News

Webcast

March 26, 2020

There is increasing consensus that getting toxic fuels out of buildings by switching to all-electric technologies is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but making that change isn’t easy. Watch this webinar to hear from two leaders in the field, one a policy expert and the other an engineer and consultant creating leading-edge... Read more

Blog Post

A letter that BuildingGreen President Nadav Malin sent to our community on March 16, 2020

March 17, 2020

To our friends and colleagues in the green building world,

We are now, in the most challenging sense, living in interesting times. As of today very few of us in North America are suffering from the illness caused by COVID-19, but we’re all experiencing its secondary effects: efforts to contain it that are shutting down gatherings,... Read more

Product Review

The LG Hydro Kit, now sized for residential and multi-family use, captures waste heat from its Multi V heat pumps to provide a fossil-fuel-free source of hot and cold water for space heating or domestic hot water.

March 2, 2020

Air-to-air variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat-pump systems use refrigerant to move energy throughout buildings and are extremely efficient, but the heat that is removed from the interior during cooling is often just released outdoors. What if we captured that waste heat to provide domestic hot water or additional space heating?

... Read more

News Brief

Students with cleaner indoor air significantly out-performed their peers in a recent study.

March 2, 2020

The cognitive effects of outdoor air pollution can be devastating, particularly for schoolchildren. A new working paper suggests that there may be an inexpensive correction for this—cleaning up indoor air using air filters.

The study took advantage of the political fallout from a 2015–16 gas leak in California. Residents demanded... Read more

News Brief

Touting the benefits of biobased materials and electrification, a recent study shows how low-rise buildings can become a climate solution.

March 2, 2020

Embodied carbon represents an outsized portion of greenhouse gas emissions from new low-rise construction, according to a white paper released by Builders for Climate Action. But it’s also possible to reduce that footprint with conventional materials—and even to make buildings a carbon sink by using less common products—according to the report... Read more

News Analysis

By focusing attention on social equity, Just helps turn values into actions, say those who’ve attained the label.

March 2, 2020

Transparency incites change—or so we’ve been led to believe. But is it really true?

The Just label is a good test case. A transparency program for social justice within companies, the label was introduced by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) in 2013. More than six years and nearly a hundred companies later, we are... Read more

News Brief

The real estate industry is increasingly paying attention to climate risks.

February 10, 2020

Sustainability isn’t enough anymore, and that realization is starting to catch on in the green building world. That’s why participants in the GRESB survey—a way for real estate and infrastructure companies to track and disclose their environmental performance for investors—are beginning to focus on climate risk management in addition to... Read more

Op-Ed

AIA’s “Big Move” invites architects to step up to the challenges of our time.

February 10, 2020

In 2019, The American Institute of Architects announced a shift that is nothing less than transformational for the 160-year-old organization, and unprecedented among professional associations. The Institute, which has historically dedicated itself to defending the turf of licensed architects and recognizing the professional achievements of its... Read more

News Brief

The four 2050 scenarios range from apocalyptic to acceptable.

February 10, 2020

At this point, there is no escaping the effects of global warming on our climate and our society. But what will those changes look like? Arup tries to answer that question in a December 2019 report titled Four Plausible Futures: 2050 Scenarios. The purpose of the report is to help firms prepare design solutions based on global trends.

... Read more

Product Review

This year’s Greenbuild expo floor showcased photovoltaic glazing, natural signage, innovative products that lower the carbon footprint of our buildings, and more.

February 10, 2020

The Greenbuild Expo hall is a great place to look for exciting product developments and industry trends. Though there seemed to be fewer new products on the expo floor at Greenbuild 2019 in Atlanta, there are always innovations and developments worth exploring. This year, we’ll look at electrical vehicle (EV) chargers, PV systems, and natural... Read more

News Brief

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power is offering a first-of-its-kind pilot program that allows consumers to sell renewable energy credits directly to businesses.

February 10, 2020

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power is a unique utility. It actually encourages the use of renewable energy and, as of December 2019, its customers will be the first in the U.S. able to sell the power they generate directly to local businesses through the utility’s Vermont Green pilot program.

This program... Read more

Feature Article

From an affordable multifamily building to an iconic museum, these projects are designed and built to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

February 10, 2020

This is part two of a two-part series on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the building industry, focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in the design and construction of projects. Part 1, “Re-forming the Building Industry: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion,” covers EDI among people practicing in the building professions.

... Read more

Syllabus Supplement

January 22, 2020
College professors: here’s a curriculum module you can use to introduce students to sustainable design using BuildingGreen articles. Feel free to cherry pick content that fits your syllabus.  

Intended for design professionals, BuildingGreen provides an independent “living textbook” that integrates perfectly with sustainable design courses... Read more

News Brief

Leading MEP design firms are entreating manufacturers to make products needed for all-electric buildings, like large capacity heat pumps.

January 17, 2020

This article highlights an initiative of the Sustainable MEP Leaders peer network, one of several peer networks supported by BuildingGreen. While BuildingGreen convenes the networks, initiatives are entirely directed by the participants.

As momentum builds for electrification—with some cities going so far as to ban natural gas—MEP... Read more

News Brief

More than half of a building’s embodied carbon is in its bones, prompting research—and soon, a new Revit tool.

January 7, 2020

Which structural component would you expect to have the most embodied carbon? The foundation? The framing? The answer is actually the floors, according to an analysis of more than 600 buildings conducted by the engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti. (Disclosure: BuildingGreen’s president, Nadav Malin, is on Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability... Read more

News Analysis

Considering projected weather is a new design imperative. You could even face lawsuits if you don’t.

January 7, 2020

You hope your building is going to last for at least 50 or 60 years—so why are you designing it for the past?

More and more building professionals are beginning to ask this question. The climate is already changing, but the weather files used to model features like passive design, choice of mechanical equipment, and sizing of stormwater... Read more

News Brief

More than 6,500 parcels may be subject to new design guidelines designed to protect against sea-level rise.

January 7, 2020

The City of Boston is projecting 40 inches of sea-level rise by 2070, putting vast new swaths of the city within the 100-year flood plain. To prepare, the Boston Planning and Development Agency has recommended adopting a zoning overlay and released a set of design guidelines for projects residing within that zone.

If the zoning overlay... Read more

News Brief

A California county has the first code to address both concrete performance and concrete’s carbon emissions.

January 7, 2020

In November, California’s Marin County adopted the world’s first building code that limits carbon emissions from concrete. (Concrete’s Portland cement content accounts for more than 6% of anthropogenic carbon emissions.) The code focuses on concrete performance, creating standards for composition that “maintains adequate strength and durability... Read more

Product Review

YORK YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller is the first chiller to be optimized for use with a low-GWP hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant.

January 7, 2020

Refrigerants are a unique problem in the green building world. Even the most energy-efficient chillers and heat pumps use them, and many of these refrigerants have global warming potential (GWP) more than a thousand times that of CO2. The “next generation” hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants are a good solution, but if they are dropped into... Read more