Greenbuild-O-Rama

Courtesy: nonexistantbucketlist.com

After a week of non-stop education, networking, and brains to the grindstone nerding out, GBA has returned from the world’s largest gathering of green building professionals, courtesy of the USGBC’s Greenbuild Conference. Along with 10,000 of our enthusiastic peers, we attended sessions on everything from green infrastructure to sustainable urban art to slow food for the built environment. Needless to say, our thoughts are abundant, and much of our inspiration is still processing.

We will continue to share insights as they become Pittsburgh relevant, but in the meantime we’ve collected a couple of stand-out ideas to keep your gears churning.

+ Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) has just established a strong connection with USGBC. It’s not entirely clear what the partnership will hold, but suffice it to say that USGBC is increasing its focus on sustainable and healthy products.

+ In addition to focusing on product design, the U.S. Green Building Council is placing an increasing emphasis on resiliency as part of its sustainability vision.  As such, they have acquired a new resilience standard RELi, which will also be incorporated as a LEED pilot credit.

+ In the world of carbon neutrality, Washington, D.C. is mandating that all residential and commercial buildings be net zero by 2026. The codes are currently voluntary, but by 2020 all new single and multi-family buildings will have to comply. And D.C. planners are not the first nor only net zero adherents.

+ Leading research of circadian lighting patterns, Steven Lockley told us how changes in light temperature and intensity can increase productivity, happiness, and quality sleep. Particularly in buildings inhabited 24/7, lighting needs to change spectrum from blue to orange light.

+ Innovators at The Ray are thinking of every way to make highways sustainable, including paving them with solar panels, lining them with protective barrier solar panels, planting strategic pollinator gardens, and installing bioswales.

+ Researchers at Harvard highlighted the enormous impact of building materials on asthma rates among lower income residents.  After installing better insulation and ventilation and outlawing smoking at Boston Housing Authority’s Old Colony Homes, researchers found that 47% fewer children suffered asthma symptoms, with a 71% decline in missed school days.

+ After the success of Reinventing Paris, the folks at C40 Cities are launching 16 opportunities for cities around the world to prioritize environmental sustainability through specific building projects. On the heels of Amazon RFP madness, Pittsburgh could swiftly prepare to apply.

+ Though housing finance is not always the most scintillating subject, the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory is researching the impact of energy use and energy price on mortgages. They found that higher Source Energy Use Intensity (energy used per square foot) and higher energy price gaps were both statistically correlated with higher default rates.

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