News

News Brief

The new law no longer allows incineration, but health advocates say the carpet industry needs radical change before recycling can work.

November 6, 2017

The Healthy Building Network (HBN) contends in a new report that most of today’s carpet is not only difficult to recycle but also too toxic to keep around. HBN released the report just days after California approved new legislation that encourages a significant jump in carpet recycling rates.

The law requires manufacturers, by 2020, to... Read more

Blog Post

A new focus on embodied carbon and LEED v4 are driving designers to dive deep into what we choose for our buildings

November 2, 2017

If the number of events on this topic is any indication, 2017 will go down as the year that Greenbuild became all about products. Why? Here’s my take on it:

LEED 2009 is (finally) mostly behind us, and people are starting to get excited (and serious) about figuring out LEED v4, and its alphabet soup of Materials & Resources credits... Read more

Feature Article

There are a lot of reasons to avoid foam, but its high performance can make it a hard habit to kick, as designers are finding out.

October 27, 2017

If you’ve ever held a Styrofoam cup comfortably in your hand, only to scorch your tongue sipping the piping-hot coffee inside, you know that plastic foam is a really good insulator. It’s also lightweight, generally impervious to moisture, relatively cheap, and strong.

With all that in its favor, it would take some effort to find a... Read more

News Analysis

Buy Clean California is the first law in the nation to address embodied carbon in construction materials.

October 17, 2017

“The Governor made us wait,” said California Assembly Member Rob Bonta about the Buy Clean California bill that he had sponsored.

Governor Jerry Brown had until midnight on Sunday to sign or veto the bill. "It was touch-and-go until the very end, given some of the governor’s office's concerns," Bonta reports. He was on a plane returning... Read more

News Brief

The TRUE rating system helps businesses and facilities eliminate waste through education and performance tracking.

October 6, 2017

The rebranded TRUE (“Total Resource Use and Efficiency”) Zero Waste rating system (administered previously by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council) was recently launched by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) as a way to promote a holistic approach to waste reduction.

The TRUE Zero Waste rating system is meant to encourage and... Read more

Feature Short

Because most of the funds are government funds, they are also subject to political pressures.

October 6, 2017

Getting funding for affordable housing, whether it’s green or not, is competitive and complex. That’s because there aren’t enough funds to address the unmet need for affordable homes. In addition, funding comes from multiple sources, including government programs, which are subject to political pressures.

Who’s Who in Affordable Housing... Read more

News Brief

Opportunity360 scores neighborhoods on health, affordability, transportation, and more.

October 6, 2017

Want to know what a neighborhood offers before you even get a chance to visit? With a new tool called Opportunity360, you can punch in an address and get an in-depth profile of the surrounding neighborhood, including:

Housing stability (metrics like affordability and home ownership) Education (high school and college completion) Health... Read more

Feature Article

Green building is not just for those with means. 

October 6, 2017

There is a vast, unmet need for affordable housing in the U.S.

More than eight million extremely low-income households pay more than half of their incomes to rent their homes. In addition, more than a half million people in the U.S. were homeless last year.

Andrew Spofford, chief of staff of the nonprofit Preservation of... Read more

Product Review

Sedak’s Isomax system incorporates vacuum insulated panels into insulated glazing units to create thin glass façades with improved thermal performance.

October 6, 2017

All-glass façades are rarely all glass; they are just made to look that way. The transparent window portion of the façade, or insulated glazing unit (IGU), is installed in a curtainwall along with opaque spandrel sections that hide columns, beams, and mechanicals from view. Cladding, sometimes glass, covers the spandrel to meld with the... Read more

Feature Short

Stories of designers and developers who overcame the challenges of building affordable housing that is also green, sustainable, and healthy.

October 6, 2017

Over the past fifteen years, an emerging trend in affordable housing is better and better design. “The most thoughtful, private nonprofit developers out there have been paying attention both to ‘green’ and the quality of how the building looks and sits on the site,” says Sunshine Mathon, who served for the past decade as the development and... Read more

News Brief

Urban forests do $500 million worth of heavy lifting each year for the world’s largest cities—and there’s plenty of room to plant more.

October 6, 2017

Dr. Seuss’s Lorax spoke for the trees, but you don’t have to be a fantastical creature out of a children’s book to do that anymore. A new study published in Ecological Modeling suggests that urban forests play a vital economic role in very large cities, and they could be doing even more.

According to... Read more

News Analysis

The city is first to earn a Platinum LEED for Cities certification, leveraging information technology to track progress toward a range of sustainability goals.

October 6, 2017

At least 55 cities and communities around the world have signed on to test the LEED for Cities pilot, and Washington, D.C. has achieved the first certification in the new system—a Platinum rating.

Cities seeking certification submit performance data for a range of sustainability categories—Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, and Human... Read more

Primer

This rapidly renewable material is excellent for textiles and non-structural concrete. (And no, it will not get you high.)

October 6, 2017

Building professionals are constantly presented with new, technologically advanced materials and products meant to achieve high-performance construction. But one of the best-performing materials available has been around for a long time: hemp. Cultivated in China as early as 2800 BCE, hemp offers many benefits as a building material—as well as... Read more

Blog Post

Simple folded metal solves a common moisture problem

October 3, 2017

I first “learned” about VersaDry when a colleague of mine here at BuildingGreen — our materials and product expert, Brent Ehrlich — sent me the photo reproduced at right. I was in the same boat you are right now: “OK, thanks for the photo, Brent, but what the hell is this VersaDry bent-metal thingamajig?” He replied, “Oh, yeah, here is another... Read more

Blog Post

Early on in our work on energy-efficient homes, the connection between airtightness and sound centered on airport noise; now a new technology reconnects acoustics and air leakage

September 7, 2017

Back in the early days of airport noise mitigation programs, there was a pretty strong link between air leakage and sound. A document titled “Tips for Insulating Your Home Against Aircraft Noise” noted, “Sound travels from the exterior to the interior of the home in two ways: through solid structural elements and through the air…. Wherever air... Read more

News Analysis

As more projects are plugging into off-site solar, dual-use installations are gaining favor to minimize adverse impact.

September 6, 2017

Solar developers and farmers have something in common. They both need sunlight to grow their ‘crops’ and often the best place to do that is a flat, sunny field.  For the most part, though, the two industries interact only when a farmer is leasing or selling land to a developer.  

But that is starting to change.

In recent years,... Read more

Primer

By engaging our sense of hearing, and our sonological competence, design can improve our ability to listen to and know the places we inhabit.

September 6, 2017

In your building designs, do you think of noise as a nuisance—something that always needs to be reduced? Instead, what if we thought of sound as an architectural “material” that can drive the creative process and enhance the way we experience and interact with our environment?

Think of a place where you spend a lot of time. Can you... Read more

Product Review

LEED v4 overhauled its low-emitting materials credit, with a new emphasis on VOC content and emissions. But be sure to look for durability as well.

September 6, 2017

Finding a low-emitting paint used to be such a simple task. We could look at a paint can and see the volatile organic compound content in grams per liter (g/l). In LEED v2009, if a paint met the VOC requirements for South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule #1113, we were good to go. For standard flat acrylic... Read more

Feature Article

Acoustic performance is often overlooked by human-centered design. A holistic approach shows how to navigate the complexities of “sustainable acoustics.”

September 6, 2017

The world is filled with sound. And while our experience of a space is always influenced by its acoustics, we are especially affected by the acoustic quality of the buildings where we spend 90% of our time. These buildings all too often have poor acoustics, which can disrupt our work, activities, and health.

“It can get pretty noisy.... Read more

Product Review

Mineral-based paint from Romabio contains no synthetic resins, and can be used in place of standard interior acrylic latex paint on drywall.

September 5, 2017

Mineral silicate paints are some of the most sustainable coatings available. They contain few if any synthetic substances or VOCs and are extremely durable, so they would be an ideal choice for interior projects.  But these paints are primarily for exterior use on mineral-based substrates such as limestone, concrete, terra cotta, and brick.... Read more