green building design

Green Building Design Gaining Momentum in 2018

Green district certifications have ramped up slowly over the decade since the US Green Building Council unveiled LEED-Neighborhood Development. Now communities, health advocates, and market forces are driving new developments in sustainable construction. An explosion in certified green buildings has led sustainable-infrastructure advocates to push for more neighborhoods, campuses, business districts, and cities to track and enhance their evolution toward sustainability. Let’s check out the recent news in green building design and see the progress being made toward a net-zero…

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Blocks – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Blocks used for residential and commercial construction employ a wide variety of green building materials in their composition. The most popular and commonly used is the standard hollow concrete block, but there are many variations in shape, weight, and composition. Sand, cement, gravel, and water are the most commonly used elements in blocks, but there is a wide variety in the mix of materials used. This latest article in our series, the ABCs of Green Building Materials, explores the various…

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Aluminum – The ABCs of Green Building Materials

Used in a wide variety of ways in the building construction market, aluminum is a very versatile green building material, especially when it’s recycled. Everything from huge external building structures to delicate window blinds can be manufactured from this lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant metal. Doors, windows, and awnings are popular products made from this material, as well as parking canopies, warehouses, and other commercial outbuildings. Solar panels typically rely on low-weight aluminum framing components in solar installations on residential and commercial…

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The ABCs of Green Building Materials – Adobe (New Series!)

Green building materials are as diverse as Earth itself. Some of the most sustainable materials on the planet are modern inventions, and some are as old as the hills, like adobe. Familiarizing yourself with the best green building materials will help ensure your environmentally friendly projects enjoy sustainable success. Over the next several weeks, watch for new posts in GBE’s new series, “The ABCs of Green Building Materials.” If you have a project in mind highlighting any great green building…

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Top 10 Green Projects 2016

AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) has announced its list of the top 10 green projects for 2016. Biosciences Research Building, Galway Ireland The design of the BRB embraces the moderate climate of Ireland. By locating low-load spaces along the perimeter of the building, the project is able to take advantage of natural ventilation as the sole conditioning strategy for the majority of the year and is supplemented less than 10% of the year with radiant heating. Due to this…

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Wood Design Awards Are Worth Watching

WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council, has announced winners of the 2016 Wood Design Awards, celebrating excellence in non-residential and multi-family wood design. “WoodWorks Wood Design Awards celebrate projects and design teams that showcase the innovative use of wood as both a structural and finish material,” said Jennifer Cover, executive director of WoodWorks/Wood Products Council. Cover stated this awards showcase ranges from mass timber to traditional wood-frame. “This year’s winning projects exemplify wood’s many attributes, from structural performance…

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Designed For The Future: Eco Lodges – Jordan

GBE will be featuring three posts highlighting projects from the recently published book Designed For The Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World. The book asks the question: “What gives you the hope that a sustainable future is possible?” Featuring responses by 80 innovators spanning architecture, urban planning, landscaping, journalism, and also environmental leaders, the resulting book is a compilation of their interesting ideas on how to create a better future. Create models that mix old and new; they will be…

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RELi Resiliency Standards Complement LEED Certification

Doug Pierce is the senior project engineer at Perkins + Will. Over the past 2 1/2 years, he has developed what he calls the RELi resiliency standards as the chief investigator for the Washington, D.C.-based Capital Markets Partnership. “Resiliency is the next step in the entire green ecological design framework,” said Pierce, who is based in Minneapolis. “It’s important because over the past 30 years, we have not acted with foresight relative to the science on climate change or the…

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Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015 Kicks Off

Solar Decathlon 2015, a design and build competition involving university teams from around the globe, kicked off today with keynote speaker US Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz. The Decathlon asks teams to design and build homes powered by the sun that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in, which are judged in several competitions. The homes are on display throughout the competition so spectators can tour them. “These inspiring collegiate teams show the world how energy-efficient building design…

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BluBloc insulated concrete forms

New Insulated Concrete Blocks Made From Recycled Styrofoam

A new company in Portland, Oregon is gearing up to manufacture large quantities of the latest product in the ICF (insulated concrete forms) world. BluBloc offers a twist on standard ICF products – it uses recycled styrofoam instead of manufacturing new for use in the forms. BluBloc is 85% recycled polystyrene foam (styrofoam) and 15% cement. Like other ICF products, the “blocks” interlock to form the outside structure of a building. Cement is then poured inside the forms, creating a…

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Fernhill Eco Center

Ferncliff Eco Center Features Unique Sustainable Flooring Options

Something very unique has happened in Arkansas! The Eco Center at Ferncliff in Little Rock is a volunteer-built straw bale mecca for those looking for sustainable building options. The floors alone are worthy of an article to themselves! First, a bit of background. Ferncliff is a summer camp and conference center owned by a nearby Presbyterian church. The center built the eco building to provide a place where children and adults could learn about sustainable building and living. It features…

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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…

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3 Inspiring Constructions Stories of 2015

Green construction refers to a sustainable building process that is both environmentally friendly and resource responsible. Although it may sound like the most logical way to approach construction, it has rarely been the first choice. When faced with a growing population in need of housing, it has been more convenient for developers to rely on the tried and tested methods that use concrete, steel and machinery. These outdated but reliable methods are responsible for shocking environmental statistics: buildings in the…

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Green Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation can help save up to 50% in energy costs, protect a building from moisture intrusion, and provide sound insulation. In addition, it provides two to three times more insulation that traditional fiberglass. However, according to Environmental Working Group, most common spray polyurethane foam insulation contains methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, or MDI, a synthetic chemical linked to asthma, lung damage and even death. “Because of the chemical’s risks, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has set the maximum legal…

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Eco classroom at Benenden School

Eco Classroom Gets Drinking Water From Green Roof

This 230 square foot eco classroom, built in the trees at the Benenden School in Kent, United Kingdom, is in demand from students and faculty alike because of its view and its interesting construction. Built by treehouse builders Blue Forest, the classroom is completely self-sufficient, using solar power for electricity and water harvested from its green roof. Rainwater falls on the sedum (rock flowers) green roof, is collected, and then run through six reverse osmosis filters and a UV light…

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