Building Materials, Fossil Fuels’ Ugly Cousin

We still live in a time when we do plenty things that are very harmful to our planet. It seems we’re all aware that fossil fuels like oil and coal create a considerable portion of our greenhouse gas pollution. But many people don’t understand that we also do a lot of harm to our planet with the materials we use to build and remodel our homes and buildings. If you examine some our most prominent building materials, it quickly becomes obvious…

Read More
Green roof maintenance

Green Roof Maintenance Is Key to Roof Integrity and Longevity

Green roofs are all the rage in urban areas around the globe. However, many don’t understand the constant need to maintain these roofs so they don’t become overgrown and potentially damage the very building they are a part of. Green roof maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult, but a plan must be developed. Many jurisdictions, such as Toronto, Canada, are now requiring a maintenance plan to be submitted when getting a permit for a green roof. In Washington, DC, rooftop…

Read More

SunBeamer Skylight System Provides Natural Light Indoors, Promotes Vitamin D Production

SunCentral has announced the release of a new skylight system that claims to promote vitamin D production by providing natural sunlight in interior spaces that would not normally see sunlight. “Our goal was to develop an indoor lighting system that provides much of the sun’s health benefits, including boosting the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, while reducing the intensity of wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light that are more harmful than beneficial,” said the system’s co-inventor, Lorne Whitehead, Ph.D., professor…

Read More

Tenant Star Program Recognizes Energy Efficient Office Spaces

  The US Congress and President Obama recently approved a bill that would establish the Tenant Star Program to recognize office spaces that implement energy efficiency measures, saving money and the environment. The Tenant Star Program will be a part of the current Energy Star Program for buildings, providing incentives to encourage tenants in office buildings to install energy-reducing fixtures and systems. It will be the first government-endorsed label in the United States to recognize leased spaces within commercial buildings for…

Read More
Dunbarton High School is the greenest school on the earth

Dunbarton High School Is the Greenest School on Earth

Dunbarton High School in Pickering, Ontario, Canada has been selected as the 2015 Greenest School on Earth by the Global Coalition for Green Schools. Dunbarton High School, built in the 1960s, has undergone a significant retrofit over the past five years, installing new energy-efficient windows, insulation and lower wattage lighting. The school offers a Specialist High Skills Major in Environment and engages students through coursework and extracurricular activities related to the school’s natural surroundings. Also a winner of the 2014…

Read More
LEED certified parking structure

LEED Helps Companies Show Corporate Responsibility

The world’s top-performing companies are prioritizing sustainability as part of their corporate responsibility efforts, and a majority of them are using LEED to help them achieve their goals, according to a survey released by the U.S. Green Building Council. The study looked at Fortune 200 companies, most of them users of LEED and members of USGBC. “We launched LEED 15 years ago so that the world’s leading businesses would have a tool that would deliver the immediate, measureable results they need…

Read More
Bullitt Center Earns Living Building Certification

Bullitt Center Earns Living Building Certification

The Bullitt Center has proven its status as the greenest commercial building in the world by becoming the first office building to earn Living Building certification, the most challenging benchmark of sustainability in the built environment. To earn the certification, the Bullitt Center demonstrated that it produces more electricity from solar panels on its roof than occupants use in a year. In addition, toxic chemicals were screened from all building materials and all wood was Forest Stewardship Council certified. Its…

Read More
Bullitt Center

Net Zero Case Study: Bullitt Center – Changing the Status Quo

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, is one of the most self-sufficient buildings on the planet. It is net zero energy and, after the water reuse system is approved by city authorities, net zero water. Net zero means that the building uses the same amount as it creates or generates – it is self-sufficient. In a series of posts here on GBE, we will look at what makes this building tick. Policy Changes As we’ve seen in this series, the…

Read More
Prefabricated skyscraper Sky City in China

Prefabricated Construction Goes BIG

Up until now, prefabricated buildings and building sections have been used to build homes and other small structures. In China, however, they are taking things BIG – constructing a skyscraper at the rate of three floors per day! What is prefab? Prefabricated construction, or prefab, involves constructing portions of a building (walls, wall sections, roofs, floors) off-site (usually indoors), then transporting those sections to the job site where they are assembled quickly into the finished building. Prefab is green because…

Read More
wood beams

Building Material of the Future – Wood?

No, the headline is not a typo. Wood is going to places it’s never been before – up! The T3 project (which stands for “Timber, Technology, and Transit”) in Minnesota will be the tallest wood-framed building in the United States at seven stories. The 210,000 square foot office building is causing a bit of an uproar around the country. “This building is very unique,” Vancouver architect Michael Green says. “It is the first large-scale office building built of timber in…

Read More
Bullitt Center in Seattle

Net Zero Case Study: Bullitt Center — Water

The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington, is one of the most self-sufficient buildings on the planet. It is net zero energy and, after the water reuse system is approved by city authorities, net zero water. Net zero means that the building uses the same amount as it creates or generates – it is self-sufficient. In a series of posts here on GBE, we will look at what makes this building tick. Rainwater Catchment System Rainwater falling on the PV panel…

Read More

This WWII-era Bomb Shelter is Now a Vacation Resort

Imagine you’re trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Or- wait! Even better; imagine that you’re a Europen nation just after WWII. Your country has just survived a brutal war, and you’ve got all kinds of forts, trenches, and guns lying around, but not too many hotels left standing. You need tourism dollars to help you rebuild, of course- but, how do you attract vacationers when your whole country is still built for war? You convert a bomb bunker into a vacation…

Read More
×