BuildingGreen Report

News Brief

Should it stay or should it go? From a carbon perspective, conventional wisdom says most buildings should stay. The CARE Tool backs that up with data.

December 5, 2022

Is the greenest building the one that’s already built?

Yes! Usually? Sometimes …

Taking carbon into account, it may seem like a no-brainer to retrofit existing buildings rather than build new ones, but to make a good climate case for reuse, you need good data. That’s where... Read more

Op-Ed

The meaning of environmental, social, and governance reporting and ratings is in flux. Below are six ways to move forward amid the chaos.

December 5, 2022

The second I read the headline, I knew exactly what the article was going to be about. And indeed, “One of the Hottest Trends in the World of Investing Is a Sham,” a New York Times op-ed by New York University associate professor Hans Taparia, slams ESG ratings (short for environmental, social, and governance) as a big, fat... Read more

News Brief

Benzene concentrations from unburned fossil gas can exceed health recommendations, but it’s highly regional, researchers found.

December 5, 2022

Even when cooking appliances are not in use, they can emit benzene and other carcinogens into indoor air. In certain circumstances, these “fugitive emissions” can create conditions comparable to living with a smoker, according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

The... Read more

News Brief

Building project teams have plenty of tools to address labor practices on the jobsite and in the material supply chain, says a COOKFOX report.

December 5, 2022

Many of us think of slavery as a thing of the past, but that’s simply not the case—and the building industry has been implicated in perpetuating the problem. A report from COOKFOX Architects, “Survey of Labor Certifications for the Built Environment,” helps building professionals navigate the many programs available for... Read more

Spotlight Report

November 30, 2022
What exactly is ESG, and what the heck does it have to do with the building industry?

Short for “environmental, social, and governance,” ESG reporting and ratings started as a Wall Street thing. But ESG is quickly becoming a Main Street thing. It’s gone way beyond big, publicly traded corporations, and a lot of companies, for better or worse... Read more

News Analysis

The global building industry is not on track for decarbonization by 2050—not even close. There is promising news from COP27, but we need structural change, starting with electrification.

November 10, 2022

The score we need: 17.1.

The score we have: 8.1.

In other words, the building industry isn’t anywhere close to hitting necessary climate targets, according to the Global Building Climate Tracker. This index, begun in 2015 by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC, which is part of the United Nations... Read more

News Brief

By pushing forward on environmental justice and civil rights activities, the new EPA office will help communities fight pollution—indoors and out.

November 7, 2022

“It’s about changing how our government works and who it works for,” said Michael Regan, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), during his September 2022 announcement of the new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR). Regan spoke near a hazardous waste site in North... Read more

Op-Ed

We need a lot more collaboration and a totally new theory of change—and we need it now.

November 7, 2022

If I were being dramatic, I’d say that the green building movement is dead. 

That, of course, would not be technically true, as there are so many amazing projects and wonderful people working hard to make a positive difference in the world through changes in the built environment. But taken in the context of the rate of climate change... Read more

News Analysis

Nooses, racist graffiti, and harassment are all too common in the construction workplace. What’s a contractor to do?

November 7, 2022

Skanska US, Microsoft, and Balfour Beatty found themselves in legal hot water in April 2022, when construction worker Quinte Harris filed suit against them alleging employment discrimination, unlawful retaliation, wrongful termination, and negligent supervision. Harris, who formerly worked on the Microsoft campus modernization... Read more

News Analysis

Most utility rate structures don’t encourage battery back-up systems. Here’s what needs to change.

November 7, 2022

There’s one surprisingly tricky piece of equipment that often stands in the way of fully electrifying a commercial building: the back-up generator. Batteries for back-up power are available, but the upfront cost differential is difficult to overcome.

"In addition to reducing demand, batteries can also act as... Read more

Product Review

Imported European wood insulation has been available for years, but high costs, limited availability, and code challenges have kept it from going mainstream. U.S.-made TimberHP is out to change that.

November 7, 2022

GO Lab, manufacturer of TimberHP wood insulation, is providing a new insulation to the U.S. market—while bolstering rural Maine’s economy at the same time. The closing of Madison, Maine’s paper mill resulted in the loss of more than 200 good-paying jobs and seemingly doomed the facility and the rural community to a bleak future. The paper mill... Read more

News Brief

Architects can use their positions to counter injustice in the built environment. An Equitable Communities Resource from AIA shows how.

November 7, 2022

Impact, agency, and power. These are the focus of a new publication from The American Institute of Architects (AIA): Architects’ Role in Creating Equitable Communities. Through ten focus groups with 67 designers and architects, the authors gathered insights, tools, and strategies for advancing design justice and equity in... Read more

News Brief

The International Living Future Institute’s Declare database has added two filters to help find products that meet Enterprise Green Communities criteria.

November 7, 2022

The Declare website from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has made it easier to find products that meet criteria for Enterprise Green Communities—a green building certification program for affordable housing. Under the pulldown menu “Alignment,” there are two new options: “Enterprise Green Communities – Meets... Read more

News Analysis

Tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. government will fund better forestry practices and mass timber market development.

November 7, 2022

It’s a simple plan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay landowners to let their trees grow bigger before cutting them down.

The hoped-for outcomes are more complex: boosting the carbon sequestration, and the ecological and cultural value, of working forests; producing higher-quality wood products; increasing financial returns... Read more

News Brief

In a chat with podcaster Louis Virtel, Fonda discussed her early forays into green building, her civil disobedience in D.C., and her new climate PAC.

November 2, 2022

A partial standing ovation greeted Jane Fonda. By the time she was done, she got the real deal. 

The actor and activist took the stage at Greenbuild in San Francisco this morning to offer encouragement and to press the building industry to advance a just transition away from fossil fuels. Her focus on equitable treatment for building... Read more

Webcast

October 13, 2022

This webinar with our friend Chris Pyke, Ph.D., a senior vice president with Arc Skoru, lays the groundwork with three important facts:

Markets fail because of the lack of non-financial information. Market failure is the inefficient allocation of goods and services. ESG & Sustainable Finance are strategies to address market... Read more

News Analysis

Peter Templeton will keep the reins at USGBC. We talked to him about equity, ESG, and a brand new framework in the works for existing building portfolios.

October 13, 2022

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its sister nonprofit Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) have announced that Peter Templeton, who came on as interim president and CEO just over a year ago, will stay in these positions. Templeton told BuildingGreen in an interview that he hopes to... Read more

Explainer

In the world of policy and regulation, the difference between consumptive and non-consumptive water use is like night and day.

October 10, 2022

As individuals and organizations, we all use water for drinking, washing, and flushing away waste. We install low-flow fixtures (sometimes by regulation) and fix leaks to save water—especially when we’re faced with drought conditions. LEED and other programs give us credit for using less.  

But not... Read more

Spotlight Report

October 10, 2022

“There is no pathway to a zero-emissions building sector without zeroing out emissions from America’s 325 billion square feet of existing buildings,” according to 2018 AIA president Carl Elefante.

But making that transition will be a monumental task. Existing buildings are all over the place in terms of age, condition,... Read more

News Brief

Environmental activists have stopped permitting of a large petrochemical plant in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” a rare win for the environment and local communities.

October 10, 2022

St. James Parish is home to 12 petrochemical plants that make PVC and a number of other plastics. Located in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” it is also the epicenter of fights over pollution, health, and social justice issues in the area’s historically Black communities. When FG LA L.L.C., an affiliate of Taiwan-based Formosa... Read more