News

News Brief

Four cities have committed to halving construction emissions by 2030, focusing on embodied carbon and zero-carbon equipment.

January 11, 2021

Is the world ready for electric backhoes? Mayors of four cities say they soon will be—and that they will go even further by halving the embodied carbon emissions of building and infrastructure projects not long after.

C40, a coalition of 97 megacities around the world, has rolled out a Clean... Read more

News Analysis

Buildings, streets, and other hard surfaces are at the root of many sustainability issues and associated inequities. The Smart Surfaces Coalition is looking to change that.

January 11, 2021

Asthma-inducing smog, heat-related deaths, persistent flooding that causes mold, high energy costs. We hear a lot about all these problems. Often missing from the conversation? The people who bear the biggest burdens typically live in low-income neighborhoods and other marginalized communities. Greg Kats, co-founder of the... Read more

Webcast

January 11, 2021

Every year for the past 19 years, BuildingGreen has selected ten green building products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. This year’s products address our most pressing challenge: reducing the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases. The winning products do so by sequestering carbon, conserving energy... Read more

News Brief

The Rocky Mountain Institute has received $10 million from the Bezos Earth Fund for its building and industry decarbonization efforts.

January 11, 2021

The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has received a $10 million grant from the new Bezos Earth Fund, which was founded with the goal of mitigating climate change.

Eighty percent of the funding will go toward RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings campaign. This initiative advocates for all-electric new... Read more

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

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

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

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 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

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

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 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