News

News Brief

New buildings with net-zero-carbon operations will provide a 1% return over 25 years, says a new study.

June 3, 2019

Decarbonization of the building sector is vital to countries striving to dramatically cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. But might there be less altruistic reasons to pursue net-zero carbon? A recent study, Making the Case for Building to Zero Carbon, says yes.

Commissioned by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and... Read more

News Analysis

Several organizations have already committed to piloting the new program, which aims to streamline documentation and auditing.

June 3, 2019

When you think of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), what image pops into your head? A nature center, perhaps, or the headquarters of an environmental nonprofit? Probably not a bus station—but that could change in the near future.

The new volume program offered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)—a way of certifying... Read more

Op-Ed

The A&D community’s “ask” for ingredient reporting continues to move entire industries toward healthier products, especially now with the Supplier HPD.

June 3, 2019

By Wendy Vittori

“Ask for transparency.” Over the past decade, the material health and transparency movement has demonstrated that ingredient suppliers, product manufacturers, architects, designers, contractors, and owners can work together to make ingredient transparency the norm in the building industry.

The market speaks

It... Read more

News Brief

Electrifying homes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions 90% by 2050.

June 3, 2019

Switching California homes from natural gas to electricity for space heating, water heating, and clothes drying is a cost-effective way to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new study conducted by Energy and Environmental Economics (E3). Natural gas—accounting for both burning and leakage—is currently responsible... Read more

Webcast

May 24, 2019

In this on-demand webcast on the sustainability of wood construction, we tap the expertise of leaders in the field and look into three main issues:

The importance of certification The complex issue of embodied carbon Wood legality: a new LEED pilot credit Speakers: Corey Brinkema of the Forest Stewardship Council; Kate Simonen, AIA, S... Read more

News Brief

A product-demand forecasting model for Metro Vancouver uses British Columbia’s Energy Step Code to predict future demand that suppliers can bank on.

May 6, 2019

If you’re selling run-of-the-mill double-pane windows in the Greater Vancouver market in Canada, it’s time to start retooling your production lines, according to a new study by the Vancouver Economic Commission. Demand for those windows will drop by 2022 and vanish by 2027, according to the study, which tracks the implementation dates for... Read more

Product Review

With the PVDF coating Fluropon Pure, “fluorinated” does not necessarily mean persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic, but it does have a complicated environmental profile.

May 6, 2019

Metal coatings have a difficult job. When used on building exteriors, such as for cladding, they have to last decades, protecting the metal against oxidation. They also have to resist damage from abrasion, temperature extremes, dirt, acidic urban conditions, moisture, and ultraviolet light—all while maintaining color and gloss. Combining all... Read more

News Brief

Environmental groups including the Forest Stewardship Council have gotten together to support better forestry practices.

May 6, 2019

Mass timber construction is gaining ground in North America, with the frequent justification that it reduces embodied carbon (the upfront greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacture and transportation of materials) when compared with concrete or steel. But not all wood products are created equal when it comes to carbon emissions,... Read more

Feature Article

Colleges and universities are increasingly turning to Passive House for its energy, carbon, and comfort benefits. But getting the details right isn’t easy.

May 6, 2019

Passive House has graduated—and it’s going off to college.

Created in the early 1990s, Passive House started out as a standard for certifying single-family homes. It had three core requirements having to do with modeled heating and cooling demands, modeled total energy demand, and actual airtightness verified by a blower-door test. The... Read more

News Brief

The latest version of LBC adds flexibility to materials and water requirements, while Core meets a separate market need.

May 2, 2019

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has announced updates to its stringent Living Building Challenge (LBC) standard as well as the rollout of a new, related certification called Core. With Core, ILFI moves into the previously taboo realm of rewarding relative improvements (as opposed to absolute achievements, like net-positive... Read more

News Analysis

The 2019 winners of AIA’s COTE Top Ten are all about education and connection to place.

April 22, 2019

There is a bittersweet irony in celebrating a sustainable design award for the renovation of a major cathedral a mere week after Notre-Dame de Paris was devastated by a fire that was started, according to initial reports, by renovation activities.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City sees about... Read more

News Brief

An ambitious new law makes progress towards NYC’s goal of 80% carbon reduction by 2050 by setting aggressive carbon emission limits for nearly all NYC buildings over 25,000 square feet.

April 19, 2019

The limits are aggressive—no one argues with that. A sweeping new law—the most ambitious in the world for any large city—forces owners of almost every large building in New York City to drastically limit carbon emissions or pay an annual fine, starting in 2024, of $268 per metric ton of CO2 over the limit. The buildings covered by the law will... Read more

News Brief

Engineering firm Petinelli has scored LEED Zero Energy certification with its headquarters in Curitiba, Brazil.

April 2, 2019

Platinum used to be the ultimate LEED rating. Not anymore. A new program, LEED Zero, asks project teams to show a year’s worth of data proving zero impact in at least one of four categories: energy, carbon, water, or waste.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has now awarded its first LEED Zero certification, for net-zero energy, to... Read more

Op-Ed

Achieving the goals of the Green New Deal will be tremendously challenging—but not impossible.

April 2, 2019

A lot is being said about the Green New Deal—a broad and intentionally vague vision laid out by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey. This proposal for transitioning the United States to a carbon-neutral economy in ten years has already been a huge success: by spurring a lively discussion about... Read more

News Brief

The Healthy Building Network has released an extensive study detailing Asia’s chlorine production used to make PVC and other plastics.

April 2, 2019

PVC from China is some of the worst in the world, but it’s being imported into the U.S. at astounding rates. This and other interesting facts are covered in depth in a new study from the Healthy Building Network (HBN).

Chlorine is one of the most common industrial chemicals and is one of the key ingredients used to manufacture PVC,... Read more

News Analysis

A deeper look at California’s decision to allow flame-retardant-free foam under concrete slabs

April 2, 2019

It will be a great day for health advocates, who’ve been fighting for years to eliminate toxic flame retardants from insulation: on January 1, 2020, California will begin allowing flame-retardant-free foam insulation below grade. And the recommendations that were ultimately accepted by the California Building Standards Commission came from an... Read more

News Brief

Timber Traceability is one group’s answer to the controversial Legal Wood pilot path.

April 2, 2019

Who’s in favor of legally sourced wood?

If you’re raising your hand, you’re not alone: illegal logging is a global scourge that destroys ecosystems and contributes to climate change. It’s carried out by organized crime, and is used to fund civil wars and terrorism. And by some estimates, as much as half the timber in the world is... Read more

Product Review

Foam glass aggregate made from post-consumer recycled glass bottles can replace both foam insulation and aggregate below grade.

April 2, 2019

Extruded polystyrene’s (XPS) high R-value and water resistance have made it the default insulation for below-grade applications, but its petroleum-based styrene chemistry, inherent flammability, and high-global-warming-potential (GWP) blowing agents make these board products less than desirable environmental choices. And although high-density... Read more

April Fools

LEED v4.20 introduces a wide range of cannabis-oriented prerequisites

April 1, 2019

Responding to marijuana legalization in Canada and multiple U.S. states, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced numerous changes to ensure the LEED standard stays current with changing demographics among cannabis users.

“LEED is constantly evolving, and we are proud to remain ahead of the curve on this major shift in... Read more

April Fools

How the highest-profile event in sustainable design went terribly, terribly wrong

April 1, 2019

It started with a kombucha-fueled bacchanal on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. It ended in a prison cell.

The Green Building unFestival was billed as a more exclusive and more entertainment-centered version of the unConference sponsored annually by the International Living Future Institute. ILFI is one of many entities now... Read more