It Ain’t Easy Being Green, Especially at City Scale

Masdar was supposed to be Utopia. Celebrated starchitect Norman Foster would preside over the design of the world’s first “Zero Carbon City” that would rise out of one of the most inhospitable environments in the world: the middle of the Arabian desert, near Abu Dhabi. That project kicked off in 2006, and a decade later, … Continue reading It Ain’t Easy Being Green, Especially at City Scale

Sustainable Donuts: New internal green building certification program for Dunkin’ Donuts endorsed by UL

After my heart attack about two years ago, I have tried to limit my donut intake (instead of once a week, now it is more like once a month). Who would’ve ever thought that donuts could be so sustainable?

The corporate overlords at Dunkin’ Donuts have taken an interesting path to improving the sustainability of their facilities by developing their own internal green building certification program. The environmental division of Underwriters Laboratory has reviewed the Dunkin’ Donuts program and offered endorsement for the certification requirements. Continue reading “Sustainable Donuts: New internal green building certification program for Dunkin’ Donuts endorsed by UL”

Do energy efficient building practices result in better feedback loops and better workmanship?

My wife and I have been lucky to have three kids that (so far) haven’t ever played with fire, or knives, or consumed dangerous cleaning supplies, or anything like that. It didn’t take burning down the house, stitches, or stomach pumping to teach each of them the danger inherent with certain things—a quick touch to a hot oven provides instantaneous feedback.

This is the primary concept of the feedback loop, explained by Wired Magazine: Continue reading “Do energy efficient building practices result in better feedback loops and better workmanship?”

London: Failed, fallen structural components at the Cheesegrater building prompt investigation

The Leadenhall Building at 122 Leadenhall Street in London, also known affectionately as the Cheesegrater due to its unique shape, is 47-stories tall and is the UK’s 4th largest building. Featuring a cutting edge high-performance building envelope incorporating passive heating and cooling elements, 85% of its construction took place off-site, making it one of the largest and most complex prefabricated projects to date. Continue reading “London: Failed, fallen structural components at the Cheesegrater building prompt investigation”

Steel-Fiber Reinforced Concrete coming to a jobsite near you, eventually…

Concrete has been one of mankind’s most important building materials for thousands of years. Previously, we discussed efforts to crack the code of ancient Rome’s high-performance concrete, a 60-year lifecycle assessment of concrete homes by MIT, efforts to lower the carbon dioxide output involved with concrete production, and bacterially-infused concrete that repairs itself. Science Daily … Continue reading Steel-Fiber Reinforced Concrete coming to a jobsite near you, eventually…

What is an Environmental Product Declaration and how does it impact standard of care in the built environment?

As many people know, LEED v4 took a lot longer to be finalized than originally anticipated—largely due to political struggles involving key stakeholders and certain large enterprises. As many of my friends and colleagues know, I despise politics. Therefore, rather than get into all the muck, let’s dig into one of the more controversial subjects … Continue reading What is an Environmental Product Declaration and how does it impact standard of care in the built environment?

Last chance to add your input on the 2015 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard

Stuart Kaplow, of Green Building Law Update writes: With nearly 128 million residential housing units existed in the U.S., if green building is going to mitigate the negative impacts that human activity has on the planet, green building must include houses. While most professionals in the A/E/C industry have at least heard of LEED for … Continue reading Last chance to add your input on the 2015 ICC 700 National Green Building Standard

Repeat after me: Sustainable design and construction is no guarantee for quality

I am an outsider. Among construction defect and quality management professionals, my involvement with green building makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Among green building professionals, advocates and activists, my responses to claims that green buildings are better quality leads to some very awkward moments. Without adopting more sustainable practices, existing design and … Continue reading Repeat after me: Sustainable design and construction is no guarantee for quality

Net Positive is the new black – but what is the return on investment?

Ralph DiNola works for the nonprofit New Buildings Institute “working to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings.” He recently presented at a conference focused on Net Positive Energy + Water in San Fransisco. During the conference, one of the major themes was cost and value associated with such high performing buildings. What does this … Continue reading Net Positive is the new black – but what is the return on investment?