BuildingGreen Report

News Brief

DOE’s Connected Communities program expands to pilot more community-scale solutions for reducing peak demand.

January 10, 2022

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently allocated $61 million to pilot grid-interactive technologies in ten communities—many of which consist of affordable housing or serve vulnerable populations.

The program, called Connected Communities, is intended to expand the number of grid-interactive... Read more

News Analysis

With industry standards eventually in place, energy models that use forward-looking weather files instead of historical ones could become the norm.

January 10, 2022

The climate is changing, and the weather along with it. Why, then, are we still using “typical meteorological years” from decades ago to guide our energy models?

The simple answer is that the industry hasn’t reached consensus on a way to do things differently. Yet as the world heats up, so do the... Read more

Product Review

Innovative products include heat pumps that use low-GWP refrigerants, energy-saving window inserts, water-saving infrastructure, induction ranges, and more.

January 10, 2022

BuildingGreen’s editorial team has been vetting green building products for more than 30 years. This research has informed our articles, GreenSpec product directory, product guides, and our annual Top 10 green building products award, where we select products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. This is the... Read more

News Brief

This handbook from Stok leads companies step by step through creating a sustainable real estate program.

January 10, 2022

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns are exploding at companies around the globe—but how these concerns apply to building portfolios may not be obvious. In a new handbook, Devon Bertram of engineering and green building consulting firm Stok promotes “the adoption of sustainable and equitable real estate... Read more

News Brief

The Boston- and Kigali, Rwanda-based firm was founded on projects that place community support and equity first and has expanded to create award-winning buildings throughout the world.

January 10, 2022

The non-profit architecture firm MASS Design Group has won the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2022 Architecture Firm Award for Architecture. According AIA, the award was given to MASS because the firm “has worked tirelessly to ignite systemic change in the built environment through its mission-driven process” that... Read more

Blog Post

The Marshall Fire brought tragedy to Boulder County at the end of 2021. Can something positive grow out of the ashes?

January 7, 2022

2021 was a year in a string of years of unprecedented weather-related events: mega tornados, record-shattering heat domes, and ever-expanding forest fires. But even in a year like this, the Marshall Fire stands out as something new: a grass fire that turned into an urban firestorm--destroying entire suburban communities on Colorado’s... Read more

News Analysis

With a plan to integrate resilience into future versions of LEED, the organization is leaving RELi behind.

December 15, 2021

Resilient design is getting a makeover at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The organization, which acquired the RELi resilience rating system in 2017, will cede ownership as of January 1, 2022. RELi (pronounced “rely”) will return to its developer, The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS), while USGBC works to... Read more

News Analysis

New policies will require carbon-free electricity and embodied carbon disclosure for building materials, and could limit procurement of products with PFAS.

December 10, 2021

U.S. federal government operations could approach carbon neutrality by 2050, thanks to a sweeping sustainability plan and associated executive order announced by President Biden on December 8, 2021.

The plan includes requirements regarding building operations, embodied carbon, electric vehicle procurement, purchasing of less toxic... 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 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

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

Spotlight Report

December 6, 2021

Although disparities between predominantly white and predominantly non-white neighborhoods go back hundreds of years, 20th-century government-sponsored discrimination was a key turning point in segregating our cities, creating the maps we have today. In fact, it all began with maps—maps released during the New Deal era by the Federal Housing... 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

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 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

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