Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Once again, some thought provoking writing from longtime sustainable architect and Treehugger columnist Lloyd Alter: The best way to have our buildings use less energy is to insulate them really well. But for a long time, I have also been writing about the problems of insulating with plastic foam, even writing that Polystyrene insulation doesn’t … Continue reading Lloyd Alter on some of the difficult tradeoffs inherent in green building

Tesla will not be alone in the solar PV roofing tile market

Apple’s success as a company under Steve Jobs’ leadership was rarely about being first to market. Rather, Apple’s most successful products so far (Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch) were challengers in existing product categories (personal computing, MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, wearables). Apple’s entry into established categories was disruptive and ultimately successful due to superior … Continue reading Tesla will not be alone in the solar PV roofing tile market

What happens when actual performance varies greatly from the energy model’s predictions?

Britain has a problem. Chances are, the problem that Britain is facing also affects many jurisdictions in the US. What is this problem? Energy modeling — the process of using sophisticated software to predict future building performance — isn’t as accurate as some industry professionals would like to believe. In other words, the supposed energy … Continue reading What happens when actual performance varies greatly from the energy model’s predictions?

What is a Life Cycle Impact Assessment and why is it important for the built environment?

Life Cycle Assessments, also known as Life Cycle Impact Assessments (abbreviated as LCA and LCIA, respectively), provide objective measurements of the environmental impact of a given product from the procurement of its constituent raw materials, through production and manufacturing, all the way through to decommissioning and end of life (recycling or disposal). In my mind, … Continue reading What is a Life Cycle Impact Assessment and why is it important for the built environment?

Third-Party Regenerative Building Certification would kick Sustainability up a notch

For some, green building and sustainability are aspirational goals. For those of us that have been working in sustainability on a professional level, we are always on the lookout for the next evolution in third party standards and certification to take our projects to the next level. Beyond “net zero” energy and water — in … Continue reading Third-Party Regenerative Building Certification would kick Sustainability up a notch

Groundbreaking peer-reviewed research into Life-Cycle Assessment of Water Reclamation Systems

Water efficiency is the next major issue impacting the built environment after energy efficiency. (Not that we’ve necessarily solved the issue of energy efficiency…) Despite the fact that our planet’s surface is 2/3 water, protecting this natural resource is of utmost importance to human survival. The best way to reduce water usage is to reuse … Continue reading Groundbreaking peer-reviewed research into Life-Cycle Assessment of Water Reclamation Systems

Faulty Geothermal Heating and Cooling System contributes to mold at historic Twain Museum

Apparently, the Hartford, CT Mark Twain House & Museum contains an amazing collection of artifacts collected by Samuel Clemens throughout his life. Sadly, however, much of that collection has been threatened by mold growth caused by a faulty HVAC system. According to Susan Dunne of the Hartford Courant: In November 2015, mold was found in … Continue reading Faulty Geothermal Heating and Cooling System contributes to mold at historic Twain Museum

Research shows clear correlation between green buildings and occupant health

Green buildings do in fact have a measurable impact on both occupant health, as well as quality of life measures such as sleep. Damian Carrington, writing for The Guardian reports on a recent study supported by a gift from United Technologies to the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Continue reading “Research shows clear correlation between green buildings and occupant health”

What’s Next in Building Design & Construction? Health & Wellness

Without a doubt, the biggest rising trend in the architecture, engineering and construction industry is health and wellness. In the mid-80s, the World Health Organization released a report on the impact of indoor air quality on building occupants. Perhaps the most damning portion of the report was the finding that “energy-efficient but sick buildings often cost society far more than it gains by energy savings.”

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