BuildingGreen Report

News Brief

The group MEP 2040 is now offering letter-writing templates asking manufacturers for equipment that uses next-generation, low-GWP refrigerants.

August 7, 2023

Common refrigerants used to heat and cool buildings “can drive up to 75% of the embodied carbon emissions related to HVAC systems,” according to MEP 2040, a group of signatories committed to building decarbonization. The group recently issued a call to action to speed progress toward its 2040 net-zero target.

... Read more

News Analysis

The AIA Framework for Design Excellence helps designers start vital conversations. Recent revisions have surfaced four core outcomes and sharpened focus on “how” to complement “why.”

August 7, 2023

“We just started to ask better questions.”

That’s how Megan Feenstra Wall, AIA, credits the Framework for Design Excellence for helping Mathison | Mathison Architects “go farther sooner in a way that’s been great for our clients and our projects.” Because of the framework, she believes, the small Grand Rapids, Michigan, firm where she... Read more

Product Review

Combining water-source heat pumps and ice-based thermal storage creates a “battery” that can provide all-electric heating and cooling, even in cold climates. And it qualifies for IRA funding.

August 7, 2023

When we think of the future of all-electric buildings, two technologies tend to rise to the top: heat pumps and batteries. Heat pumps are now ubiquitous for providing heating and cooling, and lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular. Alone, the two technologies can work great, but each has limitations. There are... Read more

News Analysis

The National Institute of Building Sciences shared results from its second biannual Social Equity Survey. But with far fewer responses than last time, the data are hard to interpret.

July 26, 2023

The diversity of the AEC sector hasn’t shown much progress in two years, according to the second Social Equity in the Built Environment Workforce Survey. But the survey, conducted by the nonprofit National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), had far fewer respondents in 2023 than in 2021, complicating efforts to compare data over time.... Read more

Webcast

July 18, 2023

Concrete is one of the construction industry’s largest carbon emitters, responsible for about 5% to 8% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, yet it is also one of the most important building materials. 

There are well-proven ways to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint, such as replacing... Read more

Blog Post

Mindful MATERIALS has partnered with BuildingGreen to expand knowledge of the Common Materials Framework across the building product manufacturing and AEC industries.

July 17, 2023

Mindful MATERIALS is partnering with BuildingGreen, a leader in green building knowledge, consulting, and communities, to broaden the building product manufacturing and AEC industries’ understanding of the Common Materials Framework (CMF). The CMF is a common language for sustainability data that will help databases and certification... Read more

News Analysis

The secret to a more diverse workforce? Intentionally inclusive mentoring for future architects, engineers, construction professionals, and skilled tradespeople.

July 10, 2023


It’s graduation day. Partners, grandparents, aunts and uncles, young children, aging parents, and even neighbors gather to celebrate.

But this isn’t about a high school diploma or college degree. It’s far more consequential. Eight graduates have just finished a six-week training program that... Read more

News Analysis

Passive cooling strategies are surprisingly effective, even as heat waves become more extreme.

July 10, 2023

Cities are getting dangerously hot. It is fairly obvious that more people will need air conditioning (AC). But there are a couple of reasons adding AC alone won’t keep people safe, says recent research.

There are equity concerns with AC units. They come with ongoing maintenance expenses, can spike... Read more

Product Review

Design Lights Consortium’s LUNA Standard balances verified energy efficiency and performance data with environmental concerns to help design teams select application-specific lighting.

July 10, 2023

With the adoption of LEDs, the reduced energy impacts of lighting are now taken for granted, but there are still a lot of old fluorescent and first generation LEDs on the market. And LED lighting is still complicated, especially for outdoor applications. How do you balance efficacy (lighting energy performance, measured in... Read more

News Brief

HUD’s Green Resilient and Retrofit Program, part of the Inflation Reduction Act, seeks to improve the efficiency and resilience of low-income housing.

July 10, 2023

Where we live, the quality of our homes, and the resources we have determine our vulnerability to climate change. As the United States continues to fight and prepare for the impacts of global heating, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that everyone—people earning lower incomes and communities of color, in particular—have access to... Read more

News Analysis

Proposed standards under the Clean Air Act aim to cut power plant emissions but are receiving criticism from multiple directions.

July 10, 2023

Our homes, offices, and cars are electrifying—but they are only as green as the grid. Fossil fuels still supply 61% of electric power in the U.S. and account for about a quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The success of electrification as a decarbonization strategy in building, transportation, and all other sectors relies... Read more

News Analysis

CDC has set a stringent new minimum for everyday ventilation, and ASHRAE has released standard 241, the first IAQ standard addressing infectious disease. Both moves challenge long-held assumptions about clean air.

July 10, 2023

There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air.

Nice phrase—but considering the rampant wildfires, diesel fumes, industrial plumes, excess pollen, higher concentrations of CO2, and literal plagues that plague modern life, clean air is increasingly hard to come by, whether outdoors or in.

Meanwhile, we now know more than ever about... Read more

News Analysis

Hospitals and other nonprofits can now afford long-hoped-for resilience and emission strategies. And the investments are biggest in communities with the least.

July 10, 2023

The recent Getting to Zero Forum in Minneapolis included both policy- and technology-related strategies on how to make the transition to a net-zero-energy and net-zero-carbon economy. One highlight was a presentation in the technical session “Building Communities That Survive and Thrive,” in which I was also a presenter, about... Read more

News Brief

According to the Healthy Building Network, the paint you use might contain PFAS compounds, even if they are not disclosed on the ingredient list.

July 10, 2023

Human-made “forever chemicals”—known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—have a wide range of negative health impacts and have been found in most consumer and building products. Even with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states like Maine trying to regulate them, there are more than 10,000 PFAS... Read more

News Brief

The U.S. Department of Energy is accepting applications for its Zero Energy Design Designation (ZEDD) Program.

June 23, 2023

The building sector—one of the country’s main sources of emissions—must transform the way buildings are designed, constructed, operated, and retrofitted if we are to meet the Biden administration’s 2050 net-zero-economy goal. Many of the practitioners who will be responsible for this work over the next two decades are still in—or have yet to... Read more

Webcast

June 20, 2023

Practitioners interested in reducing the embodied carbon of buildings are likely now used to considering the impact of different materials, like mass timber or low-carbon concrete. Low-carbon construction, however, may be less familiar. 

Contractors are just beginning to track the emissions from their job sites... Read more

News Brief

An Earth Day executive order looks to protect communities burdened by pollution. The details hint at the scale of change that’s needed.

June 12, 2023

To fulfill our Nation’s promises of justice, liberty, and equality, every person must have clean air to breathe; clean water to drink; safe and healthy foods to eat; and an environment that is healthy, sustainable, climate-resilient, and free from harmful pollution and chemical exposure.

– President Joe Biden, Executive Order 14096 on... Read more

News Brief

The Carbon Leadership Forum has updated its baseline data to keep pace with industry changes.

June 12, 2023

The CLF (Carbon Leadership Forum) North American Baseline Report has been updated to provide the most recent embodied carbon data for North American construction materials. Taken from the 2022 Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool, these baseline data come from third-party environmental product declarations (EPDs) and are used... Read more

Spotlight Report

June 12, 2023

People interested in reducing the embodied carbon of buildings are familiar with weighing the impact of different materials, like mass timber or low-carbon concrete. Low-carbon construction has not been on many people’s radar—but it probably should be.

Findings from construction companies that are tracking greenhouse... Read more

News Analysis

Global heating is already making today’s children more vulnerable, a new EPA report reveals. Adaptation measures are needed to protect them.

June 12, 2023

Replete with heart-wrenching photos of tiny children sucking on inhalers, enduring insect welts, and watching flood waters rise, a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) details the grueling impacts climate change is having and is likely to have on America’s kids. Socially vulnerable youth will be disproportionately... Read more