BuildingGreen Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spotlight Report

October 4, 2021

We think fresh water supplies are endless, but this idealistic vision is clouded by the smoke of countless forest fires in the U.S. West and elsewhere. Instead of endless bounty, climate change is bringing us catastrophic droughts and flooding that now dominate the headlines and threaten entire regions.

This report covers innovative... Read more

News Brief

Metropolis has put together a slew of resources to limit the emissions from continual interior design changes.

October 4, 2021

“By 2050, the interior design industry will have influence over almost one-tenth of the world’s carbon emissions.” That’s according to Metropolis magazine, which recently released a toolkit for interior designers on avoiding embodied carbon emissions.

We tend to think of embodied carbon—the emissions associated with building materials—... Read more

Blog Post

The endless availability of fresh, clean water is an illusion—and not just in drought-stricken places. Here are some ways in which building professionals can step up.

October 1, 2021

Seriously, what are we thinking? Lush golf courses, thirsty almond groves, and huge metropolises in the desert. More sprawling cities built on flood plains. And we wonder why water is dangerously scarce in some places and destructively abundant in others.

We are out of balance with natural water cycles, and we pay for it—billions of... Read more

Webcast

September 29, 2021
How can three important elements of sustainable buildings—energy efficiency, resilience, and health and wellness—be integrated for better overall outcomes?

How can the returns of sustainable building strategies with less quantifiable benefits, like resilience and wellness, be paired with more predictable returns of energy efficiency to... Read more

News Brief

The Biden administration just finalized one of the most important greenhouse-gas-reduction initiatives in U.S. history.

September 24, 2021

For the first time ever, the U.S. is about to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

On September 23, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a federal rule that will reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—potent greenhouse gases used as refrigerants and in foam insulation. Many common refrigerants and blowing... Read more

News Brief

Seventy-two percent of Blacks and African Americans, and 66% of women, say they’ve experienced discrimination at work.

September 20, 2021

Amid growing reports of nooses found on construction sites, new stats back up anecdotal reports that discrimination based on race and gender pervades workplaces associated with the built environment.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), 72% percent... Read more

News Brief

Peter Templeton, a former USGBC and GBCI executive, will steer the organizations through a strategic review as interim CEO and president.

September 17, 2021

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the imminent departure of Mahesh Ramanujam as president and CEO of the organization as well as Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and Arc Skoru. We spoke with Ramanujam’s interim successor, Peter Templeton, about the future of the organizations, including the strategic review that... Read more

Webcast

September 15, 2021

Get out your wetsuit and oxygen tank because you’re about to dive really deep into the integrative design process. Your guide: Marcus Sheffer, one of the foremost experts on the topic (he also happens to have helped write the LEED v4 Integrative Process credit language).

Your tour starts with the why—the credit intent—then gradually... Read more

News Brief

By tracking existing building performance, Arc users can get financial reports on sustainability measures for free, and projected scenarios can be analyzed for a premium.

September 7, 2021

Conserving energy and water is great, but in any given building, how much does it cost and how much money does it save? A new set of tools available through Arc—the building performance tracking platform created by the for-profit arm of the U.S. Green Building Council—can answer these questions. Powered by Autocase economic... Read more

News Brief

California code will virtually require electric heat pumps for most new buildings, deterring new gas line hookups.

September 7, 2021

California recently became the de facto leader in electrification by delineating electric heat pumps as “standard” for most new homes and buildings in its 2022 code.

New single-family homes and some commercial buildings must use an electric heat pump either for space heating or for hot water heating.... Read more