global mining and metals industry—have now committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. All are members of the International Council on Mining and Metals.

Many minerals and metals that are mined are used for decarbonization of other sectors—as is the case for metals used for... Read more

News Brief

Find a comprehensive guide to radically reshaping the building industry to be more environmentally responsible and equitable in the BuildUp 2030 Framework from the Institute for Market Transformation.

November 1, 2021

We know where we need to go: toward a more equitable and environmentally responsible real estate industry. How to get there—quickly—remains elusive.

If you’re looking for a roadmap, consider the BuildUp 2030 Framework for the Transformation of Real Estate recently released by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), a nonprofit... Read more

News Brief

Leading AEC firms and organizations are challenging governments to step up climate commitments in a “1.5ºC Communiqué.”

November 1, 2021

The building industry is tired of waiting for change.

“We call on all sovereign governments to ramp up their Nationally Determined Contributions, and 2030 emissions reduction targets, to limit planetary warming in line with the remaining global 1.5ºC carbon budget,” reads a communiqué to policymakers... Read more

News Brief

Embodied carbon, electrification, and renewable energy: practice guide from the William J. Worthen Foundation pieces together decarbonization best practices.

November 1, 2021

Looking for a comprehensive resource on eliminating the carbon impact of buildings?

The Building Decarbonization Practice Guide, a project of the William J. Worthen Foundation, promises to be that resource. The first two chapters have now been released, already totaling 75 pages, out of seven chapters planned. Once complete, the... Read more

News Brief

With the release of new climate adaptation plans, EPA, GSA, and other agencies detail how their buildings will become more resilient.

November 1, 2021

One of the first actions President Biden took in office was releasing an executive order requiring the largest federal agencies to submit climate adaptation plans; these would identify risks and explain how the agency would address them. Now, more than 20 agencies have released their documents, many of which include elements... Read more

News Analysis

Tools for analyzing community impacts of policies and projects can help teams center equity as an ongoing priority.

October 21, 2021

A recent equity toolkit released by the NAACP recommends conducting racial equity impact assessments (REIA, pronounced “REE-uh”) to help guide work on projects and policies. But what is a REIA, and how do they work?

REIAs are an emerging way of analyzing the community impacts of a policy or project.... Read more

News Brief

Designed to layer on top of ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC, these provisions transition buildings away from onsite fossil fuel combustion.

October 4, 2021

New Buildings Institute (NBI) wants to help jurisdictions bite off however much electrification they can chew.

Recently released model code language offers provisions for requiring all-electric buildings and alternative provisions for requiring electric-ready buildings. Cities and towns can layer whichever version of this “... Read more

News Analysis

California has blown open a debate about net metering and whether some rollbacks might be needed to ensure a more equitable and resilient grid.

October 4, 2021

For those in the sustainability industry, getting net metering policies adopted has been hard fought—and looking back, generally hard won. Net metering (the practice in which utilities credit customers for the excess electricity generated by their solar panels that’s sent to the grid) is currently in place in 41 states and it... Read more

News Brief

Lord Aeck Sargent tracked its 2020 carbon footprint. The results were astounding and could be lasting.

October 4, 2021

Did you fly in 2020? Hardly anyone did, and that had a huge impact on the carbon footprints of all kinds of businesses. Architecture firm Lord Aeck Sargent (LAS) tracked six months of 2020 operational carbon emissions compared against six months in 2019, and in a publicly available report, the company has released its findings... Read more

Feature Article

Climate change has redefined how we view water, with drought amplifying water scarcity and changing our relationship with the landscape and the built environment.

October 4, 2021

Water is our planet’s lifeblood. We use it for drinking, agriculture, recreation, and even to remove our waste. For generations, our cities have been founded on seas, lakes, rivers, and other areas that take full advantage of water’s seemingly endless bounty. We think fresh water supplies are endless, which encourages modern society to grow... Read more