Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting is becoming a driver of sustainable building design and operations in the U.S.
“Sustainable building upgrades are never an emergency,” says Sara Neff, head of sustainability for Lendlease Americas, explaining why some laggardly real estate companies don’t budget adequately for green building. “You can always put off a lighting retrofit.”
Maybe not anymore. With the gradual... Read more
Complying with New York City’s building performance standard will be a breeze for many but potentially harder in “environmental justice communities,” says a recent report on carbon trading.
Without intervention, already vulnerable communities in New York City could bear the brunt of cost impacts from Local Law 97—the building performance standard that places carbon caps on large buildings starting in 2024.
“On average, building owners in environmental justice communities [EJCs] will need... Read more
Scope what? SS who? People throw around a lot of terms about carbon and climate change: here is a glossary of what some of them mean.
Climate change is complicated, to say the least, so the terminology relating to climate change can also be hard to decipher. Here we’ve put together a simplified glossary of just a few terms that can be helpful to know as you navigate information about global warming. We’ll start with the very basics and move on to some of the... Read more
The construction sector’s take-make-waste approach to materials needs an overhaul. Materials and construction account for an estimated 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. At the other end of the life cycle, demolition in the United States annually generates 90% of some 600 million tons of construction-sector debris. Getting... Read more
Building performance standards like NYC’s carbon limits could spread across the U.S. as the Biden administration assists 33 jurisdictions that have joined a new coalition.
Building electrification and embodied carbon standards for new construction are all well and good, but they leave the U.S.’s massive stock of existing buildings behind. That’s where building performance standards come in. Jurisdictions like New York City and Washington, D.C. have already adopted such standards, which require existing buildings... Read more
Reclamation and reuse of building materials can be a tough sell and hard to design for, but many project teams have learned to make it work. Here’s how.
The construction sector’s take-make-waste approach to materials needs an overhaul. Materials and construction account for an estimated 11 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions annually, according to the World Green Building Council. At the other end of the life cycle, demolition in the United States annually generates 90% of... Read more
Known for high design that’s also sustainable and equitable, Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa have earned the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor.
Angela Brooks, FAIA, and Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, principals at Brooks+Scarpa and a married couple, have jointly received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for 2022.
With five Top Ten awards from the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE)—four of which were affordable... Read more
DOE’s Connected Communities program expands to pilot more community-scale solutions for reducing peak demand.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently allocated $61 million to pilot grid-interactive technologies in ten communities—many of which consist of affordable housing or serve vulnerable populations.
The program, called Connected Communities, is intended to expand the number of grid-interactive... Read more
With industry standards eventually in place, energy models that use forward-looking weather files instead of historical ones could become the norm.
The climate is changing, and the weather along with it. Why, then, are we still using “typical meteorological years” from decades ago to guide our energy models?
The simple answer is that the industry hasn’t reached consensus on a way to do things differently. Yet as the world heats up, so do the... Read more
This handbook from Stok leads companies step by step through creating a sustainable real estate program.
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns are exploding at companies around the globe—but how these concerns apply to building portfolios may not be obvious. In a new handbook, Devon Bertram of engineering and green building consulting firm Stok promotes “the adoption of sustainable and equitable real estate... Read more
The Boston- and Kigali, Rwanda-based firm was founded on projects that place community support and equity first and has expanded to create award-winning buildings throughout the world.
The non-profit architecture firm MASS Design Group has won the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) 2022 Architecture Firm Award for Architecture. According AIA, the award was given to MASS because the firm “has worked tirelessly to ignite systemic change in the built environment through its mission-driven process” that... Read more
Innovative products include heat pumps that use low-GWP refrigerants, energy-saving window inserts, water-saving infrastructure, induction ranges, and more.
BuildingGreen’s editorial team has been vetting green building products for more than 30 years. This research has informed our articles, GreenSpec product directory, product guides, and our annual Top 10 green building products award, where we select products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. This is the... Read more
The Marshall Fire brought tragedy to Boulder County at the end of 2021. Can something positive grow out of the ashes?
2021 was a year in a string of years of unprecedented weather-related events: mega tornados, record-shattering heat domes, and ever-expanding forest fires. But even in a year like this, the Marshall Fire stands out as something new: a grass fire that turned into an urban firestorm--destroying entire suburban communities on Colorado’s... Read more
With a plan to integrate resilience into future versions of LEED, the organization is leaving RELi behind.
Resilient design is getting a makeover at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The organization, which acquired the RELi resilience rating system in 2017, will cede ownership as of January 1, 2022. RELi (pronounced “rely”) will return to its developer, The Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS), while USGBC works to... Read more
New policies will require carbon-free electricity and embodied carbon disclosure for building materials, and could limit procurement of products with PFAS.
U.S. federal government operations could approach carbon neutrality by 2050, thanks to a sweeping sustainability plan and associated executive order announced by President Biden on December 8, 2021.
The plan includes requirements regarding building operations, embodied carbon, electric vehicle procurement, purchasing of less toxic... Read more
We believe that social justice issues as they relate to the built environment are relevant to the sustainable design and construction community.
“You are not a political party” was the subject line of a recent email we received at BuildingGreen.
The message was a response to a short news story we did on racism and sexism in built-environment workplaces. The body of the email included the line, “We want relevant content.”... Read more
A history of unfair real estate practices in the U.S. has left us with unsustainable, under-resourced neighborhoods. Inclusive green design can help them heal.
Baton Rouge is breaking. Since 2003, four different districts of this city in Louisiana have seceded in order to create their own school systems. The latest, St. George, is in transition and simultaneously facing a legal battle challenging the election results that led to its secession. The proposed new city, whose citizens argue that the Baton... Read more
Award-winning Lazer Line LEDs provide high-quality, efficacious lighting in a unique form that provides different options for lighting a space.
BuildingGreen’s editorial team has followed the development of LEDs since the first CFL replacements were commercially available. We’ve looked at their energy use, light quality, tunable lighting, outdoor lighting, new technologies, and more. But we’ve largely shied away from covering individual products for their design... Read more
Although disparities between predominantly white and predominantly non-white neighborhoods go back hundreds of years, 20th-century government-sponsored discrimination was a key turning point in segregating our cities, creating the maps we have today. In fact, it all began with maps—maps released during the New Deal era by the Federal Housing... Read more
Low-income families have high energy burdens despite programs designed to help. A new study looks at solutions.
U.S. households with low median incomes (LMI) spend 14.5% of their paychecks on energy for heating, cooling, and appliances—almost double the percentage spent by non-LMI families—according to a Groundswell study conducted by data scientist Elvis Moleka, Ph.D. This higher energy burden exists despite programs designed to... Read more