BuildingGreen Report

News Brief

The Biden administration just finalized one of the most important greenhouse-gas-reduction initiatives in U.S. history.

September 24, 2021

For the first time ever, the U.S. is about to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

On September 23, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a federal rule that will reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—potent greenhouse gases used as refrigerants and in foam insulation. Many common refrigerants and blowing... Read more

News Brief

Seventy-two percent of Blacks and African Americans, and 66% of women, say they’ve experienced discrimination at work.

September 20, 2021

Amid growing reports of nooses found on construction sites, new stats back up anecdotal reports that discrimination based on race and gender pervades workplaces associated with the built environment.

According to a survey commissioned by the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), 72% percent... Read more

News Brief

Peter Templeton, a former USGBC and GBCI executive, will steer the organizations through a strategic review as interim CEO and president.

September 17, 2021

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently announced the imminent departure of Mahesh Ramanujam as president and CEO of the organization as well as Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) and Arc Skoru. We spoke with Ramanujam’s interim successor, Peter Templeton, about the future of the organizations, including the strategic review that... Read more

Webcast

September 15, 2021

Get out your wetsuit and oxygen tank because you’re about to dive really deep into the integrative design process. Your guide: Marcus Sheffer, one of the foremost experts on the topic (he also happens to have helped write the LEED v4 Integrative Process credit language).

Your tour starts with the why—the credit intent—then gradually... Read more

News Brief

Half of urban trees don’t live past 10 years; we need them to reach at least 50.

September 7, 2021

Announcing a tree planting goal is a go-to move for politicians trying to win some popularity points. Everybody loves trees—they improve air quality, reduce sound levels, decrease crime, and infiltrate stormwater. And yet, even though we all agree it is a public good, we’re approaching tree planting all wrong, says Dark Matter... Read more

Product Review

Our urban buildings can provide habitat for vulnerable honeybee populations, as well as research opportunities that might help the species and our food supply.

September 7, 2021

Bees are one of the most vital members of our ecosystem, responsible for pollinating plants that make up a significant portion of our food supply and help control erosion, provide animal habitat, and increase oxygen while mitigating carbon dioxide. Though most honeybees are not native pollinators and their impacts on native species are... Read more

News Analysis

It’s easy to focus on what was lost, but the bipartisan infrastructure bill still includes some green building wins.

September 7, 2021

It started out as a $2.6 trillion plan, but the infrastructure bill that recently passed in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support shrank to $550 billion. A lot of that missing $2 trillion had been slated for sustainability initiatives.

But despite the complete loss of $387 billion in spending on... Read more

Op-Ed

We are just about out of wiggle room, and buildings need to change. Now.

September 7, 2021

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in early August released part one of its sixth assessment report—a comprehensive analysis of the climate impacts that we can expect under various emissions scenarios. The upshot of this 4,000-page tome? “The viability of our societies depends on leaders from government, business, and civil... Read more

News Brief

By tracking existing building performance, Arc users can get financial reports on sustainability measures for free, and projected scenarios can be analyzed for a premium.

September 7, 2021

Conserving energy and water is great, but in any given building, how much does it cost and how much money does it save? A new set of tools available through Arc—the building performance tracking platform created by the for-profit arm of the U.S. Green Building Council—can answer these questions. Powered by Autocase economic... Read more

News Brief

California code will virtually require electric heat pumps for most new buildings, deterring new gas line hookups.

September 7, 2021

California recently became the de facto leader in electrification by delineating electric heat pumps as “standard” for most new homes and buildings in its 2022 code.

New single-family homes and some commercial buildings must use an electric heat pump either for space heating or for hot water heating.... Read more

Op-Ed

A leading champion of sustainable design leaves behind a rich legacy of accomplishment.

September 3, 2021

Lance Hosey, FAIA, LEED Fellow, died unexpectedly at his home on Friday, August 28, 2021 in San Diego, California. As shock gives way to reflection at BuildingGreen and the larger sustainable design community, Lance’s career as an architect, a widely published author, a committed mentor for dozens of emerging architects, and a champion of... Read more

Spotlight Report

August 10, 2021

It may take hundreds or thousands of years to return to pre-industrial-age levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, but the loss of animal and plant species that is occurring today is, practically speaking, irreversible. It will take millions of years for evolution to fill the ecological niches being vacated by extinctions and restore healthy... Read more

News Brief

International Living Future Institute (ILFI) taps industry veteran Lindsay Baker as new CEO to lead its next chapter.

August 6, 2021

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has announced that Lindsay Baker will be taking the reins of the organization starting on August 9, 2021. She succeeds interim CEO K C Gauldine, who took over in April 2020 after the departure of Amanda Sturgeon. Baker was selected because she brings “the power, vision, and experience to ignite... Read more

Feature Article

Removal of invasive plants and support of native plantings are critically important for maintaining healthy ecosystems.

August 2, 2021

As I’ve stepped back from BuildingGreen in recent years, I’ve shifted more of my time and energy to restoring ecological balance to the Dummerston, Vermont, property where my wife, Jerelyn, and I live. This has meant doing battle with a wide variety of invasive plants—especially oriental bittersweet, Japanese barberry, bush honeysuckle, glossy... Read more

News Analysis

Cities, counties, and states are adopting regulations that require energy-performance disclosure. But a newer type of standard may be more effective.

August 2, 2021

In 2008, it was a new and brilliant idea. Since building owners weren’t voluntarily making large-scale progress against climate change, jurisdictions would require them to find out how well their buildings performed, and then disclose that performance level to the public. These “benchmarking and transparency” laws first took hold in Washington... Read more

News Brief

Forest management practices have a big impact on the carbon benefits of using wood products. SCS has laid out how to do the calculations.

August 2, 2021

If a tree falls in the woods, and there’s no one around to describe how the forest has been managed, is the tree carbon neutral?

This riff on the classic philosophical thought experiment is a practical question that SCS Global Services is seeking to answer for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).... Read more

Product Review

Mitsubishi’s Heat2O commercial heat-pump water heater uses CO2 as a refrigerant and is now available in the U.S.

August 2, 2021

Heat pumps have become ubiquitous in our buildings because they are energy efficient and run on electricity rather than fossil fuels, an increasingly important consideration in areas where natural gas use is being restricted due to carbon emissions. The challenge is that the R-410a refrigerant typically used in heat pumps has... Read more

News Brief

AIA has released talking points for architects to help clients and others understand what an investment in green building can accomplish.

August 2, 2021

Have you ever felt stuck when clients say high performance sounds nice but just isn’t in the budget? The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has your back.

The group has released a series of talking points that specifically address return on investment for green building features. For example,... Read more

News Analysis

Product-level embodied carbon information will be available within BIM software in 2023.

August 2, 2021

The nonprofit Building Transparency—holder of the EC3 tool that allows comparison of building products’ carbon footprints—recently added the popular life-cycle assessment (LCA) app Tally to its portfolio. And now, armed with a big grant, Tally and EC3’s environmental product declaration (EPD) database will be integrated into a... Read more

Op-Ed

BuidingGreen’s recent report critiquing net-zero energy may be fighting the wrong battle.

July 6, 2021

By Brad Liljequist

Reading BuildingGreen’s provocative “Net-Zero Energy Isn’t the Real Goal: 8 Reasons Why” sparked a lot of emotions and thoughts—ranging from strong agreement to a fair amount of “Yes, but….”

Zero energy by itself has never been the full, holistic goal—which instead perhaps is best stated as: “to reconstruct... Read more