News

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

A Q&A with Laurie Schoeman, senior program director of resilience and disaster recovery, Enterprise Community Partners

April 4, 2018

When the floodwaters of Superstorm Sandy receded in the fall of 2012, they left behind a trail of devastation. Among those hardest hit were people who lived in affordable housing.

At the time, the mainstream guidance for architects was simply “to elevate your building to deal with flooding, but for multifamily housing sites that was not... Read more

Blog Post

UGL Drylok Extreme, Koster NB1 Grey, Xypex Concentrate: Do these interior waterproofing systems really work?

March 27, 2018

Back in May 2017, I wrote a blog post about negative side waterproofing (NSW). But I was still feeling troubled. The standardized test for NSW from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Standard Test Method for Water Permeability of Concrete”) is really complicated; the schematic seems impossible to decipher (see Image #1 in the slideshow... Read more

Feature Short

A National Institute of Building Sciences study shows mitigation saves money, buildings—and lives.

March 20, 2018

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) has issued a report that found when federal funds are invested in mitigating hazards, in the long term, far fewer dollars are spent on disaster recovery and other costs.

The Natural Hazard Saves: 2017 Interim Report, funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is part... Read more

Blog Post

We sat down with BuildingGreen president Nadav Malin to discuss his Honorary AIA designation.

March 12, 2018

BuildingGreen’s president, Nadav Malin, recently received the Honorary AIA designation. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) “recognizes the notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession with honorary membership in the Institute,” according to its website.

I sat down with Nadav to discuss this... Read more

Blog Post

“We don't just do cellulose; we do it better.”

March 8, 2018

 At the end of my recent blog post on Kooltherm rigid phenolic foam insulation, I mentioned that the roof and wall assemblies at an energy retrofit project in Brattleboro, Vermont, were insulated with cellulose by a company called American Installations. The company claimed that the German blowing equipment it uses delivers cellulose at a more... Read more

Product Review

EPA criteria are similar to CARB’s and create a federal formaldehyde standard for composite wood. We explain the LEED ramifications of these emission standards.

March 6, 2018

Design teams looking for low-emitting interior composite wood panels for LEED 2009 used to have it easy. If the wood panel met the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for no added urea formaldehyde­ (NAUF) or no added formaldehyde (NAF), then it was good to go.

Not anymore. CARB no longer recognizes NAUF, opting instead... Read more

News Brief

Save A Sample! helps firms reuse product samples by delivering them to architecture and interior design schools.

March 6, 2018

Nearly twenty years ago, Suzanne Swift’s company, SpecSimple.com, faced a challenge.

The company sets up and maintains resource libraries for architectural and design firms. Ultimately the materials become outdated and need to be replaced.

Firms were accumulating boxes and boxes of design samples they wanted to get rid of,... Read more

Blog Post

Paula Melton and Peter Yost discuss their process of writing a feature article about building failure.

March 6, 2018

Why and how do buildings fail? In this quick video, Paula Melton and Peter Yost discuss what they learned in the process of writing their feature article “How Buildings Fail Their Users.” The article includes seven stories of building failure and lessons learned. Read the feature article.

News Brief

GBI has acquired the global rights to Green Globes as part of a strategy to expand the market reach of the rating system.

March 6, 2018

The non-profit Green Building Initiative (GBI) has acquired the worldwide rights to Green Globes from JLL, a private real estate and investment management firm. JLL had originally acquired the rating system in 2008 as part of a larger acquisition of ECD Energy and Environment Canada. GBI had been the licensee for Green Globes in the United... Read more

News Analysis

Hampshire College predicts it will save nearly half a million dollars a year with new solar arrays and educate the next generation of students in the process.

March 6, 2018

When Jonathan Lash became president of Hampshire College, his environmental pedigree primed him to move the school closer to carbon neutrality.

He had served as a senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources, and president of the World Resources... Read more

News Brief

Project teams can save time and money by involving regulatory officials earlier.

March 6, 2018

As project delivery models have evolved and become more collaborative in support of high-performance design, the role of various project stakeholders has also evolved. But this process has generally left out code officials.

By engaging code officials early, project teams can ensure that their proposed design solutions will meet code... Read more

Feature Article

A building doesn’t have to be falling down to fail. We share seven stories of green buildings gone wrong—along with tips for prevention.

March 6, 2018

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”

            –Sam Levenson

We need to talk about failure. Because the more we talk about it, the more successful we will be.

That’s the position of Henry Petroski, Ph.D., civil engineer, failure analyst,... Read more

News Analysis

Rezoning and planning efforts can address the urban heat-island effect in a vulnerable Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood.

March 6, 2018

As climate change leads to higher temperatures, dense urban areas are particularly affected due to the urban heat-island (UHI) effect. And low-income neighborhoods like Gowanus, in South Brooklyn, New York, are especially vulnerable to the hazardous health impacts of UHI.

Now, as the city prepares to rezone the Gowanus neighborhood for... Read more

News Brief

Extensive water management efforts have not prepared South Africa’s second biggest city to survive an extended drought at a time of rapid population growth.

February 20, 2018

Cape Town’s four million residents are expected to run out of water very soon.

By the end of January, the dams holding the city’s water supply were down to 26% of their capacity, and the government is warning that a “Day Zero”—when capacity drops below 13.5%—is increasingly likely in the coming months. At that point, the City would stop... Read more

Syllabus Supplement

February 15, 2018
This syllabus supplement provides professors and students with content on LEED from BuildingGreen, LEEDuser, and other relevant resources.

Intended for design professionals, BuildingGreen provides an independent “living textbook” that integrates perfectly with green building courses while exposing students to the most cutting-edge... Read more

Syllabus Supplement

February 15, 2018
College professors: here’s a curriculum module for introducing students to healthier and lower-impact products and materials using BuildingGreen articles.

Intended for design professionals, BuildingGreen provides an independent “living textbook” that integrates perfectly with green building courses while exposing students to the most cutting-... Read more

Blog Post

A deep-energy-retrofit project uses Kooltherm as part of a high-performance attic insulation system

February 9, 2018

Improving the thermal performance of an existing attic is often challenging: workers are faced with narrow cavities, low clearances, and cladding systems that make it hard to achieve desired R-values while still maintaining the necessary drying potential of the assembly. The house at 81 Chapin Street in Brattleboro, Vermont, is no exception.... Read more

News Brief

The UN issues an emergency call to action for the building industry: build to zero-carbon standards and retrofit existing stock.

February 5, 2018

The numbers don’t lie. To keep global warming at tolerable levels, the building industry has to change—radically and rapidly. That’s the message of a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Global Status Report 2017 sounds a red alert: “near-zero-energy, zero-emissions buildings need to become the... Read more

Feature Article

More projects are proving Passive House is achievable for large urban buildings and providing lessons for a low-energy, resilient future. 

February 5, 2018

“Think in terms of being evolutionary, not revolutionary,” says Mike Steffen, AIA, director of innovation at Walsh Construction. He’s learned that when it comes to building high-performance projects, the best strategy is to focus on fundamental principles rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

This is one reason why the Passive House... Read more