News

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

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 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

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

Blog Post

Buildings need renewables—but we need to look beyond the site.

April 25, 2018

No man is an island, and neither is a building.

And yet there is increasing movement for buildings to reach net-zero energy (NZE) or net-zero carbon (NZC). Architecture 2030 wants all buildings there by 2030. Many in the LEED community want this as a requirement for achieving LEED Platinum today. And California has stated it as a goal... Read more

Webcast

April 20, 2018

 

Are your clients asking you about wellness? You’re not alone. Healthy interiors and wellbeing are the trending buzzwords of sustainable design. In this hour-long on-demand webcast, GreenStep Education's Alex Spilger will walk you through the seven concepts within WELL and describe what sets it apart from other frameworks such as LEED... Read more

News Analysis

This year’s AIA COTE winning projects combine small ecological footprints with big social benefits.

April 19, 2018

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Awards recognize innovative and inspiring projects that demonstrate how to combine architectural excellence and environmental performance.

Beginning with last year’s awards, the criteria AIA COTE uses to define sustainable design was updated and redeveloped... Read more

Feature Article

A broad look at the opportunities and challenges in providing resilient multifamily housing.

April 8, 2018

With the rise in extreme weather events, people are looking for ways to prepare for disasters that accompany our changing climate. New studies, regulations, and design practices are helping to address current and future needs.

Many times, low-income communities are disproportionately affected by weather- and climate-related disasters,... Read more

News Brief

Carpets and rugs with stain-repelling “PFAS” chemicals could be the next priority product designated by the State.

April 4, 2018

The State of California is taking steps toward regulating carpets and rugs with common stain-resistance treatments.

A new draft report from the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) implicates perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a variety of toxic effects, and recommends listing carpets and rugs with... Read more

Feature Short

Washington, D.C. is developing a tool to assess affordable multifamily housing for resilience to climate change.

April 4, 2018

Two years ago, when Washington, D.C.’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) was developing a plan to prepare the district for a changing climate, Kate Johnson recalls a series of meetings with people from the utilities and those who work in the district’s affordable housing sector. Johnson, the chief of the green building and climate... Read more

News Analysis

A Japanese company aims to promote large-scale mass timber construction with plans to build a wooden “supertall” in Tokyo.

April 4, 2018

The Japanese construction company Sumitomo Forestry thinks a city could reduce its carbon footprint by building with wood. To demonstrate this vision and bring attention to the possibilities of mass timber construction, the company plans to build a 1,148-foot (350-meter) tall wooden tower in Tokyo by 2041.

Developed by Sumitomo Forestry... Read more