BuildingGreen Report

Primer

In the world of policy and regulation, the difference between consumptive and non-consumptive water use is like night and day.

October 10, 2022

As individuals and organizations, we all use water for drinking, washing, and flushing away waste. We install low-flow fixtures (sometimes by regulation) and fix leaks to save water—especially when we’re faced with drought conditions. LEED and other programs give us credit for using less.  

But not... Read more

News Brief

Some researchers are trying to debunk the conventional wisdom that transitioning to renewables will cost utilities more.

October 10, 2022

Far from costing more, investments in grid renewables should provide considerable savings for utilities globally, according to a new analysis published in the journal Joule.

“A rapid green energy transition will likely result in trillions of net savings,” according to the researchers, who add that “... Read more

Product Review

Daikin is speeding the transition to lower global warming potential with its Atmosphera ductless heat pumps, which use R32 refrigerants.

October 10, 2022

Air-source heat pumps are a great alternative to heating and cooling systems that run on fossil fuels. They offer the promise of significantly reducing the carbon footprint of our buildings and speeding our way to all-electric buildings. The challenge with these systems is that their primary refrigerant—R410a—has a global... Read more

News Brief

Environmental activists have stopped permitting of a large petrochemical plant in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” a rare win for the environment and local communities.

October 10, 2022

St. James Parish is home to 12 petrochemical plants that make PVC and a number of other plastics. Located in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” it is also the epicenter of fights over pollution, health, and social justice issues in the area’s historically black communities. When FG LA L.L.C., an affiliate of Taiwan-based Formosa... Read more

News Brief

The ‘Universal Building’ would be able to accommodate new uses as market needs shift, extending building life and minimizing waste.

October 10, 2022

Like your smartphone, our buildings are reaching obsolescence before the end of their useful lives.

Market needs change on a dime—sometimes faster than a building is constructed. And disruptions can reverse interest in certain building types, as was the case with commercial spaces during the pandemic. These shifts can result in... Read more

Spotlight Report

October 10, 2022

“There is no pathway to a zero-emissions building sector without zeroing out emissions from America’s 325 billion square feet of existing buildings,” according to 2018 AIA president Carl Elefante.

But making that transition will be a monumental task. Existing buildings are all over the place in terms of age, condition,... Read more

Feature Article

Deep energy retrofits and existing building electrification are critical to curbing carbon emissions. Here’s how to make the case and get it done.

October 10, 2022

A carbon-neutral city by 2030: that’s the goal of Ithaca, New York’s Green New Deal, adopted in June 2019. We’re not just talking about municipal operations or new building construction, though these are part of the resolution. No, this is about city-wide carbon neutrality, including the electrical grid and privately owned transportation and... Read more

Webcast

October 4, 2022
The new “Contractor’s Commitment to Sustainable Building Practices" calls on firms to practice green building on the jobsite and beyond. But what has really been accomplished during the program's inaugural year?

Launched as a pilot program for 2021, the guidelines set a sustainability benchmark and provide uniformity in reporting... Read more

News Brief

The Biden administration is going bigger on embodied carbon by committing to lower emissions from 98% of its construction material purchases. New standards will apply to all federally funded projects.

September 30, 2022

The U.S. government is vowing to buy lower-carbon construction materials—and to require projects using federal funds to do the same.

Details of the federal government’s so-called Buy Clean Initiative—a program that will require procurement of construction materials that have lower carbon footprints than standard products—are still under... Read more

News Brief

WorldGBC centers green buildings’ impacts on people by aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

September 13, 2022

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has organized a week of events, September 12 through 16, 2022, broadcasting the ways in which green building supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The campaign is branded under the hashtag #buildingforeveryone.

Local Green Building Councils are hosting events throughout... Read more

News Brief

By pursuing five circularity principles, project teams can add financial and non-financial value to buildings, says the UK Green Building Council.

September 6, 2022

Circular economy—a system that relies on regenerative activities instead of on extraction and disposal of finite resources—can help the built environment reduce its carbon footprint, according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). But there’s more: a new report from the group also ties circularity to other positive impacts, including... Read more

Feature Article

The tools for conducting a multi-hazard exposure analysis are available if you know where to look. 

September 6, 2022

Curious to learn more? Join Alex and Candace for a live webinar December 15.

The headlines are everywhere—from heat waves in Europe to wildfires in the Western U.S. to tidal flooding in Florida. In this age of climate change, just as there’s an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses, we also need to adapt and... Read more

News Brief

The Sustainable Development Code now offers guidance on how jurisdictions can address injustice in the built environment.

September 6, 2022

The Sustainable Development Code (SDC), which offers model ordinances for municipalities wishing to update development codes to be more sustainable, has added a subchapter on social justice. The subchapter, which is still being built out, was added to existing subchapters addressing social issues like affordability, food... Read more

News Analysis

With a Common Materials Framework soon to be released through Ecomedes, mindful Materials is mapping product labels to industry commitments.

September 6, 2022

Disclaimer: BuildingGreen is a technical advisory partner to mindful Materials.

Pledging to select building products that support human health is one thing. Figuring out how to do it is another.

Signatories to the A&D Materials Pledge, adopted by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in November 2020, have yet to commit... Read more

News Brief

With the SIGH Act, New York State is addressing unjust siting of schools near major roadways.

September 6, 2022

Air pollution near schools negatively affects students’ health and learning. That problem is being addressed in New York State with the SIGH Act (Schools Impacted by Gross Highways), which has passed the State Senate and Assembly, and is waiting to be signed by the governor.

The legislation prohibits... Read more

Spotlight Report

August 31, 2022

The headlines are everywhere—from heat waves in Europe to wildfires in the Western U.S. to tidal flooding in Florida.

In this age of climate change, just as there’s an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gasses, we also need to adapt and invest in resilience. Increasingly, owners are asking for risk... Read more

Webcast

August 11, 2022

How do you demonstrate both environmental and health performance in a meaningful way? 

USGBC and IWBI are increasing the alignment between their programs. Knowing how to leverage each in a mutually beneficial way is the key to driving successful integration of a dual certification approach. 

LEEDuser’s expert guests, ... Read more

News Analysis

Architects and engineers will be able to claim energy-efficiency tax deductions when working for tax-exempt clients.

August 10, 2022

The historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently signed into law is by far the U.S. government’s largest investment in climate change mitigation to date. Not surprisingly, given the outsized influence the building industry has on greenhouse gas emissions, many of the provisions address homes and commercial buildings. Here’s a partial rundown... Read more

News Brief

New data reveal the continued fallout of overt government racism from the 20th century.

August 8, 2022

It’s been decades since redlining—the federal government practice of refusing to guarantee loans in predominantly black neighborhoods—was outlawed in the U.S. But the impacts continue to ripple through formerly redlined neighborhoods, according to data released by LightBox, a geospatial data and software firm focused on the... Read more

News Brief

The code newly addresses thermal bridging, air leakage, and cool walls and also requires renewables for most projects.

August 8, 2022

Proposed changes to the ASHRAE 90.1 standard for 2022 could have a huge impact on building energy performance, according to Leonard Sciarra, AIA, of Farr Associates. “There’s a lot in version one that I feel is going to change the way that people design buildings,” said Sciarra, who chairs the building envelope subcommittee of... Read more