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Architects can use their positions to counter injustice in the built environment. An Equitable Communities Resource from AIA shows how.
Impact, agency, and power. These are the focus of a new publication from The American Institute of Architects (AIA): Architects’ Role in Creating Equitable Communities. Through ten focus groups with 67 designers and architects, the authors gathered insights, tools, and strategies for advancing design justice and equity in... Read more
Most utility rate structures don’t encourage battery back-up systems. Here’s what needs to change.
There’s one surprisingly tricky piece of equipment that often stands in the way of fully electrifying a commercial building: the back-up generator. Batteries for back-up power are available, but the upfront cost differential is difficult to overcome.
"In addition to reducing demand, batteries can also act as... Read more
The International Living Future Institute’s Declare database has added two filters to help find products that meet Enterprise Green Communities criteria.
The Declare website from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has made it easier to find products that meet criteria for Enterprise Green Communities—a green building certification program for affordable housing. Under the pulldown menu “Alignment,” there are two new options: “Enterprise Green Communities – Meets... Read more
Imported European wood insulation has been available for years, but high costs, limited availability, and code challenges have kept it from going mainstream. U.S.-made TimberHP is out to change that.
GO Lab, manufacturer of TimberHP wood insulation, is providing a new insulation to the U.S. market—while bolstering rural Maine’s economy at the same time. The closing of Madison, Maine’s paper mill resulted in the loss of more than 200 good-paying jobs and seemingly doomed the facility and the rural community to a bleak future. The paper mill... Read more
We need a lot more collaboration and a totally new theory of change—and we need it now.
If I were being dramatic, I’d say that the green building movement is dead.
That, of course, would not be technically true, as there are so many amazing projects and wonderful people working hard to make a positive difference in the world through changes in the built environment. But taken in the context of the rate of climate change... Read more
In a chat with podcaster Louis Virtel, Fonda discussed her early forays into green building, her civil disobedience in D.C., and her new climate PAC.
A partial standing ovation greeted Jane Fonda. By the time she was done, she got the real deal.
The actor and activist took the stage at Greenbuild in San Francisco this morning to offer encouragement and to press the building industry to advance a just transition away from fossil fuels. Her focus on equitable treatment for building... Read more
Peter Templeton will keep the reins at USGBC. We talked to him about equity, ESG, and a brand new framework in the works for existing building portfolios.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its sister nonprofit Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) have announced that Peter Templeton, who came on as interim president and CEO just over a year ago, will stay in these positions. Templeton told BuildingGreen in an interview that he hopes to... Read more
Deep energy retrofits and existing building electrification are critical to curbing carbon emissions. Here’s how to make the case and get it done.
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
In the world of policy and regulation, the difference between consumptive and non-consumptive water use is like night and day.
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
Daikin is speeding the transition to lower global warming potential with its Atmosphera ductless heat pumps, which use R32 refrigerants.
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
Environmental activists have stopped permitting of a large petrochemical plant in Louisiana’s “cancer alley,” a rare win for the environment and local communities.
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
The ‘Universal Building’ would be able to accommodate new uses as market needs shift, extending building life and minimizing waste.
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
“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
Some researchers are trying to debunk the conventional wisdom that transitioning to renewables will cost utilities more.
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
Launched as a pilot program for 2021, the guidelines set a sustainability benchmark and provide uniformity in reporting... Read more
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.
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
WorldGBC centers green buildings’ impacts on people by aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
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
By pursuing five circularity principles, project teams can add financial and non-financial value to buildings, says the UK Green Building Council.
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
The Sustainable Development Code now offers guidance on how jurisdictions can address injustice in the built environment.
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
With a Common Materials Framework soon to be released through Ecomedes, mindful Materials is mapping product labels to industry commitments.
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