News

April Fools

With the rousing success of the WELL Building Standard, the Green Building Initiative has launched a competing standard that emphasizes occupant comfort, energy savings, and freedom.

April 1, 2019

There are a number of building standards claiming to improve occupant health and well-being. Costly, complicated certifications such as WELL, Fitwel, and others place an emphasis on promoting “wellness” at the expense of what Americans want most: comfort, convenience, and freedom. A new standard from the Green Building Initiative (GBI), which... Read more

April Fools

“Immersive” Lundhjem houses recently won the Lille Arne prize from the Danish Association of Architects.

April 1, 2019

Danish company Lundhjem has received the 2019 Lille Arne award from the Danish Association of Architects, which praised the trendy designs for their “seamless biophilia experience” and “uncompromising contact with nature.”

We reached rising star Aksel Lund, the architect behind Lundhjem, at his Copenhagen office to discuss the award.... Read more

News Analysis

Sidewalk Labs is validating strategies for carbon-neutral neighborhoods—and finding valuable lessons for any urban development in the process.

March 5, 2019

Mass-timber buildings with Passive House-level performance. All-electric energy systems with renewables and storage. Green stormwater infrastructure. Advanced occupant-engagement strategies.

The sustainability plan for Sidewalk Toronto’s Quayside development reads like a green urbanism wish list. It would be tempting to write the plan... Read more

Product Review

Hanging Gardens offers a “smart” blue-roof system that stores water on roofs, monitoring weather and local stormwater to more effectively manage runoff.

March 4, 2019

Building owners generally frown upon water pooling on a roof, but with careful detailing, roofs can be a good place to store excess rainwater. Storing water on roof makes sense in urban areas when there is little free space on the lot, or when putting it in the ground is expensive or inappropriate, such as on brownfield sites. These “blue roofs... Read more

News Brief

Though products are not yet on the market, a state commission has given the go-ahead for select foam insulation without flame retardants or fire testing.

March 4, 2019

WARNING – FIRE HAZARD.

That’s how plastic foam insulation will have to be marked following a decision by the State of California Building Standards Commission to allow flame-retardant-free products to be used below grade. The boards will also have to say, in ½-inch-high red lettering, “This product is required to be installed below a... Read more

Feature Article

Ready to expand your comfort zone? Handing control to occupants is the best way to ensure they’re satisfied.

March 4, 2019

This article builds on a 15-year-old BuildingGreen classic, originally written by Jessica Boehland and Nadav Malin. Our update includes exciting new work going on with thermal comfort in mixed-mode buildings. Quotes from 2019 interviews are marked as such.

The most common complaint facility managers hear from building occupants is that... Read more

News Brief

A new “field guide” to becoming a regenerative practitioner suggests starting with oneself.

March 4, 2019

Sustainable development involves minimal disruption of living things and natural systems, but regenerative development is different: it aims to enhance the ability of life to thrive. If this seems difficult, don’t despair: a new guide offers advice on how to become a “regenerative practitioner.” And it all starts with your inner life.

“... Read more

Op-Ed

In a year of devastating disasters, greenhouse gas emissions rose. Here’s what we can do about it.

February 4, 2019

By James S. Russell

We’ve just ended a year of fires that killed 85 in California, nearly destroying the town of Paradise, and hurricanes that took 53 lives in Florida and 43 in the Carolinas, leaving thousands of destroyed homes and billions of dollars of damage in their wake. The connection of these and other storms and droughts to... Read more

News Analysis

BD+C and ID+C projects can now register—and v4 projects can already substitute v4.1 versions of credits.

February 4, 2019

Even though LEED v4 launched more than five years ago, it’s still a “new” rating system to many users. That’s partly because the construction cycle is long, but it’s also due to the fact that registration under v4 wasn’t required until late 2016. But LEED v4 definitely isn’t new anymore: with the beta launch of LEED v4.1 for Building Design and... Read more

News Brief

After years of study and testing, the International Code Council will allow heavy timber buildings taller than 85 feet.

February 4, 2019

It’s about to get a lot easier to build high with mass timber.

It all started when the American Wood Council (AWC), a trade group promoting the use of wood in construction, approached the International Code Council (ICC) with a request: study tall wood construction. In particular, AWC wanted some scientific rigor brought to the issue... Read more

Op-Ed

The 4.1 version of LEED’s design and construction rating systems is outstanding. Is it too late?

February 4, 2019

As Malcolm Gladwell illustrates so well in his bestselling book Outliers, nothing great emerges fully formed. Just ask the inventor of WD-40 about his previous 39 formulations.

LEED 4.1 is such an achievement. The current working drafts of LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID... Read more

Product Review

Alpen is rolling out triple-pane products that are thinner and lighter—and will eventually be cheaper.

February 4, 2019

The good news about window performance is that the market has been transformed by the building industry moving to dual-pane, low-e, argon-filled glazing with performance around R-4, according to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). See Figure 1 in the slideshow.

The bad news is that since around 1990, the performance of the... Read more

Product Review

Mermet offers a fiberglass textile for interior rollershades that has good performance and material transparency.

February 4, 2019

In December’s issue, we covered new products that manufacturers released at Greenbuild, but we’ve saved another for this month—Mermet’s GreenScreen Nature sun-control textile. Manufactured by the company’s affiliate in France, Nature is available in roller shades from Draper, Hunter Douglas, and Lutron, and is part of Mermet’s GreenScreen line... Read more

Blog Post

The SDL Show-and-Tell session is where Greenbuild becomes more personal, more intimate, less business-to-business, and more community-centric.

January 24, 2019

The Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is the world’s largest conference and expo centered around sustainable design. Greenbuild is unparalleled in its robust educational and networking opportunities, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Over the past couple of years, I’ve especially enjoyed a special evening of respite, inspiration... Read more

News Brief

Formerly the domain of the operations and maintenance rating system, recertification is now achievable for new construction projects.

January 7, 2019

Design is just the beginning, but the plaque stays up forever. What happens next with LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) was formerly unknown—unless they pursued LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. But now it’s possible for BD+C and ID+C projects to recertify every... Read more

Feature Article

What’s up with all the programs encouraged by LEED and WELL? Learn the essentials—plus what’s behind the labels.

January 7, 2019

A seal of approval is a useful guide. It lets you know at a glance that a product meets a trusted source’s standards for performance. But in a sea of logos, any particular program becomes harder to discern and understand.

LEED and WELL encourage a number of different product standards, certifications, and disclosures—so many that it’s... Read more

Product Review

The Greenbuild Expo floor had a great selection of innovative new green building products, from green-roof stormwater systems to thin triple-pane windows to rice-straw boards.

January 7, 2019

Every year, we spend hours walking through the Greenbuild Expo hall looking for exciting innovations and products that could potentially transform the building industry. This year’s selection did not disappoint, and included thermally broken cladding systems, high-performance roof insulation, turnkey HVAC water-recycling systems, new glazing,... Read more

News Brief

What began as a group of those pursuing the Living Product Challenge is now a wider platform for community and communication.

January 7, 2019

It might seem like manufacturers and their representatives are constantly talking to the design community. But the message isn’t exactly unified; in fact, companies are competing for time, attention, and dollars. Is there a way for manufacturers to get together as a group and have productive, two-way conversations with building professionals... Read more

News Brief

Two-thirds of green certifications and regulations address carbon emissions from building materials—a number that has doubled over the past five years.

January 7, 2019

The built environment is a major contributor to climate change, and the source of many cost-effective solutions. After operating energy use, embodied carbon in buildings and infrastructure looms large as an important challenge. As BuildingGreen’s recent Spotlight Report The Urgency of Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do about It explains, this... Read more

Op-Ed

A reader argues that a flawed study mars the message of a recent BuildingGreen report on embodied carbon.

January 7, 2019

By Dave Atkins and Sarah Larsen

Paula Melton’s article on The Urgency of Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do About It couldn’t be more timely given the recent Fourth National Climate Assessment and the latest from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Embodied carbon is spent immediately, while operational carbon is spread out... Read more