BuildingGreen Report

Product Review

Jets vacuum toilet systems use significantly less water than standard systems, reduce wastewater, provide design flexibility, and can be used in combination with graywater and composting systems.

June 7, 2021

With drought conditions continuing in much of the U.S., reducing water consumption is an ongoing priority and has made low-flow appliances a necessity. Commercial toilets in particular use a lot of water, requiring a gravity assist to move waste along pipes. Though there are some extremely low-flow toilets available, there is... Read more

News Brief

The east and the west each have their own CLT producers, but now there’s one in between.

June 7, 2021

Even as the popularity of mass timber increases, sourcing Forest Stewardship Council-certified (FSC) wood is becoming more difficult, especially in certain regions of North America. It’s hardly good for the material’s carbon footprint to ship cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other members all the way across the U.S. or Canada... Read more

News Brief

The “vertically integrated” company Katerra offered everything from FSC-certified mass timber products to prefab design and construction services, but it couldn’t stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 4, 2021

Katerra—a “vertically integrated” manufacturing, architecture, and construction company specializing in offsite construction—is shutting down its U.S. operations, according to reports from employees, who were alerted on June 1, 2021. Katerra was also a supplier of Forest Stewardship Council-certified mass timber components, and its shutdown... Read more

News Analysis

The U.S. Department of Energy will fund a long slate of initiatives designed to transform the building industry.

May 27, 2021

A zero-carbon building sector by 2050. We know we need to hit that target, but getting it done will require new insights, new products, new policies, and new funding.

“Many organizations that work with us have set corporate-wide greenhouse gas, renewable, or carbon goals,” said Maria Vargas, senior program advisor at the U.S. Department... Read more

News Brief

HVAC upgrades, climate education, and green cleaning are just a few of the ways schools can spend the billions available from the federal government.

May 18, 2021

Many K–12 schools have raced to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) during the COVID-19 pandemic, but major barriers remain, according to a report released by ASHRAE and The Center for Green Schools. These include aging HVAC systems. But help may be on the way in the form of billions in relief funding from the federal government... Read more

Blog Post

Equity starts with inclusion and listening. Done right, over time, it ends with joy.

May 3, 2021

The themes of Living Future ’21 were unmistakable: a strong call from leaders in the building professions for allyship around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI).

A few important ways to do this stood out:

Centering Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) voices instead of the systemically centered white... Read more

News Brief

The CDC updated its guidance, stating that the risk from COVID transmission from surfaces is low risk and that disinfecting is typically not required.

May 3, 2021

On April 5, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its information on COVID-19 transmission risks, confirming that the pathogen is primarily passed on through airborne respiratory droplets and not through surface contamination. As a result, antimicrobial treatments are not recommended to manage... Read more

News Analysis

Third-party verification of material ingredient declarations is a growing trend. Is it growing fast enough?

May 3, 2021

Building professionals asked for it. And they got it: lots and lots of health product declarations (HPDs) and Declare labels, which are two of the most popular ways to release information about building product ingredients and toxicity. Now what?

Trusting the information found in a self-declared... Read more

News Brief

AIA’s “Creating a Sustainability Action Plan That Works” helps firms develop a living roadmap for continuous improvement on the 2030 Commitment and more.

May 3, 2021

When you sign up for the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2030 Commitment, which asks firms to achieve net-zero modeled energy use by 2030, one of the first things you have to do is create a “sustainability action plan,” or SAP. But how?

A new guide from the institute, “Creating a... Read more

Op-Ed

It’s a new day in architecture. This year’s award season brought a surprise: a focus that’s shifting to include not just aesthetics but also the impact of our work.

May 3, 2021

It’s award season for major architectural prizes: the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Gold Medal and the international Pritzker Architecture Prize. These are considered the highest honors for an architect. The goal of the Pritzker Prize is “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those... Read more

News Brief

A new resource from WHO walks users through how to assess and optimize ventilation systems for COVID-19.

May 3, 2021

We now know that filtration and ventilation are key to reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. But how do you know how much is adequate, and exactly which steps to take to improve?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released its “Roadmap to improve and ensure good indoor ventilation in the... Read more

News Brief

Experts in reusing existing buildings, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have received architecture’s highest international honor.

May 3, 2021

An act of violence.

That’s how architect Anne Lacaton describes building demolition. Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, who have vowed to never tear down a building, have won 2021’s Pritzker Prize—an award often described as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in architecture. Even when they build new, the... Read more

News Brief

Natural gas bans are not on the table, but other aspects of building electrification are addressed, along with environmental justice reforms.

May 3, 2021

A comprehensive new climate law in Massachusetts requires net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy” delineates six sectors, including the residential building sector, and the commercial and industrial building sector, and sets emissions mandates and incentives for... Read more

Product Review

Supreen is a woven textile that incorporates silicone into its fibers along with a polyurethane backing to provide a moisture-barrier material without the need for PFAS treatments.

May 3, 2021

Commercial furniture can be ruined by stains, and this is particularly problematic in busy healthcare settings where spill, fluids, and disinfectants can wreak havoc on upholstery. Design teams manage the issue by either using a coated fabric—PVC, polyurethane, or silicone—or a woven fabric that is coated with per- and... Read more

Webcast

April 30, 2021

As more and more architects, designers, contractors and owners demand transparency surrounding human health impacts in the built environment, manufacturers need short cuts and tools to meet the call of this demand.

This webinar is intended to educate manufacturers about the market demands for creating healthier, more sustainable... Read more

News Analysis

The American Institute of Architects has announced its Top Ten high-performance building winners for this year.

April 22, 2021

The Committee on the Environment (COTE) of the American Institute of Architects has unveiled its annual Top Ten awards for high-performance projects. Many of this year’s winners were designed with local ecosystems in mind, and all take advantage of passive strategies to improve energy performance. Two are historic building... Read more

News Brief

Designers in the District are being encouraged to design for extreme heat, flooding, and power outages.

April 5, 2021

[Disclaimer: BuildingGreen’s founder, Alex Wilson, was a primary author of this report, with project support from Candace Pearson.]

What do holeless elevators and termite shields have in common? They’re both recommended resilient design features for public buildings, according to a recent guide released by Washington, D.C.’s Department... Read more

Product Review

Alpen’s WinSert commercial window inserts significantly improve the thermal performance of aging window systems, without the cost or aesthetic concerns of full replacements.

April 5, 2021

Instead of new construction, many firms are retrofitting older buildings in an attempt to reduce a project’s embodied carbon. The problem is that the operational energy required to run these often poorly insulated buildings can offset many of those gains. And windows are one of the biggest challenges, since they account for “... Read more

News Analysis

Now is a perfect time for property owners and managers to pursue these major sustainability initiatives.

April 5, 2021

All over North America, office space is vacant or sparsely populated. Vaccinations for COVID-19 are gradually rolling out, but a return to onsite office work continues to be slow. While buildings are in a holding pattern, now is a perfect time for property owners and managers to make changes that are difficult when occupants... Read more

Spotlight Report

April 5, 2021

Office work is changing. During the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the average commercial office vacancy rate across the U.S. leapt from about 12% to 15%, according to CBRE. Meanwhile, nearly every major city in the U.S. is struggling with a years-long affordable housing crisis that is forcing people to share close quarters or move... Read more