News

News Brief

Extensive guidelines published by NAACP help put community residents in the driver’s seat.

July 6, 2021

With racial equity coming into greater mainstream focus as a sustainability imperative, one question keeps coming up for building professionals, policymakers, and residents of communities affected by development: how do we move forward?

NAACP is offering answers. The group’s first publication in a series called Guidelines for Equitable... Read more

News Brief

More than a database, mindful Materials is taking on an advocacy and convener role focused on healthy and sustainable materials.

July 6, 2021

Disclaimer: BuildingGreen is a technical advisory partner to mindful Materials.

When you think of mindful Materials (mM), you may think of stickers. That’s how the whole thing got started: HKS developed binder labels meant to help its designers quickly identify products in their product library that had transparency labels like health... Read more

News Analysis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced initiatives that will finally regulate the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in consumer and building products.

July 6, 2021

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used as dirt and stain repellants and are found in carpet and textile treatments, coatings, sealants, and other building and consumer products. They are persistent in the environment, and some are known persistent, bioaccumulative toxicants (PBTs), yet the extent of their use is not fully... Read more

Op-Ed

BuidingGreen’s recent report critiquing net-zero energy may be fighting the wrong battle.

July 6, 2021

By Brad Liljequist

Reading BuildingGreen’s provocative “Net-Zero Energy Isn’t the Real Goal: 8 Reasons Why” sparked a lot of emotions and thoughts—ranging from strong agreement to a fair amount of “Yes, but….”

Zero energy by itself has never been the full, holistic goal—which instead perhaps is best stated as: “to reconstruct... Read more

News Analysis

Occupants want access to IAQ data. But it’s a battle between simplicity and accuracy.

July 6, 2021

We’re not far from the day when we will be able to walk into a building and test indoor air quality in real time from our phones, most experts say. The demand for this air-quality information continues to grow, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the realization that good IAQ is linked with lower transmission risk. In the... 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

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 Green Science Policy Institute details how common PFAS compounds are in our building products.

June 7, 2021

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and linked to a number of negative health and environmental impacts. Some forms are toxic and possible carcinogens. These “forever” chemicals are now found on every continent and in the most remote places on the world. They are also common in the... Read more

Feature Article

Net-zero-energy buildings don’t always reduce carbon emissions. These are the tweaks we need to ensure they do.

June 7, 2021

Karina Hershberg’s transition from focusing on energy to focusing on carbon began six years ago. An electrical engineer at PAE Consulting, Hershberg was working on a project with deep sustainability goals. Net-zero energy (NZE) was a given. The team was considering taking the project entirely off grid and was thinking about a 300-year time... Read more

News Brief

The U.S. General Services Administration has established two task groups in response to the president’s demands on climate and environmental justice.

June 7, 2021

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has established two new task groups relating to its large portfolio of buildings—the Federal Building Decarbonization Task Group and the Environmental Justice and Equity Task Group. The moves came in response to a sweeping executive order on climate and environmental justice.... Read more

News Analysis

By applying the principles of “trauma-informed care,” building professionals can prevent re-traumatization while reducing stress for everyone.

June 7, 2021

“You can probably feel each other’s breath on you.” Renee Weeks is a social worker providing services for people experiencing homelessness at Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction, Vermont. Her empathy for guests comes through while she tries to imagine what it’s like to share cramped sleeping quarters with a stranger. “I... 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

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 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

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 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

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

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