Social Responsibility

Image: Weber Thompson

OVERVIEW

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.

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  • Prefabricating Green: Building Environmentally Friendly Houses Off Site

    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

    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

    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.

  • Greening Your Electricity

    Feature Article

    Many businesses and homeowners are choosing to buy green power, including renewable energy credits (RECs). This article examines the environmental benefits of green power, including on-site renewables, what REC buyers should know about their purchases, and investing in energy conservation.

  • Wal-Mart: Every Day Low... Impact?

    Feature Article

    The world's largest company claims to have embraced environmental responsibility in everything from its supply chains to its waste stream, with goals of creating a prototype store with 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions within four years and doubling trucking efficiency within ten years. But how big a difference can the shift make, and is it enough?

  • Social Sustainability and Architecture

    Primer

    Architects can increase social value through thoughtful design of the built environment.

  • Mitigating Disasters: Invest Now, Spend Less Later

    Feature Short

    Mitigation saves money, buildings, and lives, according to a FEMA-funded National Institute of Building Sciences study.

  • Climate Justice Heats Up in NYC

    News Analysis

    A new report describes how rezoning and planning efforts can address the urban heat-island effect in a vulnerable Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood.

  • Building Industry Helps Disaster Victims Recover

    News Analysis

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

  • Certified Communities: When Greening Neighborhoods One Building at a Time Isn’t Enough

    Primer

    A comparison of community-scale certification programs.