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

Blog Post

Can buildings be both comfortable and energy efficient? The Kendeda Building shows how the two can go hand in hand.

December 14, 2018

By Alissa Kingsley

User control may seem antithetical to high-performance buildings: imagine the amount of energy that might be wasted when building occupants are able to adjust the thermostat or open and close windows at will.

Occupants who have perceived control of temperature, however, tend to be more comfortable in their... Read more

News Brief

The Atlas for the End of the World illustrates the increasingly lethal interface between civilization and nature.

December 10, 2018

We’ve got two years to change. If we don’t make major strides toward protecting biodiversity by 2020, we may go extinct ourselves, the United Nations recently warned. The Atlas for the End of the World documents how we’re doing. The maps are pretty. The findings are not.

The focus of the project, according to its website, is “the... Read more

News Brief

Designing for climate change adaptation may be prudent for legal reasons.

December 10, 2018

Are building professionals legally obligated to design with climate change in mind? An article by Judy Mendoza from Victor O. Schinnerer & Company suggests that the answer may be yes.

In “How Climate Change Is Changing the Standard of Care,” Mendoza, a risk management specialist, says that professionals could be held liable for... Read more


November 16, 2018

For the past 17 years, BuildingGreen has selected ten green building products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. These products reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, improve product life cycles, and can even have a net-positive impact on society and the environment.

This video was recorded... Read more

News Brief

A strategic partnership between HPDC and the U.S. Green Building Council aims to scale material transparency.

November 15, 2018

The creators of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) have teamed up with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with the goal of scaling product and material ingredient transparency in the building industry. The partnership has four major objectives, according to a Health Product Declaration Collaborative (HPDC) press release... Read more

News Analysis

IgCC 2018 crafters hope to dispel confusion and increase uptake with rating system harmonization.

November 15, 2018

The 2018 version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is designed to align seamlessly with LEED.

The code is developed by a coalition of partners, including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), The American Institute of Architects (AIA), and ASHRAE.

Resilience, EV charging, and... Read more

News Brief

On par with cost savings, occupant health comes in first place globally in the latest Dodge green building survey.

November 13, 2018

Health and wellness are trending worldwide in green building, a new report confirms. “When it comes to benefits, most participants cite occupant health and well-being in addition to lower operating costs,” says a press release from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a contributing partner to the Dodge Data & Analytics... Read more

Product Review

Our selection of innovative Top 10 product selections promote alternative energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and improve product life cycles.

November 12, 2018

For the past 17 years, BuildingGreen has selected ten green building products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. These products reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, improve product life cycles, and can even have a net-positive impact on society and the environment.
This year’s BuildingGreen... Read more

Blog Post

Selecting the greenest products doesn’t do any good unless strong specifications support your choices. Here’s some language you can use.

November 9, 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.

All of us in the design professions need to do a better job of prioritizing... Read more

Product Review

Vacuum-insulated glass offers outstanding performance with an airless space just ¼ mm thick. It’s finally coming to windows but already here for cooler doors.

November 5, 2018

A vacuum is a near-perfect insulator, making vacuum-insulated glass (VIG) a tantalizing option, and a commercially available R-10 replacement for single-pane windows is finally within reach. In the meantime, Guardian Glass already has a substantial market for this miracle glass—in supermarket display cases.

Anthony’s Vista Elite series... Read more

News Brief

A new initiative helps solve problems that arise between utilities and their customers when electricity users are also electricity suppliers.

November 5, 2018

Getting a solar array on your project might seem like a huge triumph, but there could be a downside. Too much “distributed generation” (grid-connected power generation coming from individual buildings) can disrupt how the electrical grid works, causing problems for utilities. A new initiative called Grid Optimal from the New Buildings Institute... Read more

Feature Article

The energy used traveling to and from an average office building—its transportation energy intensity—can be greater than the energy used to run it.

November 5, 2018

Eleven years after its original publication, we have refreshed this groundbreaking report on the transportation energy of buildings and how that energy consumption can be reduced. We have updated all data and statistics, and have conducted new interviews with leaders in the field. (Quotes from 2018 interviews are marked as such.) We have also... Read more

Product Review

NantEnergy’s Zinc–Air battery is made from common materials and does not use lithium or lead, yet can provide energy storage for large renewable energy projects.

November 5, 2018

To make renewable energy viable on a large scale, we need a way to store energy for when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. While there are various ways to store electrical energy, batteries offer the greatest applicability. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, such as those found in Tesla’s Powerwall system (a BuildingGreen Top 10... Read more

News Brief

Buildings must be LEED certified and can choose among net-zero energy, water, waste, or carbon.

November 5, 2018

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a new certification called LEED Zero that rewards net-zero carbon, energy, water, or waste.

To achieve the designation, buildings must first be certified under either LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) or LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM).... Read more

News Brief

By prohibiting whole classes of chemicals, the legislation aims to reduce regrettable substitutions.

November 5, 2018

It’s a familiar story: a toxic substance gets phased out, only to be replaced with a chemically similar one that has the same toxic properties. An amendment to existing California law aims to stop this pattern of “regrettable substitution” by effectively banning whole classes of flame retardants in upholstered furniture, mattresses,... Read more

Blog Post

For real this time?

October 22, 2018

For twenty years or so, companies like Pilkington (Spacia) have been cranking out R-5ish (center-of-glass) vacuum-insulated glazing (VIG). The attraction of glazing units with a very thin profile, relatively low weight, and a high level of performance is strong, particularly for retrofit applications.

But it sure seems as though we have... Read more

News Brief

The resilient design pilot credits were taken down temporarily but have returned—with a few changes.

October 10, 2018

Three newly revived pilot credits offer project teams the option of using resilient design to gain LEED points. Pilot credits are a way for users to test out new concepts and achieve points under the Innovation category of the LEED rating systems.

The basic structure of the suite of credits has not changed: the first credit involves an... Read more

Blog Post

The carbon that’s emitted when we produce materials and construct our buildings is finally getting the attention it deserves.

October 9, 2018

Shortly after the release of Paula Melton’s Spotlight Report on Embodied Carbon, which has been getting amazing reviews and kudos, I sat in on an update by Ryan Zizzo, Chair of the Embodied Carbon Network’s Buildings Taskforce. I was so inspired by the breadth of activities suddenly going on in this space, that I decided to lay them out in a... Read more

News Brief

A new partnership between the International Living Future Institute and Toxnot will help manufacturers provide better-quality health information.

October 8, 2018

The International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Declare label is supposed to be an easy-to-read “nutrition” label for products, showing the product’s ingredients and whether or not it contains any of ILFI’s banned Red List chemicals. This simple document belies the underlying complexity required for manufacturers to track chemicals used to... Read more