DOE Launches Program to Make Zero-Energy Schools More Mainstream

Zero Energy School Accelerator program to develop zero energy designs that are cost-competitive for construction in the education sector and in local communities across the nation.
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A Tip of the 'HAT'

When Michelle Jones, an instrumentation engineer with Hargrove Engineers + Constructors, Mobile, Ala., heard about an 11 year-old girl named Emma Pablo with limited mobility due to cerebral palsy, she was inspired to help—and that inspiration quickly spread throughout the company. 

With President and CEO Ralph Hargrove’s blessing, Jones reached out to fellow engineers and designers who would share her vision for building something that would enrich Emma’s life and give her access to the tools she needed to learn to move around in space and control her environment.
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Open Source Tool Seeks to Drive Emissions Reduction

A new open source tool that will help construction companies identify and reduce carbon emissions is currently being pilot tested by U.K.-based developer Costain and the University of Edinburgh Business School, with funding from Volvo’s Construction Climate Challenge. The Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Tool (CITT) project sprung from the need to solve two key problems facing the construction industry: high greenhouse gas emissions and the fragmented nature of supply chains.
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USGBC Announces Top 10 Countries For LEED

China took first place on the U.S. Green Building Council’s list of the Top 10 Countries for LEED, which highlights countries outside the United States that are making significant strides in sustainable building design, construction and market transformation. China moved up one spot from second place last year, with 34.62 million gross square meters of certified LEED space. Canada, India, Brazil and the Republic of Korea rounded out the top five countries on the list, followed by Taiwan, Germany, Turkey, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.
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DPR Uses Its Office As a Sustainable Example for Clients

DPR took a building that had been vacant for more than seven years and transformed into an office that is not only energy-efficient and seeking LEED-CI v4.0 Platinum certification, but also ensures the well-being of employees. 

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LEED Liability: Construction Contract Concerns for Green Building Projects

Despite the continuous narrative tied to green building, construction contracts have simply not kept pace, and most form contracts or standard clauses do not address contractual issues specific to sustainable projects. 
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Unlock Hidden Savings With Building Analytics

Today’s savvy facility executives should take the appropriate measures to connect disparate energy systems, leverage intelligent building analytics capabilities and bring in trusted partners to help guarantee that all opportunities to cut energy consumption are being addressed.
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LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities

Today, there are more than 1,755 LEED-certified industrial facilities worldwide, comprising more than 496 million total square feet, according to the LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report. And that number is expected to increase significantly: There are currently more than 2,710 registered industrial facilities totaling nearly 737 million square feet.
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D.C. Law Expands Access to Solar Power

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser signed into law the Renewable Portfolio Standard Expansion Act of 2016, which seeks to help mitigate the effects of climate change in the district, as well as keep D.C. on track to meet its sustainability goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent and ensure renewables make up at least 50 percent of its energy supply by 2032.
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Smart Sensors’ Role in the Digital Ceiling

In view of the ongoing transformation of the building automation industry, spearheaded by the IoT revolution, the lighting system is considered to be the most suitable infrastructure to carry on the smart building mission. A digital ceiling that uses smart sensors incorporated into lighting fixtures creates an affordable and scalable option for system providers, building owners and facility managers. 
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Manufactured Masonry Leads Sustainable Charge Ahead of LEED Updates

New age masonry products are meeting demands for materials that do far more than look good. The manufacturing process is now a science designed to produce veneers that are more durable, last longer and resist moisture and mold, while lowering overall life cycle costs and helping achieve sustainability goals.  Read More >

What Should Contractors Know About Resiliency and How It Will Impact the Way They Build and Renovate in the Coming Years?

Aligning building performance expectations with community resilience is essential for continuity of service during and after a disaster and for the service life of a building; thus, development decisions, building science and construction methodologies will evolve to reflect consumer expectations.  
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Website Highlights Chemistry’s Role in Green Building Materials

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) launched a new website,, that provides architects, materials specifiers, interior designers, and other building and construction professionals with tools and information about green building codes and standards, materials selection, and the role of chemistry in developing innovative, sustainable building materials.
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Illinois Tops USGBC’s State LEED Rankings

Illinois is the top state for LEED, with 161 certified projects totaling 3.43 square feet certified per person, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) latest ranking of the top 10 states for LEED.
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LEED Committee Adopts Pilot Credits on Resilient Design

The U.S. Green Building Committee’s LEED Steering Committee approved three pilot credits on resilient design, the first of which encourages designers, planners and building owners or operators to plan for a wide range of natural disasters or disturbances, as well as consider long-term trends affecting building performance such as changing climate conditions. 
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Green Seal Expands Standard for Architectural Coatings

The new Green Seal standard offers greater flexibility for the assessment of VOCs. It also addresses stains and finishes for wood and metal; ensures that certified paints, coatings, stains and sealers deliver satisfactory performance; and restricts a comprehensive list of harmful chemicals. 
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FAQs About the 179D Deduction

Congress created the 179D tax deduction in response to the fact that 70 percent of electricity in this country is consumed by buildings—with nearly half of that attributed to commercial buildings. 179D is a common sense, technologically neutral way of encouraging energy efficiency in these specific types of power-demanding structures.  Read More >

California Implements Energy Benchmarking Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 802 into law, implementing the state’s commercial building benchmarking program and expanding it to cover large multifamily housing. 
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Online Directory Launched for Wood Reuse

The American Wood  Council and Canadian Wood Council have partnered with the Building Materials Reuse Association to develop an online North American directory ( outlining reuse and recycling options for wood and wood products. 
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DOE Defines Zero Energy Buildings

The U.S. Department of Energy released a common definition of a zero energy (or net zero energy) building, stating it is an “energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the onsite renewable exported energy.”
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Sustainability: A Piece of the Collaboration Puzzle

Contractors and materials experts share their take on how to weave sustainability into the overall success of a project.  Read More >

Choosing Collaboration Over Competition

Five AEC stakeholders weigh in on productivity barriers, safety best practices and the industry’s image problem. Read More >

In-Floor Electric Radiant Heat: A Win-Win for Commercial Buildings

In-floor electric radiant heat installed under new floors is a way to offer optional supplemental heating in individual offices and workspaces.  Read More >

Breaking New Ground

Members of the construction industry worry most about three main issues: the workforce shortage, the changing climate, and aligning government and business to advance energy-efficient and high-performance buildings. These issues require solutions, and the solutions likely will change the future of commercial and industrial buildings.
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Energy Star Building Competitors Save 250,000 Metric Tons of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

More than 5,500 individual buildings across the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico competed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s fifth annual Energy Star Battle of the Buildings Competition: Team Challenge. Together, the competitors saved more than $50 million, cut their energy use by more than two billion kBtus, and prevented more than 250,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
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California Energy Commission Adopts Tight Water Standards

The California Energy Commission took emergency action to ensure the toilets, urinals and faucets sold in the state will be the most water-efficient in the country.
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Getting to Zero: What's in Store for Ultra-Efficient Buildings

The dramatically changing economics of renewable energy and private sector investment are accelerating the transition from energy-efficient buildings to those that fully self-generate their energy. These trends and the environmental pressures driving regulations for ultra-efficiency in the built environment signal what the future will look like in 2030 and beyond. 
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Spray Polyurethane Foam: The Swiss Army Knife of Building Code Compliance

With its ability to increase energy efficiency, meet or beat sustainability goals, and form a highly effective heat, air, and moisture control layer, SPF is a proven asset to any contractor’s code compliance efforts. By matching the needs of the structure with the performance of SPF, almost any new or existing commercial building can benefit from SPF.
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USGBC Ranks Top 10 States for LEED

The top 10 states for LEED based on per-capita square footage are Illinois (3.31), Colorado (3.15), Maryland (2.7), Virginia (2.33), Massachusetts (2.2), Hawaii (1.95), California (1.87), Georgia (1.83), Minnesota (1.79), and Arizona and New York (tied at 1.74). Read More >

ENERGY STAR Certifications Awarded for 17 Existing Multifamily Properties

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the first 17 existing multifamily housing properties to earn the new ENERGY STAR multifamily certification for superior energy performance. Previously, only newly constructed multifamily properties could earn certification. Read More >

Army and NREL Launch Net Zero Pilot Program

The U.S. Army is partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on a new Net Zero Energy Installation (NZEI) initiative to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies at nine sites in the Army’s portfolio. If all nine pilot sites achieve net zero energy, they will replace approximately 8 percent of the Army’s current total installation energy use with renewable energy. Read More >

What Steps Have You Taken to Make Your Office and Jobsite Operations More Sustainable, and How Has It Impacted Your Bottom Line?

“Walking the talk” brings attention and recognition to our firm, making us a trusted and respected green organization that goes beyond contracting. Read More >

Municipal Solar Development Heats Up With P3 Models

Municipal solar power development is heating up as more customers demand clean energy and the public seeks to minimize energy costs. One of the ways the construction market is responding to this demand is by offering project delivery through public-private partnerships. Read More >

Report Quantifies Green Buildings’ Impact on Worker Productivity

A report by the World Green Building Council synthesizes hundreds of academic and industry studies covering a range of office design factors, including lighting, thermal comfort and acoustics, interior layout to establish a quantifiable monetary link between sustainable office buildings and occupant wellness and productivity. Read More >

Sustainability Demands of Office Owners and Tenants

In today’s commercial construction market, tenants and building owners have come to expect their offices to be more than just spaces to conduct business. While elements of comfort and aesthetics have always been  part of the equation, these days sustainability is as much a necessity as desks and chairs. Read More >

Softwood Lumber: A Classic Resource Redefining Sustainable Building

There is a need for new and creative sustainable construction materials, and technological developments have helped modified lumber emerge as a smart and sustainable choice. Read More >

Transforming Construction Projects Into Energy-Efficiency Projects

By taking a holistic approach to building design and construction, contractors can transform traditional projects into more cost-effective energy-efficiency projects that improve the bottom line. It’s a big market opportunity that should not to be missed. Read More >

Formaldehyde Emissions: Separating Fact From Fiction

Formaldehyde-emitting construction materials must become part of the sustainable construction conversation. Understanding the range of adhesives currently used to make engineered wood construction materials is critical to construction firm owners and their management teams given the high probability these materials are used in their projects. Read More >

ABC National Office Certified Under New Green Globes Program

The Green Building Initiative certified Associated Builders and Contractors’ 19,380-square-foot national headquarters in Washington, D.C., under its new Green Globes for Sustainable Interiors program. Read More >

The Evolution of Energy-Efficient Insulation

Fiberglass insulation has been used in homes and commercial buildings since the 1960s, and while it still works, a more advanced, energy-efficient alternative has been capturing attention and market share in nonresidential construction: foam panels. Based on a number of qualities, foam panels have proven to lower heating and cooling costs throughout the life of a structure. Read More >

ENERGY STAR Resources Support High-Performance Building Design

In July 2013, the EPA upgraded Portfolio Manager to include a more user-friendly interface, streamlined functionality and enhanced reporting. New features include faster and easier data entry, advanced data-sharing and reporting functions, expanded goal-setting and goal-tracking capabilities, and quick creation of graphs, custom data reports and a variety of template reports. Read More >

Solar Panel Installations: An Electrifying Risk

While solar panel installations offer many positive attributes, such as helping reduce greenhouse gases and electrical costs for the users, they can pose risks to both property and personnel safety. Read More >

The Financial Implications of Tier 4 Implementation

Contractors will see an increase in the cost of Tier 4 equipment, which has been the case during the last few years with the evolution of the products. The 10 percent to 25 percent increase comes from the engine design, build and installation, as well as government requirements.  Read More >

Eight Frequently Asked LEED Questions

Much of LEED is in the details, which can be daunting for general contractors to stay on top of. Following are answers to eight credit requirements that get questioned the most. Read More >

Energy-Efficient Institutional Construction With SIPs

In addition to sealing air in the building, structural insulated panels (SIPs) provide continuous insulation across the panels’ height, width and depth for exceptional thermal performance. Building professionals also rely on the panels for faster construction. Read More >

LEED v4 Addresses Building Performance and User Experience

LEED v4, which the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched in November 2013, represents a technical update to the rating system that offers a better focus on building performance, an improved user experience and a new global perspective. Read More >

High Standards

Roofing contractors in Florida and Massachusetts emphasize safety, technology and sustainability; plus, award-winning problem-solving at a Dallas museum. Read More >

Optimize Energy Performance With the Whole Building Design Guide

Content on is updated regularly to reflect the latest standards, laws and regulations. It is presented at a non-expert level and geared toward team members who need to know enough about a topic to make educated decisions that drive the project’s direction and development. Read More >

Building Envelope Considerations for Food Processing Plants

The selection of essential components that comprise the building envelope—walls, ductwork, roof and interior doors—have a significant impact on a food processing plant's efficiency, durability, safety and sanitation.
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States Announce Sustainable Energy and Transportation Projects

Nearly 60 clean energy and transportation projects that could create 38,600 jobs were announced during the second quarter of 2013. Read More >

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