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Survey: Net-Zero Builders, What Resources Do You Need?

Posted by Shilpa Sankaran, Guest Contributor

Feb 24, 2017 9:16:00 AM

Coalition aims to make net-zero building easier with an online infomation hub.

Whether you’re building homes, offering products to the homebuilder market, or involved in policy, finance, or builder education, you’re hearing more and more about the shift to zero energy – and maybe wondering how it’s going to affect you. Or perhaps you’re already involved in the rapidly growing zero-energy field, but face some challenges: identifying the ideal HVAC solutions; creating effective products, tools, or programs to ease the transition; or understanding more about zero-energy market trends.

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NASCAR vs. Leilani Münter: Who will Win?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 22, 2017 4:53:06 PM

If you’ve never heard of Leilani Münter, the beautiful and talented environmentalist race car driver, you’re missing out. Münter, the only carbon neutral NASCAR driver, uses her sport in the most unlikely way to promote climate action. Her mission is to completely revolutionize the racing industry, and given her powers of persuasion, I have no doubt that she’ll win.

Leilani Münter likens herself to a bumble bee, which for all practical (and physics-based) purposes, should never be able to fly.  Like the bumble bee, a young, female, biologist is an improbable race car driver, but, again like the bumble bee, Münter excels in her sport and in her advocacy through sheer persistence.  “No” is simply not in her lexicon.

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A Carbon Tax for All?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 16, 2017 11:25:08 AM

Climate change becomes depoliticized and common sense as a group of seasoned Republican leaders introduce a carbon tax designed to spur our economy and increase American competitiveness.

We’ve reached the point of no return—the moment in time that sustainability professionals from both sides of the aisle have been fighting for—when elected officials from both parties agree that we need to address the threats posed by our changing climate.

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Smart Cities: Democratization of Information

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 9, 2017 11:35:11 AM

At Green Builder Media’s recent Sustainability Symposium, industry experts offered insights into on one of today’s hottest topics—Smart Cities, exploring how enabling technologies are improving quality of life and reducing environmental footprint.

Designed to explore intelligent solutions for a resilient future, Green Builder Media’s Sustainability Symposium: Ready for Anything, held on January 9 in Orlando, was a medley of ideas and inspiration. 

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Fire at New Jersey Apartment Construction Site Triggers Calls for Code Restrictions on Wood Framing

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 6, 2017 11:01:36 AM

Critics blame lightweight, wood-framed construction materials, but they may be jumping the gun.maplewood fire youtube.jpg

New Jersey, like many states, faces high demand for rental units. To that end, codes allow construction of multi-story wood-framed structures up to 60 ft. tall. But a blaze that destroyed an apartment complex this week, which was under construction and due to open in March, has triggered criticism from academics and locals. They say residential apartments should not be built using non-steel framing.

Here’s how the story was reported in

A roaring blaze tore through an apartment building being constructed in Maplewood by AvalonBay Communities Inc. early Saturday, two years after fire leveled a large AvalonBay complex in Edgewater.

Saturday’s blaze spotlighted safety advocates’ efforts to change the state’s building code to prevent such fires – efforts that have gone nowhere since the Edgewater disaster.

“Why are we waiting?” asked Glenn Corbett of Waldwick, an associate professor of fire safety at John Jay College in New York, who has pushed for a change. “How many have to happen before we change something?

Reality Check

Are the critics right? Our view is that there’s little evidence of increased dangers to life safety with wood-framed buildings. Both of these structures that burned were not completed. They were lacking the crucial fire repression systems that make fires survivable. Notably, they did not include drywall firestops, metal doors or sprinkler systems, that would presumably have been added before completion.

Certainly more care needs to be taken on wood-framed sites, to prevent accumulation of sawdust near lights or equipment, for example, and to evaluate equipment and neutralize high-risk scenarios. Most of these fires tend to happen due to negligence (occasionally arson), when no one is “on guard.” What’s needed is greater diligence and a change of attitude among contractor crews during construction, not a makeover of building codes that encourage the use of renewable materials such as wood.—Editor

Read More about the fire at

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Love in a Time of Chaos

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Feb 2, 2017 8:52:38 AM

In a time of great tumult, I have adopted one of Martin Luther King’s best quotes as my mantra: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

I look at the world around me, and I see madness everywhere.  Fear is in the air.  A new level of hatred has been unleashed. 

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Study: Grid-Tied Solar Still Outperforms Solar with Storage, and Politicians Should Take Heed

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Feb 1, 2017 8:27:15 PM

Yes, the world needs better batteries, but the possibility of freedom from the grid should not become an excuse for dismantling net metering.

A Univ. of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering report just published research suggesting that home batteries for solar create more GHG emissions than grid-tied systems.

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The 71 Percent Solution to Climate Change

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

Jan 27, 2017 5:02:13 PM

If you think America is destined for a return to blackened skies and foul waters, you haven’t read the fine print. Progress is here to stay.

A new survey of U.S. attitudes arrived on my desktop from the search engine. The survey found that more than three-fourths of U.S. citizens agree that human activity is the main cause of climate change. Just as importantly, more than two-thirds are worried about air pollution and water pollution. Many other environmental issues also concern them.

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Pipelines, Pipedreams, and Politics: What’s at Stake?

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Jan 26, 2017 9:31:53 AM

President Trump’s methodical dismantling of environmental regulations and myopic attempt to revive controversial pipelines is based on ‘Alternative Facts’ that will, ultimately, hurt the American people.

Since the day he set foot in the Oval Office, President Trump has pledged allegiance to the fossil fuel industry, putting on a characteristically gaudy show of shredding environmental regulations, fast-tracking the construction of the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and abandoning climate action.

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Sustainability: Plans Go Marching When We’re One

Posted by Natalie M. Smith, Guest Columnist

Jan 25, 2017 9:16:28 AM

As a child I used to observe ants from time to time while sitting on the picnic bench at recess. I’d watch them trailing in an invisible line, each carrying a crumb back down the leg of the table to their tunneled community below my feet. Often times, bands of ants would break out of line in unison to carry a particularly heavy piece together— an unspoken natural order.

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CDC Surrenders to White House Climate Deniers Before the Fight for Human Survival Has Even Begun

Posted by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams

Jan 24, 2017 2:32:58 PM

"Some might argue they should have said, 'We're going to do this and make them tell us no.' But that was the decision they made."

In another signal of the anti-science chill that has descended upon federal government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has quietly cancelled a long-planned climate summit in anticipation of its unpopularity within the Trump administration.

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Sustainability Symposium 2017: Optimism Wins the Day

Posted by Sara Gutterman

Jan 19, 2017 2:09:05 PM

Green Builder Media’s Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything exceeded all expectations, offering an abundance of inspiration, assurance, and intelligent solutions for the transition to a sustainable future.

When we first conceived of the Sustainability Symposium 2017: Ready for Anything, we understood that it was time to elevate the national dialogue about intelligent solutions for a resilient future.  What we didn’t realize was how timely and relevant this event would become, and how important of a role it would play in galvanizing influencers and inspiring action at a local, municipal, and citywide scale.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to kick off the day with opening remarks, during which I recognized that it is a pivotal moment in time—some sustainability professionals fear that the hard-earned progress that we have achieved in the areas of climate action, resource efficiency, renewable energy, and green building is under threat. 

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Smart Plus Solar Equals Total Control

Posted by Juliet Grable

Jan 17, 2017 3:41:13 PM

The Arc House demonstrates ways to integrate renewable energy with connected technology.

SMART HOME TECHNOLOGY and solar technology provide complementary benefits: reduced energy use, improved efficiency, and greater comfort and control by homeowners. The Arc House demonstrates how these technologies can fully integrate to create an intelligent, efficient home—one that automatically adjusts to optimize energy use and comfort, and provides feedback to occupants that encourages them to change their behavior. 

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Building Smarter Cities and Communities

Free Ebook Relief! Easy Steps to An Allergen Free Home

A Guide to Moisture Control on Exterior Wall Applications

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