News

April Fools

A subterranean portion of the structure will host thousands of workers.

April 1, 2021

Renderings of Amazon’s forthcoming Arlington, Virginia headquarters wowed the world with a swirling centerpiece dubbed “the Helix.” Sustainability features include access to copious daylight, indoor gardens that double as flexible workspaces, and an awe-inspiring tree-lined ramp—open to the public, like the rest of the grounds—that promotes... Read more

April Fools

COVID has upended our lives, homes, and offices. It’s time to fight back with HAMMER brand biocidal antifungal nonviral germicidal disinfectant antimicrobial therapeutic (BANGDAT) sprays, coatings, and composites.

April 1, 2021

As people struggle to return to the office due to concerns over COVID-19, design teams and building owners are looking for solutions to keep occupants safe and healthy. You can never be too careful, so while cleaning protocols, vaccines, and herd immunity may help provide partial protection against our current pandemic, how do you sanitize... Read more

April Fools

The threshold for demonstrating habitability during power outages just got a lot easier for office buildings in the post-pandemic era.

April 1, 2021

Passive survivability—the idea that buildings should be designed to ensure safe thermal conditions during extended power outages—is about to get a whole lot easier, according to Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA. And all the credit goes to the ongoing pandemic, which proved that the best way to survive might be to avoid the building entirely.... Read more

Blog Post

MEP engineering firms and others are encouraging MEP equipment manufacturers to report on the embodied carbon of their products.

March 22, 2021

MEP systems contribute to both the initial construction and lifetime embodied carbon footprint of an example office building. This MEP footprint begins at construction and grows over time is due to operations, refrigerant leakage, and replacement.

The Sustainable MEP Leaders group, organized by BuildingGreen, is a group of motivated... Read more

News Analysis

The latest version of the Cradle to Cradle product standard also expands embodied carbon requirements and replaces the controversial “banned list” with a new approach.

March 17, 2021

The Cradle to Cradle (C2C) product standard just got much more stringent. So stringent, in fact, that the lowest level of the new version 4 (Bronze) “in many categories is better than v3 Silver,” said Matteo Kausch, Ph.D., director of technical development at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute (C2CPII). Here’s a look at what’s... Read more

News Brief

Every major end use for fossil fuels in buildings is ready to be electrified, according to a report from the New Buildings Institute.

March 1, 2021

Building electrification is a great idea to promote decarbonization, but is the industry ready for it? The Building Electrification Technology Roadmap from the New Buildings Institute (NBI) suggests the answer is yes.

The report examines the status of 38 different technologies for residential,... Read more

News Brief

The Carbon Leadership Forum has published a whole library on embodied carbon—and it’s crowdsourcing more resources every day.

March 1, 2021

Net-zero energy. Not so long ago, full-scale adoption of energy efficiency and onsite renewables was the dream of the green building community. But as climate change worsens, the focus has gradually turned to carbon rather than energy.

A shift has also occurred in what kinds of emissions we need to... Read more

News Brief

Des Moines, Iowa, joins Google in aiming for 24/7 carbon-free electricity—a target that necessitates managing energy loads in buildings.

March 1, 2021

Denton, Texas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Reading, Pennsylvania—nearly 210 cities have pledged or have already achieved 100% clean electricity or net-zero emissions, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And then there’s Des Moines, Iowa, which recently pledged to achieve 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2035—a... Read more

Product Review

Schneider’s Square D Energy Center can connect photovoltaics, energy storage, electric vehicle charging, and “smart” meters and appliances.

March 1, 2021

With COVID-19 protocols shutting down many offices, our homes have now become our workplaces. This shift in energy consumption to the home is an opportunity to upgrade these spaces to make them as efficient as possible and to incorporate technologies that will reduce our carbon output, such as renewable energy, battery storage, “smart”... Read more

News Brief

Seven new “proving grounds” will test the effectiveness of new energy-efficiency and grid-harmonization strategies.

March 1, 2021

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is partnering with seven state and local governments to create “proving grounds” designed to test advanced building technologies. Many of the technologies enhance “grid harmonization,” using strategies that are responsive to the grid’s supply in order to reduce energy costs while also keeping the grid cleaner... Read more

News Analysis

Many are struggling to hit 2030 Commitment targets and embodied carbon goals. We picked the brains of three architecture firms that are in the thick of it—and progressing.

March 1, 2021

The largest design firm in the world made a bit of a splash in 2020 with its Gensler Cities Climate Challenge (GC3 for short). “Within a decade, we will eliminate all net emissions associated with our work,” the GC3 boldly states. The commitment explicitly includes both operating carbon (greenhouse gas emissions associated... Read more

Blog Post

BuildingGreen’s editors look back on three decades of a movement

February 25, 2021

It has been quite a wild ride! As The BuildingGreen Report (formerly Environmental Building News) celebrates its 30th year of publication, we decided to track the growth—and explosion—of the green building movement. We start in 1990 with the founding of AIA’s Committee on the Environment.

Our Editors’ Picks

To celebrate Volume... Read more

Blog Post

Design and construction companies are urging the Biden Administration to build back greener.

February 19, 2021

February 22, 2021 – President Biden has made a commitment to “Build Back Better” in the wake of COVID-19, the economic crisis, social upheaval, and regulatory rollbacks by the former administration. A growing group of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms is calling on Biden to also build back greener. He can... Read more

Product Review

Blue Planet turns industrial CO2 into aggregate, cost-effectively sequestering carbon while producing a viable commodity.

February 8, 2021

Reducing the amount of carbon that enters our atmosphere is one of the world’s greatest challenges, and two of the building industry’s primary materials—steel and cement—are responsible for a significant portion of those emissions. These industries burn fossil fuels for manufacturing, which can in some cases be replaced by renewable energy, but... Read more

News Brief

“Ready to Respond” helps affordable housing organizations set up an emergency business continuity plan to aid leadership, staff, and residents.

February 8, 2021

When disaster strikes, affordable housing organizations have unique resilience problems to address—like ensuring their often-vulnerable residents remain continuously housed. “Ready to Respond” (R2R) is a staffing toolkit designed to help affordable housing organizations anticipate and smoothly respond to climate risks and... Read more

Feature Article

Resilience is finding its place in city zoning and building codes. Here are some ideas to bring to your local government.

February 8, 2021

For decades, designers have fought for sustainability to be incorporated into building codes and standards. Is it time to do the same for resilience?

Building energy codes have been adopted by the great majority of states in the U.S. As a result, consumers save around $5 billion annually, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But... Read more

Primer

Concrete is a durable and necessary building material, but its carbon footprint is huge. Here’s a rundown of concrete’s tradeoffs and some solutions.

February 8, 2021

Concrete is a popular building material for good reason. It’s strong and durable, and it can be used as a finish as well as a structural material, reducing the need for other products.

But there’s a big drawback to concrete: its carbon footprint. Or, to be more precise, the carbon footprint of the... Read more

News Brief

Just before leaving office, Trump signed the most important climate legislation in a decade.

January 25, 2021

The last four years have been a disaster for the U.S. environment, with the Trump administration rolling back vital environmental protections and promoting fossil fuel industries that have no viable business future. 

Yet tucked into the sprawling COVID-19 relief bill that was signed by President Trump on December 27, 2020, is... Read more

News Analysis

We spoke with Ed Mazria about everything from the 1970s energy crisis to the current climate crisis—and heard a message of hope.

January 25, 2021

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) gives out the Gold Medal each year, typically to acknowledge a body of influential architectural work. This year was a little different, stretching the boundaries of what the Gold Medal is all about. Ed Mazria, FAIA, received the award for 2021—not mainly for his work in practice, but... Read more

Infographic

January 12, 2021

It has been quite a wild ride! As The BuildingGreen Report (formerly Environmental Building News, or “EBN”) celebrates its 30th year of publication, we decided to track the growth—and explosion—of the green building movement. We start in 1990 with the founding of AIA’s Committee on the Environment.

There is so much more that we could... Read more