Category: Green building

LEED-certified federal buildings aren’t using less energy: study

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

A new study from Carnegie Mellon University found federal buildings with an energy efficiency certification managed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) are not using less energy, potentially due to “trade-offs” in how their energy score is developed.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program was launched in 1998 by the USGBC, and obtaining that certification is a tool the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) utilizes in its efforts to save energy.

USGBC defended the LEED program, pointing to other studies indicating certified buildings are consuming significantly less energy. And, “anecdotally we sometimes hear that renovated green buildings often are used much more than previously,” USGBC Senior Policy Counsel Elizabeth Beardsley said in an email.

Concern arises over increased use of antimicrobials in building materials

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

A joint statement released by leading green construction organizations has raised concerns about the increasing demand and use of antimicrobial chemicals in building materials. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a surge in antimicrobial construction products, such as countertops and doorknobs. But experts warn these products could actually do more harm than good.

Build Back Better Homes: How to Unlock America’s Single-Family Green Mortgage Market

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The vast majority of America’s housing stock is in need of improvements for performance, health, and safety. Over the next decade, shifts in utility models, energy and climate policy, weather events, and recognition of health and resilience priorities will greatly expand this need. This is especially true for low- to moderate-income households and communities of color. Even though better housing infrastructure offers societal benefits, there is little access to low-cost financing. Therefore, the cost burden for these kinds of improvements largely falls on homeowners.

Among capital markets investors, there is growing interest and demand for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment options and “green” securities. However, there is a lack of sufficient market-ready green investments. The mortgage industry is well positioned to help fill this gap. Mortgages can become a primary investment vehicle for deploying billions of dollars to meet this investor demand while also fulfilling consumer demand for green home improvements.

A robust single-family green mortgage market can deliver significant benefits and investor-ready ESG impacts. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could generate more than $2 trillion of new green mortgage-backed securities within a decade by streamlining and scaling up their existing green mortgage products.

This report proposes practical solutions to reduce friction in originating and securitizing single-family green mortgage products already offered by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create a new $2+ trillion market within a decade.

US building codes need a major retrofit to meet climate goals and spare consumers

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

The International Code Council, which rolled back local governments’ say in energy efficiency regs for buildings, needs to adapt to the times or step aside, writes Energy Innovation’s Sara Baldwin.

Online map showcases construction-related careers in booming green sector

Read the full story at Utility Dive.

A group of energy-efficiency organizations has launched an online tool designed to help U.S. workers research career paths in the booming field of green building.

The interactive Green Buildings Career Map highlights career opportunities in building energy efficiency, with 55 jobs across four industry sectors, as well as over 300 potential advancement routes. It was developed with input from industry subject matter experts to help interested candidates learn about quality jobs related to energy efficiency in buildings.

The initiative, supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office, was designed to foster a robust and inclusive pipeline of qualified workers to meet employer demand, said Larry Sherwood, CEO of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, one of its developers. “This is crucially important to sustaining the rapid growth of this important industry and ensuring the benefits of employment in this sector are accessible to more people,” he said in a release.

Of hemp’s many uses, one of the most promising could be in construction

Read the full story at Ensia.

“Hempcrete,” made from the woody core of hemp, is showing promise as an environmentally friendly building material.

Water Survey helps Cook County manage stormwater

Read the full story from the Prairie Research Institute.

Experts from the Illinois State Water Survey have been working since 2015 with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), supporting MWRD in making informed watershed management decisions for its vast service area that includes 128 suburban communities in Cook County. 

The first two phases of this long-term project have had a major impact on development throughout the region and helped define one of the most visible aspects of stormwater management: detention requirements. 

Use the right sustainable materials for airport developments to create a true circular economy

Read the full story at Passenger Terminal Today.

The idea of a sustainable green recovery from the current global pandemic is one that has been backed by industry bodies worldwide, including IATA, ICAO and ACI. Speaking at the ATAG 2020 Global Sustainable Aviation Forum – Green Recovery event in September 2020, director general of ACI, Luis Felipe de Oliveira, said, “The recovery of the aviation industry will be a key driver of the global economic recovery. To ensure that aviation can continue to provide economic and social benefits, it is crucial that we pursue a green recovery and lay the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable industry for the long term.”

Airports have often led the way in developing buildings that embrace sustainability at their heart, using approaches such as renewable energies, water recycling, natural lighting and innovative ventilation to limit their impact on the environment. But one area that is gaining momentum at the moment is the use of green materials, which are not only sustainably sourced, but also circular in nature. 

Two French architects who ‘never demolish’ buildings just won the Pritzker Prize

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal focus on adaptive reuse, finding creative ways to reconfigure materials and avoid waste.

The world’s most beautiful corporate campus is about to be turned into industrial buildings

Read the full story at Fast Company.

The Weyerhaeuser campus paved the way for environmentally conscious corporate buildings. Now it’s under threat.

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