Green building

Industry Groups Streamline Green Building Tool Development

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) and the US Green Building Council (USGBC) have signed a memorandum to collaborate on the development of Standard 189.1, the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and the LEED green building program.

Central Library’s green roof takes root

Read the full story at OnMilwaukee.com

In May 2011, we visited the Milwaukee Public Library’s recently installed green roof, which boasted not only a couple rows of solar panels, but 33,000 square feet of rainwater capturing and temperature moderating plants.

Back then, the plants were in but they were little more than seedlings, so the roof didn’t look very green. This week, I stopped in to check on the progress.

Three years later, the roof is a lush carpet of ground covering plants, especially a variety of sedums as well as chives and some grasses. It’s mostly green — though the green refers to its eco-friendliness as much as the color of the vegetation — but there are some reds, yellows and an attractive rust hue, too.

Green roofs can reduce urban heat island effect

Read the full story at EnvironmmentalResearchWeb.

Several cities in the US are encouraging the use of green or cool roofs on buildings in an attempt to reduce the urban heat island effect. But assessing the effectiveness of this policy has been challenging. Most models look at the effect of a green or cool roof on one building but up-scaling this to a city or metropolitan area is difficult due to different urban landscapes and their effect on atmosphere exchanges.

Now researchers from Princeton University in the US have developed a new urban canopy model (UCM) that they claim is ideal for city-scale investigations into the mitigation of urban heat island effects. Dan Li and his colleagues tested their model on the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area during a four-day heatwave and found that a reduction of surface temperature of 1 °C could be achieved if 30% of all roofs in the area were green or cool roofs.

Architectural researcher to tell global conferees how ‘living roofs’ help build better cities

Read the full story from Virginia Tech University.

Hot town, summer in the city — it’s nothing new, but ways to handle the heat, humidity, and stormwater haven’t changed much since the invention of the sewer system.

One solution offered by architectural researchers is known as a “green roof” — a roof covered in living, growing plants to soften the effects of heat, flooding, noise, and stormwater runoff.

Elizabeth J. Grant, an assistant professor of architecture and design at Virginia Tech, will present ways for architects to determine the most effective depths of green roofing for stormwater control on Thursday at the International Conference on Building Envelope Systems and Technologies — also known as ICBEST — in Aachen, Germany.

5 purposeful ways to tame ‘accidental’ data centers

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The best-laid plans for green office buildings are meaningless if the occupants ignore them. Remember the flap last August over how much power the Platinum LEED Bank of America tower in New York was using? Suffice it to say, way more than anticipated.

Few things can skew energy usage more insidiously than the energy for running and cooling random computer servers, storage arrays and network gear shoved into closets or conference rooms originally intended for other purposes. Unfortunately, outside of big Fortune 500 companies that can for data center gurus, this practice is apparently pretty common: the Natural Resources Defense Council figures that at least half of U.S. servers are unmanaged, accounting for between 30 percent and 50 percent of all the electricity being used in small and midsize offices.

Techniques evolve for sustainable construction

Read the full story in Finance & Commerce.

In the sustainability world, the discussion has largely focused on renewable power and improving architecture and building infrastructure to reduce energy use.

A quieter part of the sustainability story is the evolution in construction techniques and materials acquisition that reduce waste, energy and various inefficiencies at building sites.

Building toward sustainable, resilient cities in 2050

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

This article originally appeared at Ensia and is part 2 of the 2050 series.

By 2050, seven out of every 10 people on Earth will be an urban dweller. What the cities of the future look like depends largely on decisions we make today.

Will we design a future where driverless cars zip around under skyscraping vertical gardens in hyperconnected, energy-efficient “smart cities”? Or will we be trapped in endless traffic jams while pollution overwhelms remaining green spaces and infrastructure crumbles?