News

News Analysis

California’s cap-and-trade program funds affordable housing that helps residents get where they need to go without getting in a car.

November 6, 2017

California has just announced a third round of funding, of $255 million, for a program that tackles two critical situations at once: the state’s affordable housing crisis and the dangers of global warming. The funding comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenues.

Affordable housing developers are used to thinking about... Read more

News Brief

A recent survey indicates that, though the value of sustainability is widely recognized in corporate real estate, many cite cost as the primary obstacle.

November 6, 2017

Findings from a recent survey of corporate real estate and facilities management professionals show that sustainable building practices are firmly established in the industry, with none considering it a fad.  

The survey, administered annually by Structure Tone, a construction management firm, aims to identify and track trends in... Read more

News Analysis

New York’s benchmarking law has created a treasure trove of data on energy and water use in large buildings. Researchers are unpacking it and discovering noteworthy trends.

November 6, 2017

Surprisingly few people realize that they can look up the actual energy use of almost any large building in New York City, but it’s true. The City’s Local Law 84 has required owners of buildings over 50,000 square feet to report on their energy use since 2010. It has expanded the program in various ways since then, and it makes all the data... Read more

Primer

The amendment builds on the Montreal Protocol’s legacy, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

November 6, 2017

The Montreal Protocol was one of the most successful treaties ever signed. Ratified by 197 countries and the European Union in 1987, it went into effect in 1989, limiting the use of chemicals that destroy the ozone layer that protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Under the treaty, nations began phasing out the use of... Read more

Feature Article

Refrigerants with very high global warming potential can negate the energy-efficiency benefits of many HVAC systems, including popular heat pumps.

November 6, 2017

What is the number-one action we can take to reverse anthropogenic global warming? Eliminate coal-fired power plants? Drive electric cars? Install solar panels? Paul Hawken’s new book, Drawdown, calculates and rates the environmental and financial impacts of addressing carbon output across various sectors. According to Drawdown, the number one... Read more

News Brief

Fitwel and GRESB are partnering to make health part of investment decisions.

November 6, 2017

It isn’t easy fitting fitness and healthy habits into a busy workday.

But now two groups are working together to encourage investment in commercial building design and operations that make it easier for employees to adopt healthy habits such as walking more, sitting less, and eating fresh food.

The Center for Active Design (CfAD... Read more

News Analysis

Parksmart recognizes facilities that not only reduce their impact but support a transition to sustainable forms of transportation.

November 6, 2017

Green parking? Isn’t that an oxymoron? What would make a parking garage sustainable? The Parksmart rating system seeks to answer these questions by describing the industry’s most advanced strategies for reducing environmental impact and supporting adoption of more sustainable modes of transport. So far, nearly 80 projects in 19 states and 5 ... Read more

Product Review

The Float table features seamless sit/stand performance and comes with a unique sustainability profile.

November 6, 2017

There’s growing evidence that sitting all day is bad for you. Yet standing too long can cause fatigue, pain, and other problems—which is why adjustable “sit/stand” desks are becoming more popular in office environments. Furniture manufacturers seem to constantly come out with new designs meant to help users shift positions with ease.

... Read more

News Brief

The new law no longer allows incineration, but health advocates say the carpet industry needs radical change before recycling can work.

November 6, 2017

The Healthy Building Network (HBN) contends in a new report that most of today’s carpet is not only difficult to recycle but also too toxic to keep around. HBN released the report just days after California approved new legislation that encourages a significant jump in carpet recycling rates.

The law requires manufacturers, by 2020, to... Read more

Blog Post

A new focus on embodied carbon and LEED v4 are driving designers to dive deep into what we choose for our buildings

November 2, 2017

If the number of events on this topic is any indication, 2017 will go down as the year that Greenbuild became all about products. Why? Here’s my take on it:

LEED 2009 is (finally) mostly behind us, and people are starting to get excited (and serious) about figuring out LEED v4, and its alphabet soup of Materials & Resources credits.... Read more

Feature Article

There are a lot of reasons to avoid foam, but its high performance can make it a hard habit to kick, as designers are finding out.

October 27, 2017

If you’ve ever held a Styrofoam cup comfortably in your hand, only to scorch your tongue sipping the piping-hot coffee inside, you know that plastic foam is a really good insulator. It’s also lightweight, generally impervious to moisture, relatively cheap, and strong.

With all that in its favor, it would take some effort to find a... Read more

News Analysis

Buy Clean California is the first law in the nation to address embodied carbon in construction materials.

October 17, 2017

“The Governor made us wait,” said California Assembly Member Rob Bonta about the Buy Clean California bill that he had sponsored.

Governor Jerry Brown had until midnight on Sunday to sign or veto the bill. "It was touch-and-go until the very end, given some of the governor’s office's concerns," Bonta reports. He was on a plane returning... Read more

News Brief

The TRUE rating system helps businesses and facilities eliminate waste through education and performance tracking.

October 6, 2017

The rebranded TRUE (“Total Resource Use and Efficiency”) Zero Waste rating system (administered previously by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council) was recently launched by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) as a way to promote a holistic approach to waste reduction.

The TRUE Zero Waste rating system is meant to encourage and... Read more

Product Review

Sedak’s Isomax system incorporates vacuum insulated panels into insulated glazing units to create thin glass façades with improved thermal performance.

October 6, 2017

All-glass façades are rarely all glass; they are just made to look that way. The transparent window portion of the façade, or insulated glazing unit (IGU), is installed in a curtainwall along with opaque spandrel sections that hide columns, beams, and mechanicals from view. Cladding, sometimes glass, covers the spandrel to meld with the... Read more

Feature Short

Because most of the funds are government funds, they are also subject to political pressures.

October 6, 2017

Getting funding for affordable housing, whether it’s green or not, is competitive and complex. That’s because there aren’t enough funds to address the unmet need for affordable homes. In addition, funding comes from multiple sources, including government programs, which are subject to political pressures.

Who’s Who in Affordable Housing... Read more

News Analysis

The city is first to earn a Platinum LEED for Cities certification, leveraging information technology to track progress toward a range of sustainability goals.

October 6, 2017

At least 55 cities and communities around the world have signed on to test the LEED for Cities pilot, and Washington, D.C. has achieved the first certification in the new system—a Platinum rating.

Cities seeking certification submit performance data for a range of sustainability categories—Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, and Human... Read more

Feature Article

Green building is not just for those with means. 

October 6, 2017

There is a vast, unmet need for affordable housing in the U.S.

More than eight million extremely low-income households pay more than half of their incomes to rent their homes. In addition, more than a half million people in the U.S. were homeless last year.

Andrew Spofford, chief of staff of the nonprofit Preservation of... Read more

News Brief

Opportunity360 scores neighborhoods on health, affordability, transportation, and more.

October 6, 2017

Want to know what a neighborhood offers before you even get a chance to visit? With a new tool called Opportunity360, you can punch in an address and get an in-depth profile of the surrounding neighborhood, including:

Housing stability (metrics like affordability and home ownership) Education (high school and college completion) Health... Read more

News Brief

Urban forests do $500 million worth of heavy lifting each year for the world’s largest cities—and there’s plenty of room to plant more.

October 6, 2017

Dr. Seuss’s Lorax spoke for the trees, but you don’t have to be a fantastical creature out of a children’s book to do that anymore. A new study published in Ecological Modeling suggests that urban forests play a vital economic role in very large cities, and they could be doing even more.

According to... Read more

Feature Short

Stories of designers and developers who overcame the challenges of building affordable housing that is also green, sustainable, and healthy.

October 6, 2017

 

Over the past fifteen years, an emerging trend in affordable housing is better and better design. “The most thoughtful, private nonprofit developers out there have been paying attention both to ‘green’ and the quality of how the building looks and sits on the site,” says Sunshine Mathon, who served for the past decade as the... Read more