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Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 27, 2016 9:00:13 AM

If you care about the environment, if you question the suitability of current development models, if you want to take an active part in the transition to a sustainable future—don’t miss the opportunity to join with other thought leaders at the Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything.

Every once in a while, an occasion arises that allows us to meaningfully shape the course of the future.  A watershed moment that sets a new direction for an industry, a society, a nation. 

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Scientists Warn Negative Emissions Are a ‘Moral Hazard’

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Oct 24, 2016 10:26:25 AM

Both negative emissions and drastic greenhouse gas pollution cuts are necessary in order to keep climate change in check.

Removing carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic may be a fool’s game amounting to a “moral hazard par excellence,” according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Science.

Nobody knows if atmospheric carbon removal — known as negative emissions — will work, and it could delay critical cuts to emissions while tacitly giving people license to pollute, the paper says.

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White Paper: Formaldehyde from Building Products Can Offgass for Years

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Oct 21, 2016 8:45:19 AM

Researching on indoor air pollution recently, I discovered this study from 2005 on the "half-life" of formaldehyde in homes, based on the age of the house and the types of materials used. It makes for thought-provoking reading. Here's the abstract and a link:

"Decay is the decrease in formaldehyde concentrations in homes or the decrease in emissions from formaldehyde containing products over time. The decrease in formaldehyde concentrations over time (decay) in home studies is typically determined by associating formaldehyde concentrations by home age. The average half life in such studies is highly variable, varying from about 1 year to more than 20 years, depending on the nature of the home population under study and other factors.

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Climate News: A Trifecta of Global Agreements

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 20, 2016 10:28:58 AM

It has been a good month for the climate, as countries from around the globe have signed three watershed climate change agreements.

Over the past few weeks, major steps have been taken to protect the environment and mitigate the effects of our changing climate.

Much to the relief of climate advocates around the world, the Paris Agreement has now been ratified by nearly 100 countries, representing almost 65% of global emissions, bringing the agreement into full legal force.  Through the agreement, 190 countries have pledged to limit global warming, reduce carbon emissions, adopt clean technologies, and assist poor countries that have been impacted by climate change. 

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Harvard Report: Remodeling Spending Should Peak in 2017

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Oct 20, 2016 9:44:26 AM

Strong gains in home renovation and repair spending are expected to continue into next year before tapering, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that annual growth in home improvement and repair expenditures will continue to increase, surpassing eight percent by the second quarter of 2017 before moderating somewhat later in the year.

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Green Building on a Budget: Before the Bling

Posted by Miki Cook, Guest Columnist

Oct 18, 2016 4:43:04 PM

These tips can reduce Your baseline budget, at the same time improving the home's performance.

Green bling refers to expensive green upgrades. These range from high-performance heating and cooling equipment, high-efficiency water heaters and plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient appliances, photovoltaic electricity panels and home automation systems, to solid wood and stone floors, earth-plaster walls and custom cabinets.

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Bill McKibben: The Question I Get Asked the Most

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Oct 16, 2016 12:51:23 PM

The questions come after talks, on twitter, in the days' incoming tide of email—sometimes even in old-fashioned letters that arrive in envelopes. The most common one by far is also the simplest: What can I do? I bet I've been asked it 10,000 times by now and—like a climate scientist predicting the temperature—I'm pretty sure I'm erring on the low side.

It's the right question or almost: It implies an eagerness to act and action is what we need. But my answer to it has changed over the years, as the science of global warming has shifted. I find, in fact, that I'm now saying almost the opposite of what I said three decades ago.

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Arc House and The Changing Consumer Zeitgeist

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 14, 2016 11:22:05 AM

While the warm reception of the Arc House—a net-zero, smart + solar, resilient, healthy, tiny home—at this year’s Greenbuild conference in Los Angeles was hardly a surprise, it certainly reaffirmed that homebuyer’s tastes, preferences, purchasing patterns, and priorities are changing.

We have now taken the Arc House, a 432 square foot example of next generation sustainable living designed by specialty builder Shelter Dynamics, to three conferences: PCBC, Solar Power International, and Greenbuild.  On our west coast tour, thousands of people had the opportunity to experience this hand-crafted, small footprint home. 

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Affordable Green Building

Posted by Miki Cook, Guest Columnist

Oct 13, 2016 5:47:59 PM

How green homes can offer lower overall lifecycle cost savings.

So many factors influence housing costs, and green building has long had a reputation of adding costs to projects, especially with short-sighted focus only on construction costs and not total cost of ownership over time. This is important because green homes can offer lower overall lifecycle cost savings to offset initially higher investments. But it does require anticipating long-term operating costs, which, as we’ve seen with electric and water utilities as well as construction materials and labor, have been rising at exponential rates in recent years across the country.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Energy Code

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 13, 2016 10:23:58 AM

Energy Codes are becoming increasingly more complex as alternative compliance paths are developed, higher performance products are introduced into the market, and advanced testing and data collection practices are implemented. How do building professionals navigate the evolving code landscape, and how do homeowners even know what questions to ask to ensure that their homes are efficient, resilient, safe, and healthy?

There is a growing awareness about the importance of codes—particularly energy codes—as climate change shifts from a theory to a harsh reality.  Codes have the ability not only to substantially decrease the amount of natural resources that our buildings consume, but also to enhance the resiliency, efficiency, durability, and safety of said structures.

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Luminous Solar Bike Pathway Ignites the Imagination

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Oct 10, 2016 9:56:35 AM

The project, just opened in Poland, demonstrates the almost unlimited potential of solar road and path lighting to add beauty and safety to both public and private walkways

As reported by Monika Kozub,
If by any chance you are planning to visit Poland, don’t forget to bring your bike. Driving a narrow track beside a road in a suburban area, an action that might have been risky in the past, was turned into an exciting experience. TPA Instytut Badan Technicznych in Pruszkow designed the first luminous bike lane, that opened last week near Lidzbark Warminski in the Mazury region. “The material we used for the track gives light for over ten hours. That means the road can radiate throughout the whole night and reaccumulate light the following day” Igor Ruttmar from TPA says. Luminophores, the luminescent particles used in this material, may have different colors. Here blue was selected as the colour that suits the picturesque green landscape best. ...
Read more of the o riginal article at Photo: TPA Sp. z o.o.
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Green Builder Media Launches New CodeWatcher Title

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Oct 6, 2016 11:05:42 AM

Green Builder Media is constantly exploring new frontiers in sustainability, including changing codes that require homes to be more efficient, healthier, and durable. To that end, we just launched a new title—CodeWatcher—that offers essential information about code changes.

As Green Builder Media enters our second decade, we reflect on all of the changes that have transpired in both the building industry and our company.  It all started in 2006 with the launch of Green Builder magazine—a trade publication that we hoped would affect positive change by offering enlightened content for progressive readers.

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Single-Family Home Sales Typically Net More Profit than Build-To-Rent

Posted by John Burns, Real Estate Consultant

Sep 30, 2016 6:59:31 AM

The author argues that "building single-family rental home neighborhoods seems like a great idea, until you run the math."

Almost 12% of all households in the country now rent a single-family home. Certainly, a portion of these renters will pay a rental premium for a new home. However, there is a snag. While the rental demand remains strong, our home building and rental clients who have run the analysis have concluded that build for-sale homes usually create the most profits. Thus, most new home neighborhoods will continue to be for sale rather than for rent.

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