News

News Brief

In a major policy shift, the American Institute of Architects bans its members from designing places for execution, torture, and solitary confinement.

December 14, 2020

In its 2020 revision of its Code of Ethics, released on December 11, 2020, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) adopted two new rules: Rule 1.403 against the design of spaces intended for execution, and Rule 1.404 against the design of “spaces intended for torture, including indefinite or prolonged solitary confinement... Read more

News Brief

Touching on issues from jobsite health to climate change, the new commitment helps contractors pursue sustainability goals.

December 7, 2020

How does a general contractor track and measure its firm-wide sustainability? The Sustainable Construction Leaders group (a BuildingGreen-supported peer network) is trying to work that out. Its new initiative, the Contractor’s Commitment, provides a framework, and building contractors can soon sign on for the 2021 pilot.... Read more

News Brief

A new WorldGBC framework challenges those prioritizing health and wellness to think beyond the building occupant.

December 7, 2020

Improving “health and wellbeing” through the built environment has often been code for improving outcomes for just one type of person—the office worker. The emphasis on bettering health in order to boost productivity has left other areas “underdeveloped,” according to the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC). For a more... Read more

Feature Article

The Biden-Harris administration may be the most important ever relative to the environment.

December 7, 2020

With a new president and the first-ever woman vice president starting next month, we thought it would be an opportune time to weigh in on priorities for the next four years.

It has been a rough four years for the environment with the Trump administration. How can our nation get back on track in addressing some of the most pressing... Read more

News Brief

The United Nations has awarded Interface for climate action in light of its new product and its overall Climate Take Back commitment.

December 7, 2020

Tons and tons of carpet can go into a single building project—only to be ripped out and replaced a few years down the road. Carpet is almost always a fossil-fuel-based product and rarely gets reused or recycled. Its carbon footprint accumulates over the lifetime of a building as the carpeting is replaced multiple times.

... Read more

Webcast

December 1, 2020

With the introduction of LEED v4.1, it’s now possible to do an unlimited number of one-off credit substitutions. In this webcast, Tommy Linstroth of Green Badger gives you an essential playbook for deciding which construction-related credits to upgrade.

Moving through the system credit by credit, Tommy shows you step by step what’s... Read more

Product Review

Due to regulatory changes in Canada and certain U.S. states, manufacturers will be offering XPS with low global warming potential starting in 2021.

November 24, 2020

BuildingGreen’s 2010 article Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation caused quite a stir in the industry by positing that it can take decades to “pay back” the greenhouse gases contained in extruded polystyrene insulation. That’s because despite XPS’s excellent thermal performance, its primary blowing agent, HFC-134a... Read more

News Analysis

The NOMA/NAACP/SEED Awards for this year highlight projects with a social justice mission.

November 24, 2020

You know about LEED, but what about SEED?

Although Design Corps’ Social, Economic, and Environmental Design (SEED) program has been around for more than a decade, it’s less well known than other rating systems. But with the green building world gradually waking up to its equity challenges, SEED is starting to gain more traction and... Read more

News Analysis

USGBC will start integrating more equity elements into the LEED rating systems and beyond.

November 12, 2020

“A sustainable future is meaningless if it is not also an equitable future.”

That’s the bold statement made on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website to introduce a new 12-point strategy called “All In.” The idea is to close equity gaps in the LEED rating systems, which have traditionally... Read more

News Brief

Gender equity in the workplace may see backsliding due to COVID-19, despite strong employer support.

November 9, 2020

The U.S. has made strides toward attaining gender equality, but it may be a fragile achievement. Even in the green building community, cracks are starting to show.

The U.S. Green Building Council surveyed more than 500 people in the green building industry to gauge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the workplace. The... Read more

News Analysis

Understanding the source of your project’s power is essential as the industry moves toward electrification.

November 9, 2020

Josh Radoff contributed to this article.

The green building community is abuzz with the concept of decarbonization through electrification—the use of electric technologies instead of combustion-fueled technologies to supply the comforts of a modern building. But is it a good idea for your project? It... Read more

News Brief

Carbon-neutral concrete by 2050 is the industry’s new goal. But there are lots of hoops to jump through to make up for concrete’s basic chemistry.

November 9, 2020

The Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA) recently released a “carbon ambition statement” announcing that its 40 members aspire to deliver carbon-neutral concrete by 2050. A laudable goal, but given concrete’s chemistry, is it even possible?

One problem is the cement. The majority of cement’s... Read more

News Brief

RiskFootprint automates resilience risk assessment, covering sea-level rise, winds, flooding, wildfires, and more.

November 9, 2020

A comprehensive resilience assessment takes a lot of time and resources, requiring use of different tools and platforms to put together a full picture of the risks and their severity. Imagine if you could just type in an address and instantly receive a full resilience risk report for any property in the U.S.

... Read more

News Analysis

Regulators are updating Community Reinvestment Act protections, but will they do it without giveaways to banks?

November 9, 2020

Redlining may be coming back.

"The CRA is one of the most important tools we have in the community development field."

The practice of denying loans to people and businesses based on their neighborhood effectively became illegal in the U.S. in 1977 with passage of the... Read more

News Brief

SPIRE is a new program that assesses the performance of smart building technology.

November 9, 2020

As technology advances, more and more building systems are becoming automated. They self-monitor and send alarms and advice. They allow facility managers to control lighting, HVAC, and more, remotely through apps. Some can even learn from patterns. With all these new technologies, it’s easy to feel out of control and to... Read more

Feature Article

An all-electric commercial kitchen offers potential energy and carbon savings over using natural gas, but making the switch can be complicated—and even controversial.

November 9, 2020

Filled with large appliances, sinks, fans, ductwork, and hard surfaces, a commercial kitchen is not exactly the type of space that inspires high design. Kitchens are defined by function and food. It’s no wonder they have long been afterthoughts to design teams. But for those looking to reduce their buildings’ carbon footprints, kitchens have... Read more

News Analysis

Inspired by the 2030 Commitment, the Materials Pledge looks at products holistically, from carbon impacts to social justice.

November 6, 2020

What is a sustainable material? A big, complicated question, admits Lona Rerick, associate principal at ZGF architects. But the Architecture & Design Materials Pledge recently adopted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) starts to get at the answer, she said.

It’s time to stop playing... Read more

Webcast

November 4, 2020
“We can’t build sustainable buildings without sustainable products” –Nadav Malin.

If you don’t spend your “day-to-day” in the healthy materials space, it’s hard to create strategy and align your company to meet your customers' (what seems to be) ever-changing asks and project goals. This webinar is geared toward the building product... Read more

Webcast

October 30, 2020

Are you getting questions, advice, and dubious sales pitches from all comers about how to design and run an HVAC system to combat infectious disease? You’re not alone. Engineers, facility managers, architects, and other building professionals are all feeling immense pressure about COVID-19 right now—especially since the Centers for Disease... Read more

News Analysis

With equity on the minds of many in the green building community, some are looking to bias training—but it might not be as effective as you expect.

October 5, 2020

Implicit biases—the unconscious assumptions we make about people based on their gender, race, physical ability, and many other factors—don’t stay buried. They lead to adverse decisions and behavior that we don’t even recognize as sexist, racist, or ableist. Implicit bias is particularly dangerous in situations ripe for... Read more