News

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Analysis

It’s easy to focus on what was lost, but the bipartisan infrastructure bill still includes some green building wins.

September 7, 2021

It started out as a $2.6 trillion plan, but the infrastructure bill that recently passed in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support shrank to $550 billion. A lot of that missing $2 trillion had been slated for sustainability initiatives.

But despite the complete loss of $387 billion in spending on... Read more

Product Review

Our urban buildings can provide habitat for vulnerable honeybee populations, as well as research opportunities that might help the species and our food supply.

September 7, 2021

Bees are one of the most vital members of our ecosystem, responsible for pollinating plants that make up a significant portion of our food supply and help control erosion, provide animal habitat, and increase oxygen while mitigating carbon dioxide. Though most honeybees are not native pollinators and their impacts on native species are... Read more

News Brief

Half of urban trees don’t live past 10 years; we need them to reach at least 50.

September 7, 2021

Announcing a tree planting goal is a go-to move for politicians trying to win some popularity points. Everybody loves trees—they improve air quality, reduce sound levels, decrease crime, and infiltrate stormwater. And yet, even though we all agree it is a public good, we’re approaching tree planting all wrong, says Dark Matter... 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

Op-Ed

We are just about out of wiggle room, and buildings need to change. Now.

September 7, 2021

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in early August released part one of its sixth assessment report—a comprehensive analysis of the climate impacts that we can expect under various emissions scenarios. The upshot of this 4,000-page tome? “The viability of our societies depends on leaders from government, business, and civil... 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

Op-Ed

A leading champion of sustainable design leaves behind a rich legacy of accomplishment.

September 3, 2021

Lance Hosey, FAIA, LEED Fellow, died unexpectedly at his home on Friday, August 28, 2021 in San Diego, California. As shock gives way to reflection at BuildingGreen and the larger sustainable design community, Lance’s career as an architect, a widely published author, a committed mentor for dozens of emerging architects, and a champion of... Read more

News Brief

International Living Future Institute (ILFI) taps industry veteran Lindsay Baker as new CEO to lead its next chapter.

August 6, 2021

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has announced that Lindsay Baker will be taking the reins of the organization starting on August 9, 2021. She succeeds interim CEO K C Gauldine, who took over in April 2020 after the departure of Amanda Sturgeon. Baker was selected because she brings “the power, vision, and experience to ignite... Read more

News Brief

Forest management practices have a big impact on the carbon benefits of using wood products. SCS has laid out how to do the calculations.

August 2, 2021

If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s no one around to describe how the forest has been managed, is the tree carbon neutral?

This riff on the classic philosophical thought experiment is a practical question that SCS Global Services is seeking to answer for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).... Read more

News Analysis

Product-level embodied carbon information will be available within BIM software in 2023.

August 2, 2021

The nonprofit Building Transparency—holder of the EC3 tool that allows comparison of building products’ carbon footprints—recently added the popular life-cycle assessment (LCA) app Tally to its portfolio. And now, armed with a big grant, Tally and EC3’s environmental product declaration (EPD) database will be integrated into a... Read more