Social Responsibility

Image: Weber Thompson


Buildings are part of the community: they can contribute to or detract from their surroundings. In some projects, the social imperative is obvious (a nonprofit job center in an underserved neighborhood). In other buildings, the social justice impact is more subtle. The location of an office building influences who will have access to the jobs it houses, for example.

Additionally, the products and materials that make up these buildings, depending on where and how they’re made, have far-reaching impacts on communities and workers around the globe. Learn here about how to consider social equity throughout your design process, from site selection to product selection.

  • Commercial Kitchens: Cooking Up Green Opportunities
    February 1, 2010

    Feature Article

    Commercial kitchens run energy- and water-intensive equipment for long hours, sometimes even when not in use. While the challenges of saving water and energy in commercial kitchens are daunting, they're not insurmountable. Careful equipment selection and a commitment to conscientious kitchen practices can dramatically cut down on waste-and utility bills.

  • Will I Get Sued? Managing Risk in Green Building
    December 1, 2009

    Feature Article

    Building industry professionals take on risks when they work on green buildings. But those risks aren't insurmountable, and can easily be handled with good communication and solid contracts.

  • Building for People: Integrating Social Justice into Green Design
    September 25, 2009

    Feature Article

    Social justice is already a part of green building. Making it a conscious part of the decision-making process, however, requires a new paradigm.

  • Growing Food Locally: Integrating Agriculture Into the Built Environment
    January 29, 2009

    Feature Article

    With a little ingenuity, the flat roofs and vacant lots of urban centers can be used effectively for food production. Numerous models can bring building-integrated food production to your project, while making our food supply chain more sustainable.

  • Finding the Green Lining: Surviving and Thriving in an Economic Downturn
    January 2, 2009

    Feature Article

    A sharp slowdown in nearly all sectors of design and construction has been a defining component of the current recession. Green building has remained a relative bright spot, however, giving firms with strong green capabilities a leg up. This article examines the current climate and offers specific pointers on thriving with a green agenda.

  • How Six Affordable Housing Projects Got to Green
    October 6, 2017

    Feature Short

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

  • Financing Affordable Housing; Not for the Faint of Heart
    October 6, 2017

    Feature Short

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

  • Prefabricating Green: Building Environmentally Friendly Houses Off Site
    September 28, 2007

    Feature Article

    Prefabricated housing offers several potential environmental benefits, including reduced transportation impacts, reduced waste, and quality control for better durability and performance. Aside from a few industry leaders, however, most manufacturers do not take full advantage of those efficiencies to create affordable high-performance houses.

  • Cradle to Cradle Certification: A Peek Inside MBDC's Black Box
    February 1, 2007

    Feature Article

    Cradle to Cradle is a multiple-attribute product certification program based on the philosophy of architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart, and the work of their company, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC). While MBDC's consulting services are driving breakthroughs in green manufacturing, the certification program lacks some of the comprehensiveness and transparency that are increasingly expected in the green certification market.

  • Climate Change Dominates Greenbuild Conference Agenda
    December 5, 2006

    Feature Article

    With several announcements at the 2006 Greenbuild conference in Denver, the U.S. Green Building Council signaled that it would use its LEED Rating System to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by tightening LEED requirements and by increasing the number of buildings designed to LEED standards.