Before you think further about solar panels you might look into this incredible resource…

Green Architecture

GREEN ARCHITECTURE

Sustainable architecture refers to buildings designed to limit humanity’s impact on the environment. An eco-friendly approach to modern-day building encompasses every aspect of the planning and construction process, including the choice of building materials; the design and implementation of heating, cooling, plumbing, waste, and ventilation systems; and the integration of the built environment into the natural landscape.

Many of the practices and principles used in sustainable architecture are rooted in ancient building techniques, that were transformed with the rise of modern materials and mass production in the industrial age. The modern consciousness about the need for sustainable architecture can be traced back over 50 years to the anniversary of the first Earth Day, the international environmental movement, and the ensuing legislation that it sparked across the globe.

But the world is now in the midst of a climate change emergency, and many of the environmental laws that were passed in the last 50 years have been rolled back making it even more imperative for designers, architects, builders, and consumers to demand better building practices to help combat the damage caused by one of the most polluting industries on the planet. In the United States, for example, buildings account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

It is equally incumbent upon municipalities to strengthen their building codes to require more net-zero buildings, both residential and commercial.  As more and more municipalities shift to electricity from fossil fuels to energize their buildings, it will become critical to expand the availability of renewable energy to pump into that electricity.

CURRENT NEWS

New Sustainable Florida Homes Survived Hurricane–as Nearby Homes Were Devastated–and Never Lost Power

By Andy Corbley 02/22/24
These cute little Florida townhomes are tougher than they look. While they may be as green as a budding daffodil, they have a backbone like reinforced concrete.
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Texan builds stunning ‘passive house’ that uses 75% less electricity than most homes: ‘The best way to build’

By Laurelle Stelle 02/08/24
Passive houses are made to be as airtight and insulated as possible. This helps lock in the comfortable temperature inside, protecting residents from both heat and cold, while dramatically lowering the need for heating and…
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Building in paradise

02/05/24
An open house facing the beautiful Caribbean landscape. A house where the concept of inside-outside is constantly being questioned. A garden that penetrates, that climbs. The greenish blue waters of the Caribbean Sea merge with…
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How to convert your home into a small power plant, and make your money back doing it

By Alexa Coultoff 01/30/24
Mathew Tuttelman decided he was never going to pay a utility bill again — no gas, oil, or outside electricity to heat, cool, or power his 3,500-square-foot home. He was going to build a net-zero…
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Climate-friendly homes offer Grand Ronde’s tribal elders affordability and comfort against climate change

By Monica Samayoa 01/17/24
In a corner lot between Highway 22 and Grand Ronde Road sit 24 newly built single-family homes. These homes look like many that are being built in Oregon right now as the state tries to…
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Ancient Elements Of Cool

By Philip Kennicott and Sima Diab 12/28/23
From the mosque in this dusty desert village, you can see the wide terraces and austere columns of one of Egypt’s premier tourist destinations, the Temple of Hatshepsut, baking far in the distance. It’s late…
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The easy way to save up to 20 percent on your heating bill this winter

By Allyson Chiu 11/24/23
With temperatures dipping in many parts of the country, people are probably bracing for their utility bills to climb as they crank up the heat in their homes.
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World’s largest energy-efficient ‘passive house’ office building opens in Boston

By David Abel 11/16/23
From a distance, the new skyscraper looks like any other generic glass tower looming over downtown Boston. But it’s the bowels of the building — in its curtains of glass, in its thickly insulated walls,…
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The Definitive Guide to Guest Houses and ADUs

10/27/23
As housing prices and living costs continue to rise, more homeowners are ditching the hassle and uncertainty of house hunting and finding ways to make their current home fit their needs. Prefabricated secondary living spaces…
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Old U.S. government buildings get a second life fighting climate change

By Maxine Joselow 10/12/23
Robin Carnahan cruised a Ford F-150 electric pickup truck through a seemingly endless maze of federal buildings.
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These 3D-printed homes take just 4 days to build — here’s how they could solve one state’s massive housing shortage

By Roberto Guerra 10/07/23
A recyclable 3D-printed home made from natural materials has been revealed to the public, and this may only be the beginning.
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Worried About Living in a Flood Zone? Try a House That Floats.

By Ronda Kaysen 09/29/23
As sea levels rise and storms worsen, threatening the planet’s fragile coastlines, some architects and developers are looking to the water not as a looming threat, but as a frontier for development.
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KEY RESOURCES

SIPs for High-Performance Enclosures: Faster, Better, and Greater Value

12/21/23
We are proud to feature the Structured Insulated Panel Association, one of our valued sponsors. “We have a visibly obvious crisis in our industry—a lack of innovation in home framing,” said Sam Rashkin, author of…

5 Ways Community Solar Empowers Solar for All

07/06/23
Solar power is a long-lasting and cost-cutting renewable energy solution, but installing a home solar panel system isn’t feasible for everyone. Luckily, the benefits of solar aren’t limited to those who have panels on their…

EEBA

06/20/22
EEBA's mission is to advance the leading edge of building science knowledge and sustainable business practices in the residential construction community through education, sharing and collaboration. Together let's build healthy, electric, resilient, and decarbonized homes!

Energy Efficient Building Suppliers Make It Easy

05/16/22
Energy-efficient building is much more than a fleeting trend: Around the world, the negative effects of climate change can no longer be ignored, from rising global temperatures to poor air quality caused by pollution. According…

How solar power works

02/11/22
Solar energy is quickly becoming a more popular and affordable power source for homeowners and businesses. With residential solar energy, you can lower your carbon footprint and see substantial cost savings.

Creating safe, healthy & affordable communities through all-electric, Clean energy ​homes & buildings

02/02/22
The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to power our nation's homes and workspaces with clean energy.

Infographic: Top 10 States for LEED in 2021

01/26/22
The ranking highlights U.S. leaders in sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings. Now in its 12th year, the annual Top 10 States for LEED list is based on the gross square footage of LEED-certified…

Beware of the Red List – Top Materials to Avoid in Your Home

01/07/22
“The Red List” might sound like something from the Cold War. But the Red List has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with chemistry. The Red List is actually a list of…

The Promise of Carbon-Neutral Steel

09/18/21
teel production accounts for around seven per cent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. There are two reasons for this startling fact. First, steel is made using metallurgic methods that our Iron Age forebears would find familiar;…

Buildings and Climate Change

08/20/21
Buildings Account for 39% of CO2 emissions in the United States The commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States per year, more than any other…

Facts about the Climate Emergency

08/20/21
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide an objective source of scientific information on climate change.

Sustainable Design

08/20/21
Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize…

Visualizing Our City’s Energy Use

07/22/21
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation used the City of Pittsburgh to create a model built upon the design, materials and purpose of commercial…

Achieving zero carbon through design and planning

07/09/21
A carbon neutral built environment begins with design and planning. Architecture 2030 is dedicated to empowering this sector to meet the 2030 Challenge targets and achieve a carbon neutral built environment by 2040. Architecture 2030…

The Six Disabled Veteran Housing Los Angeles, CA

06/15/21
The SIX is a 52-unit affordable housing project provides a home, support services and rehabilitation for disabled veterans. It is located in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. McArthur Park has one of the…

2020 COTE® Top Ten Awards

06/14/21
The 2020 COTE® Top Ten program highlights projects that meet the AIA Committee on the Environment's rigorous criteria for social, economic, and ecological value. The COTE® Top Ten Plus designation denotes projects with exemplary performance…

Stone Edge Farm

06/14/21
Imagine a lush, self-sustaining island that generates clean electricity, grows organic food and wine grapes, re-uses water, and creates fuel for zero emission vehicles.

Global Warming Has Concrete Problem When It Comes to CO2

05/19/21
Concrete is a major contributor to the climate crisis because its production releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and methane are the two greenhouse gas most responsible for global warming.

LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities

05/11/21
A new way forward for resilient, green, inclusive and smart cities, LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities provides cities and communities with a globally consistent way to measure and communicate performance. LEED v4.1 expands…

A Pocket Guide to All-Electric Retrofits of Single-Family Homes

02/01/21
Welcome! This booklet is intended to be a simple “how-to” guide to help homeowners, home renters, utilities and policy makers who want to replace existing gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives, many of which are…

Green Infrastructure

06/10/20
Integrated Planning for Your Community's Future

California Solar Data Current Through: Q4 2019

03/28/20
California has the largest solar market in the U.S. and has been a longtime champion of solar because of the many economic and environmental benefits it provides, including $57 billion in investment in the state.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

01/30/20
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) develops and protects the market by increasing the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs, green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education,…

AIA: The 2030 Commitment

12/20/19
The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can…

Zero Net Energy Buildings with Zero Net Added Cost

10/22/19
Would you consider making your next home or building project a zero energy project? If the net added cost to you was also zero, would you be more interested? Most people would. It’s possible to…

Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design

12/19/19
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is changing the way we think about how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. Leaders around the world have made LEED the most widely…

MORE NEWS

A Young Architect’s Designs for the Climate Apocalypse

By Sam Knight   09/18/23  
At the end of his first year at the architecture school of the Royal Danish Academy, Pavels Hedström went on a class trip to Japan. Hedström, a twenty-five-year-old undergraduate, revered Japanese culture and aesthetics, even…
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The Incredible Shrinking Energy Use of a Light Bulb

By Nathaniel Bullard   09/07/23  
Last month, new lighting energy efficiency rules took hold in the US, requiring new light fixtures to provide at least 45 lumens per watt of electrical input. While that does not ban incandescent bulbs per…
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Homes of the future may be disaster-proof domes

By Cuneyt Dil and Megan Rose Dickey   08/09/23  
More people are talking about dome homes and disaster-proof designs as a solution to threats familiar to Californians, like earthquakes and fires.
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First look: Culdesac brings car-free living to car-centric Phoenix

By Jessica Boehm   08/02/23  
In a metro that's been called "sprawling," "car-centric" and "the world's least sustainable city," one new development stands in steadfast defiance.
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Is the Tesla Solar Roof Worth It?

By Schalk Cloete   08/01/23  
I recently saw an interesting video on the Tesla Solar Roof from a famous YouTube tech reviewer, Marques Brownlee. As an energy system specialist, I’ve long been curious about the value proposition of such systems.
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North American City Sustainability Study 2023

08/01/23  
The impact of climate change is top of mind for real estate investors and occupiers. Nearly 70% of the more than 500 commercial real estate professionals participating in a recent CBRE global survey cited reducing…
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This Development Wants Residents to Ditch Their Cars. In Phoenix

By Ira Boudway   07/31/23  
Three years ago Robert Chaffeur, a retiree living in the suburbs of Tacoma, Washington, was looking for a new place to live when he saw an online ad for Culdesac Tempe. Billed as “the first…
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Here’s how Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse would need to be redesigned to survive as California gets even warmer

By Li Cohen   07/20/23  
Barbie's home may be a Dreamhouse, but as her state of California continues to experience a brutal heat wave sending temperatures to the triple digits, it may not be a dream setup for long. But…
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As Climate Shocks Multiply, Designers Seek Holy Grail: Disaster-Proof Homes

By Christopher Flavelle   07/18/23  
Jon duSaint, a retired software engineer, recently bought property near Bishop, Calif., in a rugged valley east of the Sierra Nevada. The area is at risk for wildfires, severe daytime heat and high winds —…
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Cement warms the planet. This green version just got a key nod of approval

By Dino Grandoni   07/13/23  
Companies are finding more environmentally friendly ways to make cement, which accounts for about a twelfth of global carbon dioxide emissions, making it worse for the climate than flying.
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Pilot project uses volcanic ash to make cement

By YCC Team   07/12/23  
Heavy volcanic ash blanketed much of the island, covering streets, yards, and farm fields. And it caused structural damage to thousands of homes.
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How $90 million could help U.S. buildings withstand climate disasters

By Maxine Joselow   07/12/23  
When Hurricane Ida battered Louisiana, strong winds ripped the roofs off tens of thousands of homes. But today, the Biden administration is hoping a simple fix could save homes in that state — and others…
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To Help Cool a Hot Planet, the Whitest of White Coats

By Cara Buckley   07/12/23  
Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, didn’t set out to make it into the Guinness World Records when he began trying to make a new type of paint. He had a…
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How local-level laws can protect trees during construction

By YCC Team   07/07/23  
Large trees bring a lot of benefits to cities. They offer shade and local cooling and help reduce stormwater runoff. So they can help urban areas adapt to climate change.
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Strengthening a Minnesota Community with Solar and Resilience

By Gabe Epstein   07/06/23  
Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood is a community of approximately 6,000 residents, most of whom have a household income of less than $35,000 annually. To support economic stability and energy resilience in this neighborhood, Duluth-based nonprofit…
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U.S. EPA Launches $7 Billion Program To Bring Solar Energy to Low-Income Households

By ESG News   06/29/23  
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a $7 billion grant competition through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to increase access to affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy for millions of low-income households. Residential…
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Many of Canada’s greenest apartments are ultra-affordable. Here’s why

By Emily Chung and Alice Hopton   06/18/23  
Think you can't afford an eco-home? Some of Canada's greenest apartments go for as little as $85 per month — thanks to social housing providers who have embraced energy efficiency standards and green building techniques.
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The new war on bad air

By Emily Anthes   06/17/23  
In January 1912, in the depths of a New York City winter, an unusual new apartment complex opened on the Upper East Side.The East River Homes were designed to help poor families fend off tuberculosis,…
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How air conditioners will have to change in the future

By Shannon Osaka   06/09/23  
“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” That’s what people say in the summer, when stepping outside feels like being enveloped in a thick, puréed soup. When sweat — the body’s natural cooling mechanism —…
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Cities, states increasingly base building performance standards on carbon emissions: report

By Ysabelle Kempe   06/08/23  
The number of U.S. jurisdictions adopting building performance standards has nearly doubled since 2020, with legislation enacted in three states and nine localities, according to a report published last month by the nonprofit research organization…
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NYC skyscrapers turning to carbon capture to lessen climate change

By Cathy Bussewitz   05/15/23  
From the outside, the residential high-rise on Manhattan’s Upper West Side looks pretty much like any other luxury building: A doorman greets visitors in a spacious lobby adorned with tapestry and marble.
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A House That Is as Green as It Gets

By Zahid Sardar   05/04/23  
Eleven years ago, Sally Liu, a water-resources engineer, and her husband Bay Chang, then a senior research scientist for Google, bought a 0.84-acre lot for $2.675 million in suburban Hillsborough, Calif. Avid environmentalists in their…
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Washington’s updated building codes seen as vital tool to fight climate change

By Lauren Ellenbecker   04/09/23  
Updating building codes might just be one of Washington’s most promising tools in combating climate change.
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Inside a $110M plan to turn NYC apartments into virtual power plants

By Jeff St. John   03/28/23  
In New York City, the path to decarbonization runs through apartments. The city has more than 2 million rental housing units, most in high-rise or multistory buildings. Buildings at large account for nearly three-quarters of…
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Biden administration to require more efficient window air conditioners, air cleaners

By Rachel Frazin   03/23/23  
The Biden administration is finalizing more stringent efficiency requirements for both window air conditioners and portable air cleaners on Thursday, the first set of efficiency standards that are new and not just a reversal of…
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What’s Holding Up New York’s Climate Progress? Apartment Buildings.

By Stefanos Chen and Winston Choi-Schagrin   03/10/23  
Craig Hart is troubled by a multimillion-dollar puzzle: How to get his condo building to conform with the city’s sweeping new climate law before potentially steep penalties begin next year.
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New Skyscraper, Built to Be an Environmental Marvel, Is Already Dated

By Ben Ryder Howe   02/14/23  
One Vanderbilt, a commanding new skyscraper in the heart of Manhattan, seems to be reaching for the future. One of the world’s tallest buildings, it pierces the sky like an inverted icicle and fuses seamlessly…
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Does Your Home Have Backup Power? We Want to Hear From You.

By Peter Eavis   02/08/23  
Sales of generators and home batteries are up as people look to protect themselves from power outages, which are becoming more common....
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Here’s 3 Ways To Cut The Carbon Out Of Cement Right Now

By Mike Scott   02/07/23  
Concrete is not just the most common man-made material on earth, and the most widely used material after water, it is also one of the most polluting when it comes to carbon emissions.
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Heat pumps are defying Maine’s winters and oil industry pushback

By Anna Phillips   02/07/23  
The video starts with a Maine radio show host dressed in a bright red jumpsuit walking through the snow to a stranger’s door and delighting her with an offer of free heating oil. “My name’s…
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We Earthlings: Make the Switch to LED Light Bulbs

By Earth911   02/07/23  
“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with one LED bulb that has earned the ENERGY STAR, we would save about $580 million in energy costs and prevent 7 billion pounds of greenhouse…
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Zero Energy Ready Homes Are Coming to a Neighborhood Near You

01/27/23  
Alejandro Moreno is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).
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This Maine home can stay 70 degrees without a furnace, even when it’s freezing outside

By Keith Shortall   01/25/23  
What if you could design a house that on a cold day in January would stay at 70 degrees inside — without running the furnace? Or even having a furnace? It's already being done. In…
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Cement industry accounts for about 8% of CO2 emissions. One startup seeks to change that.

By Ben Tracy and Analisa Novak   01/16/23  
Cement is the most widely-used substance on Earth after water. When mixed with water, it forms concrete that becomes the backbone of buildings, roads, dams and bridges.
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Why everyone is going to need a heat pump

By Robert Gebelhoff   01/04/23  
The bad: You’re going to want to replace that system with heat pumps eventually, and it might be expensive. The good: The government can help you, and the change will have huge benefits for you…
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The Key to Green Building Is to Use Less Stuff

By Lloyd Alter   12/21/22  
Making cement emits a lot of carbon dioxide: Every year more than four billion tons of cement are used to build highways, bridges, apartments, and office buildings. Steel is just as bad, with 1.6 billion…
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Indoor Living Walls Can Boost The Health Of Workers, Study Finds

By Jamie Hailstone   12/08/22  
Air-circulating indoor green or living walls can improve the skin quality and immune system of office workers in less than a month, according to a new study. The study by Finnish scientists is first of…
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EPA to further slash emissions from climate super-pollutants

By Allyson Chiu   10/20/22  
The latest actions aim to reduce emissions from chemicals that can be thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming the planet.
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Researchers Find Benzene and Other Dangers in Gas Piped to California Homes

By Elena Shao   10/20/22  
The gas that is piped into millions of California homes contains hazardous air pollutants including benzene, a chemical linked to cancer, a new study found.
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Meet the multimillion-dollar building deliberately built to drown

By Jim Morrison   10/12/22  
As coastal cities wrestle with increasing threats from rising waters, a nonprofit’s costly new headquarters offers an answer that is both defiant and prescient. The Elizabeth River Project’s $8.1 million headquarters on a flood plain…
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Babcock Ranch: Solar-powered “hurricane-proof” town takes direct hit from Hurricane Ian, never loses electricity

10/09/22  
While hard-hit Fort Myers, Florida, continues its recovery from Hurricane Ian, some hope can be found 12 miles to the northeast at the planned community of Babcock Ranch. That's where Syd Kitson and his partners…
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How to Recycle a 14-Story Office Tower

By Jessica Camille Aguirre   10/06/22  
When the Dutch National Bank moved into its Amsterdam headquarters in 1968, the new buildings were epic and stylish. A sprawling Modernist landmark that took up an entire city block off the banks of the…
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Life Elevated: Architects Adapt Design to FEMA Regulations

By Michelle Trauring   09/28/22  
Line, space, texture, value, color, shape and form. These building blocks of architectural design are critical to the flow, balance and harmony of any given home — seven guiding principles for architects to consider and…
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California Moves to Ban Natural Gas Furnaces and Heaters by 2030

Angel Adegbesan   09/23/22  
California is committing to a plan that will make it the first US state to phase out gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters in homes, a move environmentalists are betting will provide a template for other…
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How an effort to reduce fossil fuel use led to another environmental problem: light pollution

By Sumeet Kulkarni   09/20/22  
In 2014, Los Angeles cut its annual carbon emissions by 43% and saved $9 million in energy costs by replacing the bulbs in more than half of the city’s street lamps with light-emitting diodes. That…
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World’s Greenest Senior Living Community Opens in Seattle

By Lloyd Alter   08/31/22  
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…
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High-tech wooden cities could fight fire, climate change, study says

By Saul Elbein   08/30/22  
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…
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Finally, a heat-pump water heater that plugs into a standard outlet

By Jeff St. John   08/29/22  
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…
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The Fuzzy Math of Net-Zero Is Under Attack

By Lloyd Alter   08/26/22  
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…
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Greens ask EPA to ban new natural gas heating

By Rachel Frazin   08/23/22  
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…
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