Sustainability

Waste Rating System Unveiled for Businesses

Companies and facilities have an updated tool to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals through project certification and professional credentialing. The TRUE Zero Waste rating system helps organizations understand how materials flow through their facilities, as well as set benchmarks, track performance, educate employees and identify opportunities for products to be reused. TRUE-certified projects—of which there are 88 around the world—meet a minimum of 90 percent waste diversion for 12 months from landfills, incinerators or the environment. 
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Residential Green Building Continues to Gain Traction

At least one-third of single-family and multifamily builders say green building represents more than 60 percent of their portfolio, according to a new SmartMarket Brief from Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders. Within that group, nearly 30 percent of multifamily builders are “dedicated” to green building, meaning it comprises more than 90 percent of their portfolio. 
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Oklahoma Will Be Home to Largest U.S. Wind Farm

Work is under way on the 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher facility in the Oklahoma panhandle—set to be the largest wind farm in the United States and the second biggest in the world. It will generate electricity for more than 1 million customers in the South Central United States via 800 turbines. 
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A Renewed Focus on Resiliency in Wood Construction

In light of several recent natural disasters affecting North America, there is renewed focus on the resiliency of buildings. Because ongoing development will increase the total number of buildings exposed to these extreme weather events, the construction industry must play an active role in enhancing resiliency.
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Sealing in Building Performance: Innovations Spark New Opportunities for Energy Savings

With the development of aerosol-based sealing, the tide has begun to turn on duct leakage. During the past six years or so, hundreds of commercial buildings across the country (and the world) have solved previously unsolvable ventilation issues, energy waste concerns, poor indoor air quality and other factors directly related to duct leakage. 
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Market Overview: Creating Sustainable Growth With Surety Bonds

Changes in the surety market have created opportunities for construction companies across the nation to achieve controlled and sustainable growth. 

A construction company must establish a strong network with legal and accounting professionals in order to be successful, but building a relationship with a surety bonding company places a contractor in a caliber of its own. Bonding capacity and prequalification transform businesses and help them prosper. 
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The Federal Preemption Bind on Local Energy Policy

When it comes to energy efficiency in buildings, rapid technological advances are being undermined by outdated regulations. Decades-old federal laws currently prohibit states from setting energy standards for some of the most modern appliances, including heating and cooling systems and water heating equipment. 

Industry lobbyists working in Washington, D.C., set the standards, which bind states and cities from moving to more stringent rules in local energy codes than the current federal mandate. This “preemption” effect presents a major barrier to reducing energy waste for many states and jurisdictions in pursuit of better energy performance in building stock and achieving climate action goals. 
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Stay Compliant With the Updated NPDES Permit

During the past decade, lawsuits arising from violations of federal and state environmental regulations have made environmental compliance a critical topic. In particular, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit covering stormwater discharges from construction activities has been a major issue for the construction industry. 
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Four Common Paths to Transitioning Ownership

Throughout the next decade, numerous baby boomers who own construction businesses will retire and exit the marketplace. For many, a good portion of their personal wealth is tied up in the business. To maximize financial gain upon retirement, owners will benefit from a well-planned transition strategy.
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The New Advantages of Tin-plated Roofing

In addition to lasting 40 or more years depending on the material, metal roofing is significantly lighter in weight than standard tiles, 100 percent recyclable, and will not spark or flame during fires or if hit by lightning. 
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Stop Neglecting Energy-consuming Elevators

A primary consumer of energy is one of the most neglected by building professionals: elevators. They can devour as much as 10 percent of a building’s energy. If ignored, elevators can quickly become an environmental and economic drain. 
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Navigating Renewable Energy Project Agreements

Successful negotiation of engineering and construction agreements in the renewable sector depends on the unique characteristics of each proposed project, as well as the thorough assessment and allocation of risks. 
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For Sustainable, Renewable Construction Materials: The Future Is CLT

Cross laminated timber is gaining recognition, and it won’t be long before this product is accepted as a common building material that delivers great results.
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Metal Buildings: Green Made Easy

Metal buildings are an easy, cost-effective choice when going green, thanks to their efficient use of materials and labor and the steel’s high quantity of recycled content. However, documenting their savings and efficiency while keeping up with various sustainability codes and rating systems is an ever-changing and difficult task.
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Atlanta and Chicago Make Renewable Energy Pledges

The Atlanta City Council unanimously approved a pledge to commit the city to reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Municipal buildings must reach that goal by 2025. Atlanta is now the largest Southeastern city with a 100 percent clean energy goal, followed by St. Petersburg, Fla., according to Sierra Club. 


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Open Data Makes Sustainable Structures More Achievable

The demand for sustainability and efficiency associated with new construction and renovation projects is higher than ever, as monthly energy costs constitute an ever-increasing percentage of total building life cycle expenses due to rising utility rates. As a result, sustainable construction practices promoting net-zero building designs have become a prevalent industry objective. However, peak sustainability is rarely accomplished due to the high costs and a lack of resources available in the early stages of design and planning.  
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BREEAM Breaks Into the U.S. Market

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) has been an integral part of the worldwide green building industry for many years, yet it only broke into the U.S. marketplace last October. The journey began 97 years ago, when the Building Research Establishment (BRE) was founded as an academic and science-based government organization in the United Kingdom. It has since been privatized and created the first green building standard, BREEAM, in 1990. All green building rating systems have their roots in BREEAM, including LEED. Today, nearly 3 million buildings have been registered and more than 500,000 have been certified under BREEAM.
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Global Entertainment Venues Embrace LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council released its “LEED in Motion: Venues” report, which highlights the green strategies and savings of more than 30 LEED-certified convention centers, sports venues, performing arts centers, community centers and public assembly spaces.
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New CO2-Eating Concrete Takes Less Energy to Produce

An engineering and materials science professor at Rutgers University has created an eco-friendly, lightweight concrete using reactive hydrothermal liquid-phase densification (rHLPD), a process that models the generative design behavior of shellfish, to create organic ceramics while submerged in water. 
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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, buildingwithchemistry.org, 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 (reusewood.org) 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 >
 

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