News

Feature Article

Mass timber seems alluring because of its low carbon footprint, but not all wood is equally sustainable. We dig deep into the controversy over which types of timber are “climate smart.”

September 8, 2020

When Michigan State University started planning its new STEM building, the design team was considering a typical concrete or steel structure. That was before Richard Kobe, Ph.D., heard about the project. Kobe, who heads up the university’s Department of Forestry, advocated for a mass timber structure instead.

After a field trip to a... Read more

Product Review

Electric hand dryers have a lower carbon footprint and save resources compared to paper towels, but COVID-19 has changed how we view these products.

September 8, 2020

Washing hands properly is one of the primary ways of controlling the spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Drying hands properly is also important, as wet hands are more likely to provide an avenue for spreading pathogens. Yet even this seemingly simple act has reignited a contentious issue: what is the best way to dry your... Read more

News Brief

The All for Reuse initiative is currently seeking signatories.

September 8, 2020

At least 11% of total carbon emissions worldwide come from building construction, most of which is embodied in the materials used to complete projects. A new initiative, All For Reuse, calls upon building professionals to embrace material reuse options to help mitigate our global climate crisis.

“We’ll unlock a whole economy that can... Read more

News Analysis

Good indoor air quality will help if SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, and tried-and-true measures can get us there.

September 8, 2020

In July 2020, 239 scientists urged the medical community and public-health authorities to acknowledge the potential for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and promote additional precautionary measures like increasing ventilation in indoor, enclosed environments. By implication, they suggested that HVAC systems... Read more

Blog Post

Educational building tours help us learn new strategies—but what if you can’t go in person?

August 27, 2020

Building tours: they’ve been a vital educational component of green building from day one. But now COVID-19 has made them unsafe. Thanks to the Sustainability Leader Peer Networks we help convene, we’ve compiled a list of online tours and other videos that you can view from the safety of home.

This is... Read more

Op-Ed

Manufacturers have a unique role in sustainable building and LEED—and they don’t need to leave profits behind.

August 14, 2020

Words may inspire, but it’s action that creates change.

             –Simon Sinek

Building owners, architects, and others on the value chain have many opportunities to make headway into sustainable building, but there are also unique steps that manufacturers can take to help improve and promote products while also working... Read more

Webcast

August 14, 2020

Returning to work: for many, it’s unthinkable without some kind of reassurance that leadership and the facilities team have taken all possible precautions. Lots of organizations are weighing in on what we should pay attention to, but how do we know if it’s working?

The free Re-entry program from Arc is a tracking and measurement program... Read more

News Brief

Despite years of preparation, some states are putting off implementation of planned energy codes.

August 3, 2020

At least four states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington—have delayed the effective dates of new energy codes due to process disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was no pattern to be found among those that have delayed, according to Eric Lacey of the Responsible Energy... Read more

Product Review

RAB’s Lightcloud Outlet enables wireless monitoring and control of plug loads while allowing for demand response and other energy-saving scheduling.

August 3, 2020

Computers, monitors, printers, and other office equipment typically continue to consume energy even after the office or school closes. Offices now on standby due to the pandemic are not immune from this waste. These plug and process loads (PPL) can account for more than 30% of a commercial building’s electricity consumption—and even more in... Read more

News Brief

More than 150 U.S architecture firms have signed on to fight a triple threat: climate, biodiversity, and justice emergencies.

August 3, 2020

A movement started in the United Kingdom called Architects Declare is now spreading globally and has picked up steam in the U.S. In addition to biodiversity and climate, the U.S. chapter has added justice to the list of issues it’s declaring as emergencies and hoping to address.

Architecture firms are... Read more

Op-Ed

Enhanced readability and new features have improved our product guides, but they still offer the deep knowledge you need.

August 3, 2020

Ever heard of a sugar-on-snow supper? Before the pandemic took hold, that’s the way churches, fire departments, and grange halls here in Vermont would advertise their late winter fundraising dinners—by enticing people with these old-time maple-syrup-on-snow sweets. These clever promoters knew that, even though the wholesome... Read more

News Analysis

With the conversation on race and justice coming to the forefront, it’s worth thinking through how architecture can contribute to change.

August 3, 2020

The first time I visited a prison, as I was walking out of the last of many claustrophobia-inducing checkpoints, I watched a monarch butterfly glide through the razor-wire fencing to the outside. It hit me hard that none of the incarcerated people inside would be slipping out so easily. The harsh design of the facility also... Read more

Blog Post

Innovative technologies and practices can incite fear of unknown risks. But are those fears grounded in reality?

July 8, 2020

Editor’s Note: Guest blogger Nicole DeNamur owns Sustainable Strategies, a consulting firm that helps companies manage sustainable innovation by applying a legal and risk-management lens to innovative projects. Prior to launching Sustainable Strategies, Nicole practiced construction and insurance coverage law in Seattle for more than a decade.... Read more

News Brief

Electric outlets must be placed by parking spaces and combustion-based appliances to allow for easy conversions.

July 8, 2020

Final results for the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code were recently released and will be published for cities and towns to adopt this fall.

The updated code is estimated to improve efficiency in both residential and commercial buildings by at least 10%, according to the New Buildings Institute. For commercial buildings,... Read more

News Brief

From dilution to humidity control, ASHRAE offers guidance on how to reduce the spread of aerosolized pathogens in buildings.

July 8, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHRAE has released a position paper on managing the risk of spreading infectious disease pathogens through HVAC systems. The organization recommends a number of strategies, ranked by evidence level, including these “A-level” actions:

Consider designs that “promote cleaner airflow... Read more

News Analysis

Private consultants, along with LEED, WELL, and AIA are all offering strategies for re-occupying buildings without unduly compromising occupant health.

July 7, 2020

Wary of returning to your usual workplace? You’re not alone. Zoom might be a strain, and the home office might not provide the work–life balance you need, but to many the alternative seems scary—even unthinkable. It would be crazy for people to return to offices and other workplaces without some kind of reassurance that the... Read more

News Brief

A group of structural engineers has released a plan to eliminate the embodied carbon of concrete, steel, and wood within 30 years.

July 7, 2020

The building industry could achieve net-zero embodied carbon of structural materials by 2050, according to a working group of the Structural Engineering Institute. Through the use of carbon sequestration, this is possible even without purchasing carbon offsets, claims a white paper on the group’s findings.

... Read more

News Brief

Significant challenges prevent the great majority of existing NYC multifamily buildings from being electrified, but these 480 buildings are prime candidates.

July 7, 2020

While some small buildings have taken to electrification retrofits, large multifamily buildings have been a harder nut to crack. Seeing “virtually no progress in this sector” in New York City, the Urban Green Council studied the reasons why and released a report detailing the existing multifamily building type that could... Read more

News Brief

Stimulating the building industry is crucial to getting out of a recession, but let’s do it right, says the Canada Green Building Council.

July 7, 2020

Almost half the households in Canada have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, catalyzing a severe recession that will be hard to get out of. Typically, infrastructure and building projects create vital jobs that aid recovery, but the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is calling on the Canadian federal government to... Read more

Feature Article

Lots of manufacturers call their products “green,” but are they? Here's our guide to the high-performance attributes that matter.

July 7, 2020

When BuildingGreen started publication in 1992, simply finding building products designed with environmental benefits in mind was a big challenge. We responded to that challenge in the late 1990s by developing GreenSpec, a guide to the industry’s top green building products. In the years since, we’ve seen rapid advances in green building... Read more