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World’s Greenest Senior Living Community Opens in Seattle

By Lloyd Alter

It is a sad fact of architecture that buildings rarely look as good in reality as they do in the renderings. The Aegis Living Lake Union assisted living community in Seattle flouts this convention; it looks better in reality than in the renderings. Treehugger covered it when it broke ground because it was designed to achieve certification under the Living Building Challenge (LBC), which is possibly the world’s toughest green building standard.


High-tech wooden cities could fight fire, climate change, study says

By Saul Elbein

Future cities composed of fire-resistant, high-tech wooden buildings could help counter the climate impacts of the coming urbanization boom, a new paper suggests.
The study in Nature Communications builds on a growing architectural and engineering movement that sees wood as not only a more sustainable building material than concrete and steel — but in many ways a superior one.


Finally, a heat-pump water heater that plugs into a standard outlet

By Jeff St. John

Last month’s launch of Rheem’s ProTerra 120-volt heat pump water heater might not seem like a big step forward in the fight against climate change. In terms of home electrification accessories, it’s not as sexy as a rooftop solar array, Tesla Powerwall battery or Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.


The Fuzzy Math of Net-Zero Is Under Attack

By Lloyd Alter

The concept of net-zero has troubled us at Treehugger for some time. We first discussed it in terms of architecture and building, where, according to the International Living Future Institute’s definition, “One hundred percent of the project’s energy needs being supplied by onsite renewable energy on a net annual basis.” But in our post, “The Grid is Not a Bank,” I quoted Passivhaus architect Bronwyn Barry, who wrote, “The reality is that the grid does not have the capacity to store all excess energy generated in summer, so buildings employing this ‘fuzzy math’ still require that the grid supply their winter deficit.”


Greens ask EPA to ban new natural gas heating

By Rachel Frazin

Environmental advocates are asking the Biden administration for a federal ban on new natural gas-powered heating appliances in homes and commercial buildings.

In a petition submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday, 26 health, environmental and consumer protection organizations asked the agency for the ban.


Master of all trades: retrofit firm tackles climate and cost of living crises

By Alex King

Like many others, Orianne Landers left school feeling it had failed to prepare her for the challenges of life. “I did OK at GCSE and A-level. But the subjects I took aren’t much help to me now. I took English and drama, which helped with confidence,” she says. “But they’re not as useful as you think they’re going to be.”


The Greenest Building Is Flexible, Adaptable, and Universal

By Lloyd Alter

British architect Robert Adam’s article in Building Design has a brilliant title: “The Elefante in the Room.” It is a reference to the famous statement by American architect Carl Elefante back in 2007: “The greenest building is the one that already exists.” It’s been quoted many times on Treehugger so it goes without saying we are in agreement. Adam suggests it should be adapted when planning new buildings as well, something like:


Green-ifying your home is about to get lots cheaper

By Alex Fitzpatrick

Homeowners interested in adding rooftop solar panels, installing heat pumps and otherwise green-ifying their houses have plenty to like in the big climate, health and tax package likely to pass Congress in the coming days.
Why it matters: For consumers, the bill — called the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — has an array of rebates and tax breaks that will reduce green tech's upfront costs. That tech, in turn, generally leads to lower long-term energy bills, among other benefits.


Chicago’s city-owned buildings will shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025

By Matt Hickman

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this week that her administration’s plan to purchase clean, renewable energy for all city-owned facilities and operations by 2025 will move ahead following the finalization of a $422 million contract with Baltimore-headquartered Constellation Energy in collaboration with Swift Current Energy, headquartered in Boston.


The search for an AC that doesn’t destroy the planet

By Rebecca Heilweil

Amid a growing number of heat waves, air conditioners have become a lifeline. Because these appliances are critical to keeping people cool — and protecting them from dangerously hot weather — the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that there may be more than 5 billion air conditioners across the planet by 2050. The problem is that while air conditioners do keep people safe, they’re also a major contributor to climate change.