News

News Analysis

PHIUS and PHI certifications have been considered “separate but equal” in the U.S. marketplace for years. But are they really equivalent?

August 6, 2019

It was a long time coming. After years of turmoil over whether Passive House should be more flexible, in 2011 the international Passive House Institute (PHI) issued a judgment about Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS): the American institute could no longer certify Passive House projects to the international standard or administer... Read more

News Brief

With new legislation requiring net-zero carbon by 2050, buildings will be a major focus.

August 6, 2019

In a historic move, the United Kingdom in June 2019 passed a legally binding target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to research by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the new goal can be reached with a relatively low price tag.

“It is achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people’s lives,... Read more

News Brief

Projects from six cities around the world demonstrate de-carbonization, resilience, and replicability.

July 8, 2019

C40 Cities, an international network of 94 municipalities committed to realizing the goals of the Paris Agreement, has announced the 15 winners of its Reinventing Cities competition. The competition rewards urban building projects designed to net-zero-carbon standards that also demonstrate resilience, noteworthy architecture, and... Read more

Feature Article

Electricity generation from wind and solar is poised to surpass fossil fuel generation in the next 30 years. You can future-proof the buildings you design today to save money and carbon later on.

July 8, 2019

Renewable electricity generation has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. Ninety percent of that increase came from wind and solar generation (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)). Costs have also declined rapidly. Oftentimes solar and wind generation is the cheapest option for new or replacement generation capacity (source:... Read more

News Brief

Projects can now be certified under Fitwel for health-promoting design and construction.

July 8, 2019

The latest iteration of Fitwel, version 2.1, expands the focus of the certification to include new construction projects. Formerly, the standard applied only to existing buildings. Project teams pursuing this new pre-occupancy Design Certification must also follow up with post-occupancy Built Certification.

This change positions Fitwel... Read more

Product Review

USG’s EcoSmart gypsum panels make it easier to lower a building’s overall carbon footprint while saving water as well.

July 8, 2019

It is hard to turn on the news without seeing warnings about rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and how time is running out for action. Design teams trying to lower their building materials’ carbon footprint usually look at reducing the amount of known high emitters, such as steel and concrete. But heavy interior products... Read more

News Analysis

With more and more cities developing resilience plans, investment in climate adaptation is becoming mainstream.

July 8, 2019

Editor’s note: The first national conference on resilience in the built environment takes place November 7 and 8 in Cleveland. Join BuildingGreen, the International Living Future Institute, and the Resilient Design Institute there for Building Resilience 2019. Building Resilience 2019 will focus exclusively on how to create more resilient... Read more

News Brief

The resolution calls for big changes in how AIA and its members will approach the climate crisis.

June 13, 2019

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has adopted the AIA Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action. The historic resolution passed 4,860 to 312 at the 2019 AIA National Convention in Las Vegas.

“Be it resolved that, commencing in 2019 and continuing until zero-net carbon practice is the accepted standard of its members,... Read more

News Brief

The newly released HPD version 2.2 integrates reporting options for suppliers of parts that go into building products, and for managing multiple versions of a product.

June 3, 2019

It would seem at first glance like a simple proposition: provide a standard format for reporting on the contents of a building product or material. Like anything in real life, however, as you look more closely, you discover that it’s not so simple.

That dynamic explains the development of the Health Product Declaration, which has... Read more

Product Review

EV charging stations are becoming mainstream, but the technology interface and installation are still developing.

June 3, 2019

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere just reached the highest levels in human history, and our gas-guzzling transportation industry—the United States’ largest greenhouse gas emitter—is partially to blame. Minimizing these transportation impacts to and from our green buildings should be a priority, and encouraging the use of plug-in... Read more

News Analysis

Resilient design is all very well for new construction, but how do we deal with billions of square feet of existing building stock?

June 3, 2019

Resilience, the ability of a building to remain functional or recover quickly after a major disruption, is becoming a more common consideration when designing new structures. Unfortunately, it’s too late for millions of buildings that are already in harm’s way. Or is it?

With some notable exceptions, retrofitting buildings for... Read more

News Brief

New buildings with net-zero-carbon operations will provide a 1% return over 25 years, says a new study.

June 3, 2019

Decarbonization of the building sector is vital to countries striving to dramatically cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. But might there be less altruistic reasons to pursue net-zero carbon? A recent study, Making the Case for Building to Zero Carbon, says yes.

Commissioned by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and... Read more

Op-Ed

The A&D community’s “ask” for ingredient reporting continues to move entire industries toward healthier products, especially now with the Supplier HPD.

June 3, 2019

By Wendy Vittori

“Ask for transparency.” Over the past decade, the material health and transparency movement has demonstrated that ingredient suppliers, product manufacturers, architects, designers, contractors, and owners can work together to make ingredient transparency the norm in the building industry.

The market speaks

It... Read more

News Analysis

Several organizations have already committed to piloting the new program, which aims to streamline documentation and auditing.

June 3, 2019

When you think of the Living Building Challenge (LBC), what image pops into your head? A nature center, perhaps, or the headquarters of an environmental nonprofit? Probably not a bus station—but that could change in the near future.

The new volume program offered by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI)—a way of certifying... Read more

News Brief

Electrifying homes could reduce greenhouse gas emissions 90% by 2050.

June 3, 2019

Switching California homes from natural gas to electricity for space heating, water heating, and clothes drying is a cost-effective way to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a new study conducted by Energy and Environmental Economics (E3). Natural gas—accounting for both burning and leakage—is currently responsible... Read more

Webcast

May 24, 2019

In this on-demand webcast on the sustainability of wood construction, we tap the expertise of leaders in the field and look into three main issues:

The importance of certification The complex issue of embodied carbon Wood legality: a new LEED pilot credit Speakers: Corey Brinkema of the Forest Stewardship Council; Kate Simonen, AIA, S... Read more

News Brief

A product-demand forecasting model for Metro Vancouver uses British Columbia’s Energy Step Code to predict future demand that suppliers can bank on.

May 6, 2019

If you’re selling run-of-the-mill double-pane windows in the Greater Vancouver market in Canada, it’s time to start retooling your production lines, according to a new study by the Vancouver Economic Commission. Demand for those windows will drop by 2022 and vanish by 2027, according to the study, which tracks the implementation dates for... Read more

News Brief

Environmental groups including the Forest Stewardship Council have gotten together to support better forestry practices.

May 6, 2019

Mass timber construction is gaining ground in North America, with the frequent justification that it reduces embodied carbon (the upfront greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacture and transportation of materials) when compared with concrete or steel. But not all wood products are created equal when it comes to carbon emissions,... Read more

Product Review

With the PVDF coating Fluropon Pure, “fluorinated” does not necessarily mean persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic, but it does have a complicated environmental profile.

May 6, 2019

Metal coatings have a difficult job. When used on building exteriors, such as for cladding, they have to last decades, protecting the metal against oxidation. They also have to resist damage from abrasion, temperature extremes, dirt, acidic urban conditions, moisture, and ultraviolet light—all while maintaining color and gloss. Combining all... Read more