News

News Analysis

Microgrids installed in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria kept power on in ten schools, but doubts about structural integrity stopped class anyway.

April 6, 2020

Ten microgrid systems installed in schools in Puerto Rico were put to the test recently after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake caused massive power outages. The systems survived and successfully powered critical loads in each school, according to Rocky Mountain Institute, which championed the installations along with Save the Children and the Kinesis... Read more

News Brief

Under a new EPA ruling, large commercial HVAC and refrigeration systems will no longer have to address high-GWP refrigerant leaks.

April 6, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rescinded the leak-repair provisions that were put in place in 2016 by the Obama administration as part of Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. Section 608 regulates the use of high-ozone-depletion-potential (ODP) refrigerants in HVAC and refrigeration equipment. The Obama administration amended... Read more

April Fools

Vinyl’s quality and long-term performance shouldn’t be underestimated.

April 1, 2020

Vinyl has a complicated history. It seems as though vinyl has been around forever, but it wasn’t until the ’60s and ’70s that its perceived warmth, quality, and affordability made it ubiquitous in U.S. homes. Vinyl often brought artistry and vibrancy to lives seemingly stuck in a 1950s black-and-white world. But like beads,... Read more

April Fools

Gwyneth Paltrow’s offering to the sustainability world rewards projects for venerating the “cradle of civilization.”

April 1, 2020

Citing an overlooked niche in the array of building certifications, actress and lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow announced the Goop Building Standard. Known also as GOOP, the new standard provides a framework for healthy living.

Although GOOP stands for Gyno-Ovarian Occupant Priorities, Paltrow denies... Read more

April Fools

The feds have announced the first projects completed under proposed new guidelines.

April 1, 2020

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has unveiled the first five projects completed under its new Classical Architecture Standards. Developed by GSA in response to an anticipated executive order from President Trump, these guidelines could eventually apply to all new federal buildings as well as major retrofits.... Read more

April Fools

Manufacturers claim non-English HPDs promote transparency, but critics cry foul.

April 1, 2020

Acme Resilient Flooring thought it had scored a home run with the release of a LEED v4.1-compliant Health Product Declaration (HPD) v2.1.1 for its tire-derived recycled rubber floor tiles. They hoped the HPD, written entirely in Hittite cuneiform, would not only drive international sales but also revive interest in ancient... Read more

April Fools

Clowns in tiny house communities are finding challenges, and solutions, in the age of social distancing.

April 1, 2020

In 2017, BuildingGreen reported on the community of clowns who had settled in a tiny house cohousing complex in Portland, Oregon. They quickly became indispensable members of the community, modeling humor, tolerance, acceptance, and the ability to optimize resource and energy efficiency by cramming seemingly impossible numbers of... Read more

April Fools

Stickers, cardboard cutouts, and a Revit plug-in aim to help project teams keep carbon in the forefront.

April 1, 2020

On the heels of the announcement that teen climate-change activist Greta Thunberg will have her own BBC television show, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is introducing Thunberg-related merchandise that will be required for achieving certain credits in the LEED rating systems. The so-called Greta Merch includes stickers... Read more

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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