News

Blog Post

Learn how to find products for LEED and WELL projects in this webinar.

June 18, 2018

Are you struggling to find products for your LEED or WELL project? We’ve been there, and we know how to help.

In this hour-long free webinar, BuildingGreen's Nadav Malin and our partner Anne Hicks Harney of Long Green Specs share their tips finding green, healthy products that meet the requirements for LEED and WELL.

If you want... Read more

Feature Short

A housing project that replaced one damaged by Hurricane Katrina was designed high enough to withstand a flood last year.

June 5, 2018

Alphonse Ponson was only 11 years old when Hurricane Katrina darkened the skies and lashed Tremé, his New Orleans neighborhood. At the time, he lived with his mother in the Lafitte public housing project—896 units in three-story brown brick buildings.

Ponson watched from the family’s second floor window as the muddy stormwaters filled... Read more

News Brief

Powerhouse buildings are designed to offset their full life-cycle energy costs.

June 5, 2018

The Powerhouse Drøbak Montessori secondary school in Norway, equipped with solar panels and a ground source heat pump, will produce more energy over its lifetime (close to 30,500 kWh a year) than the total amount of energy that will ultimately be used for its construction, operation, and demolition.

The school, which serves 60 students... Read more

News Brief

Thoughtful analysis and spending across the portfolio can result in bigger savings, says the Rocky Mountain Institute.

June 5, 2018

Retrofitting buildings for energy savings can save money in the long run, but deciding when and how to invest can be tricky—especially if you own multiple buildings. A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) offers advice on optimizing and prioritizing energy retrofits across the whole building portfolio to achieve maximum returns.... Read more

Product Review

Dow, Owens Corning, and Kingspan have joined the EPS industry in eliminating the hazardous halogenated flame retardant HBCD from their XPS insulations.

June 5, 2018

Dow Styrofoam, Owens Corning Foamular, and Kingspan GreenGuard insulations no longer contain the flame retardant HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane)—a persistent, bioaccumulative toxic chemical (PBT). With these changes, HBCD is no longer being used in either extruded (XPS) or expanded (EPS) polystyrene insulation.

HBCD was the primary flame... Read more

Feature Short

A manual on building disaster-resistant homes will be published in 2019.

June 5, 2018

As the 2018 hurricane season begins, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. and the Asociación de Constructores de Puerto Rico are spearheading a collaborative effort to write Keep Safe: Strategies for Puerto Rico Housing Resilience, a manual for building to withstand future natural disasters. Other key partners include the University of Puerto... Read more

News Brief

Recent studies explore whether school buildings designed for high performance help students learn to think and act sustainably.

June 5, 2018

Previous research has shown that schools designed with sustainability features provide an environment conducive to learning, and support student health and performance. And many such schools include programs to teach students about nature and ecology.

But can students learn from these buildings, instead of just in them? Can school... Read more

Feature Article

At the biggest medical complex in the world, hard-won lessons learned from Tropical Storm Allison kept Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters at bay.

June 5, 2018

Just after midnight, the skies opened.

Hour after hour, for three hours, a relentless deluge hammered Houston’s Texas Medical Center (TMC), causing nearly $2 billion in damage. Hundreds of patients had to be evacuated.

No, we’re not talking about Hurricane Harvey.

It was nearly 16 years earlier, in June 2001, when... Read more

News Brief

Specially designed fitness equipment generates electricity.

June 5, 2018

Imagine going to a gym where you not only burn calories but also generate power—just by working out. That’s the case at Sacramento Eco Fitness, in Sacramento, California, where cycling classes generate electricity that helps power the building.

The fitness center has installed Eco-Powr stationary bikes manufactured by SportsArt, which... Read more

Blog Post

Air-to-air heat pumps are getting more popular as a primary heat source in colder climates. Here’s how to get the most from your system.

June 1, 2018

[Editor's Note: This guest post comes to us courtesy of Peter Talmage, P.E., an energy and design consultant and an instructor in the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency program at Greenfield Community College. Originally published April 4, 2013.]

I have heated my various homes with wood since 1975. It was always a love/hate... Read more

Blog Post

Spray-polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation, growing in popularity, is under scrutiny from EPA. What's a homeowner or builder to do?

June 1, 2018

Originally published May 16, 2011. Updated by Paula Melton June 1, 2018.

A friend of mine used to be a long-haul truck driver. At one point he even became a trainer working with new drivers.

Over dinner recently, I asked what was one key lesson that he would want to impart to any new driver. While he was thinking about it,... Read more

Blog Post

Most leading energy experts today recommend installing a lot more insulation than is common practice. This wall for a Passive House in Seattle will hold about a foot of insulation.

June 1, 2018

Originally published February 28, 2012

I'm often asked the question, "How much insulation should I install in my house"? It's a great question. Let me offer some recommendations:

First of all...it depends. It depends to a significant extent on where you live. And it depends on whether we're talking about a new house or... Read more

Blog Post

Reducing your building’s carbon footprint or health impacts? Going after new LEED credits? Transparency documents for steel studs can help.

May 22, 2018

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Anne Hicks Harney, of Long Green Specs, is our partner in providing product vetting services. Harney offers guidance on writing green specs and on finding products for LEED v4, WELL, and beyond. This is the first post in a series focusing on transparency documents for specific product categories.... Read more

Webcast

May 15, 2018

 

Are your clients asking you about wellness? You’re not alone. Employee health and wellbeing has been called the ‘second wave of sustainability.’ In this hour-long webinar, GreenStep Education’s Alex Spilger will walk you through Fitwel certification, including its requirements, lessons learned from Fitwel projects, and how Fitwel... Read more

News Brief

Supporters hope a new law will increase tall wood construction in the state.

May 8, 2018

When most people look at cross-laminated timber (CLT), they see blocks of wood glued together. Rural communities in the state of Washington see something else: jobs.

That’s a big reason why the state recently adopted legislation designed to recognize mass timber products like CLT in the state building code. CLT and similar materials are... Read more

Feature Article

Commercial-scale solar energy, buoyed by battery storage, is continuing to grow, redefining how we produce and use energy.

May 8, 2018

The 1973 oil embargo by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) led to gas shortages and price increases throughout the world, and triggered a cascade of events that continues to impact our energy future. With higher fuel costs, geopolitical instability, and increasing pollution, the U.S. was forced to examine how it... Read more

News Brief

In Chattanooga and Baltimore, green building skills are coming to those of lesser means.

May 8, 2018

It’s a common lament: green building too often benefits people at the higher end of the income spectrum. That could finally be changing … at least a little.

Two training programs—one in Baltimore and one in Chattanooga, Tennessee—aim to spread green building skills throughout lower-income communities. There are dual goals: to help low-... Read more

Blog Post

Mean radiant temperature, a major component of thermal comfort, is easy to measure.

May 8, 2018

All the way back in 1993, one of my first research projects at the NAHB Research Center—now Home Innovation Research Labs—was assessing the performance of radiant ceiling panels for the Department of Energy’s Advanced Housing Technology Program. (The final report was titled “An Evaluation of Thermal Comfort and Energy Consumption for the... Read more

News Analysis

Urban agriculture provides more than food. One study says expanding it could generate a lot of value for both cities and the globe.

May 8, 2018

What if cities around the world dramatically increased their urban agriculture efforts? A recent study, led by Tsinghua University in Beijing (in collaboration with researchers at Arizona State University; University of California, Berkeley; and University of Hawaii), estimates the potential global value.

Urban agriculture, defined as... Read more

News Brief

Carpet installed in public projects must be Cradle to Cradle certified and meet other specifications for health and sustainability.

May 8, 2018

In pursuit of its goals to reduce waste and increase adoption of safer alternatives to harmful building products, San Francisco has established a new regulation for carpet installed in city-funded projects like public schools, libraries, and government buildings.

San Francisco Department of the Environment developed the requirements of... Read more