News

Op-Ed

Finding opportunities in the spate of recent devastating natural disasters.

January 5, 2018

In re-reading the feature article I wrote this time last year for The BuildingGreen Report after President Trump was elected, 20 Ways to Advance Sustainability in the Next Four Years, I was reminded of just how optimistic—indeed quixotic—I can be. Perhaps it is this serial optimism that has allowed me to keep at it some 40 years after I first... Read more

News Analysis

If we can reduce waste here, we can do it anywhere.

December 11, 2017

Waste is a design flaw.

That’s the thinking behind the Zero Waste Design Guidelines, recently issued by the NYC chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The guidelines recommend a set of best practices for designing buildings, streets, and neighborhoods to reduce the amount of material that ends up in landfills.... Read more

Primer

A comparison of community-scale certification programs.

December 11, 2017

Within the design and construction industry there is a growing sense of urgency to find sustainability and resilience solutions that can be applied at scale. One way to do this is to focus on neighborhoods, and over the past few years several organizations have responded by launching programs designed to support this strategy. (For an in-depth... Read more

News Analysis

LEED v4.1, a new iteration of the green building rating system will be piloted in 2018 with the goal of smoothing over rough spots.

December 11, 2017

The latest version of LEED, LEED v4, became mandatory a little over a year ago. That was just after the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2016 Greenbuild conference. This year at Greenbuild, USGBC announced that it is fast-tracking development of a new iteration, LEED v4.1.

“LEED v4 has been out a long time,” says Corey Enck, director of... Read more

News Brief

A new program offers reduced interest rates plus a refund on Fitwel certification fees.

December 11, 2017

Affordable housing developers have a new reason to prioritize health and safety: it can save them money. The new program Healthy Housing Rewards, from lender Fannie Mae, provides loan recipients with a reduced interest rate when projects achieve certification through the health-promoting program Fitwel (see Fitwel: Science That Works). Fannie... Read more

News Analysis

How an architectural firm, timber company, and carpenters’ union are helping communities rebuild after Maria, Harvey, and the California wildfires.

December 11, 2017

One disaster after another, like a game of dominoes, toppled communities across North America this summer and fall.  

Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria, the earthquake in Mexico, the wildfires in northern California. More than enough to numb the most empathetic into listless apathy.

But those in the building industry are not sitting... Read more

News Analysis

A city suffering from ozone pollution and the heat-island effect approves a ballot measure requiring green roofs.

December 11, 2017

More than half of the voters in Denver approved a ballot initiative in November requiring new buildings 25,000 square feet or larger to build green roofs or roofs that combine vegetation and solar arrays. The rules also apply when additions are built that expand a building to 25,000 square feet or more, and to existing buildings of that size... Read more

Feature Article

By working at the neighborhood scale, designers and developers can more dramatically improve environmental performance and social equity.

December 11, 2017

The building industry has set ambitious goals for sustainability and resilience, and is recognizing that a building-by-building approach is not enough. At the same time there is an increasing focus on making healthy, vibrant, and resilient communities accessible to all.

“There’s certainly an urgency. I think people really understand... Read more

Blog Post

Managing the high GWP refrigerants used in refrigeration and HVAC systems is one of our most pressing climate challenges. November’s BuildingGreen Report feature article explains why.

December 6, 2017

Paul Hawken’s book Drawdown looks at a number of strategies that would “reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years.” Based on careful analysis, his team concluded that the number-one action we can take to reverse anthropogenic global warming is to manage high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. Wait…what?! What about... Read more

Webcast

December 6, 2017

LEED v4 has introduced a whole new set of frameworks and criteria for choosing materials that are better for human health and for the planet. These changes are important. From climate change to habitat loss to hazardous substances, we have some major challenges on our hands and the products we build with are a big part of the problem!

... Read more

Blog Post

How to use geological, soil, and historical maps to keep your basement dry

November 30, 2017

When we bought our home (built in 1907), I called in a favor from an electrician friend of mine to upgrade the 60-amp to a 100-amp service. Having worked together in New Hampshire where many of our projects were on sites full of ledge, he smirked when he told me: “Here, you go try and drive this 12-foot copper grounding rod!” No more than 10... Read more

Product Review

Our innovative Top 10 product selections improve IAQ, save energy and water, contain fewer hazardous materials, and promote material transparency.

November 9, 2017

For the past 16 years, BuildingGreen has selected ten green building products that significantly improve upon standard “business-as-usual” practices. These products improve indoor air quality, consume less energy and water, reduce waste, and can even have a net-positive impact on the environment.

This... Read more

News Brief

RELi is USGBC’s new standard for projects designed to endure and recover from extreme weather.

November 7, 2017

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched a new certification Tuesday that sets the first standard for designing buildings and communities that withstand and recover from natural disasters including floods, tornadoes, droughts, and wildfires.

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI... 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

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

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

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 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

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

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