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Building Materials

Biomimicry Tools to Inspire Designers

October 8, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

“Biomimicry is about learning from nature to inspire design solutions for human problems,” said Gretchen Hooker with the Biomimicry Institute at SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas. To enable the spread of these exciting solutions, Hooker, along with Cas Smith, Terrapin Bright Green, and Marjan Eggermont, Zygote Quarterly (ZQ), gave a tour of some of the best resources available for designers and engineers of all stripes:[read more]

Where Have All the Masons Gone?

September 28, 2015 by David Levinson

The quality of masonry in the built environment has dropped significantly in the past century.[read more]


Cities are Built of Steel and Cement. How Can We Make These More Sustainable?

July 28, 2015 by David Thorpe

Build more with less

Everybody knows that we use raw materials inefficiently but there are great knowledge gaps in what to do about it. The authors of Sustainable Materials Without the Hot Air want to fix this by looking in detail at the production of materials to figure out the most effective way to reduce their environmental impact.[read more]

Buildings: Our Biggest (and Most Underutilized) Asset for Improving How Cities Perform

A quiet moment in Wuxi, China

It’s time for leaders from both the public and private sectors to pay attention to buildings as a way of improving how their cities perform. High performance buildings (and their cousins: net zero, or near-net zero buildings) are a boost to health and productivity. Here's how to begin.[read more]

Revealed: the Top 10 Countries for LEED Green Building Certification in 2015 [infographic]

...outside the USA.

There are LEED projects in more than 150 countries and territories, representing every continent except for Antarctica. LEED is being used in highly industrialized nations and newly developing ones, and is helping to demonstrate the enormous power and potential of the emerging green economy. Here are the top 10 countries outside the USA.[read more]

Extreme Placemaking: A Post-industrial Stonehenge Rises in Scotland

July 21, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

From coal mine to sky map

In a Scottish village, Sanquhar, a former coal mine has been transformed into a 55-acre work of land art. Conjuring images of Stonehenge, the art work, which opened July 10, was built from materials found on-site, including 2,000 boulders half-buried below ground.[read more]

Another Affordable Zero Carbon House. When Will Mainstream Builders Get It?

July 20, 2015 by Glenn Meyers

Whhy aren't all new homes like this?

A zero carbon house has been completed in Wales that cost $93 per square foot (£1000/m2), which is within government guidelines for the cost of social housing, and took just 16 weeks to construct. It's the second such example in Wales, yet the Government has just scrapped plans for all homes to be zero energy by 2016 on grounds of affordability.[read more]

A Living Church Grows in New Zealand

July 16, 2015 by The Dirt ASLA

It's alive!

Here's a truly green building: a 100-seat chapel at Ohaupo, New Zealand, made almost entirely from mature trees by Barry Cox, who spent four years “growing” the church, but by re-homing semi-mature trees, he accelerated the maturity of the structure, giving it the appearance of a project 20 years in the making.[read more]

New Exec Course Urges Connection of Green Building with Health Promotion

Building for Health

The built environment has profound effects on human health and the world around us. The new Building for Health executive education program is a highly engaging course that equips executives with the cutting edge research and skills to lead at the in­tersection of human health and the built environment.[read more]

Leaders Turn to LEED in the Sichuan Province of China

Vanke HQ, Shenzhen

In late June, a delegation from the Sichuan Province of China took time out of their busy schedules while touring the U.S. to visit the USGBC Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and discuss sustainable development in their region. The bulk of the meeting was focused on how to define a green building and educate the public.[read more]

India’s Massive Construction Industry to Get the EDGE on Green Building

EDGE certified

The green building certification system, EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), is now available for the building industry in India, under the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). By helping to push India’s massive construction market forward, it hopes to mainstream green buildings to help counter climate change.[read more]

The Future of Building Simulation: Smart, Real-Time Microclimate Control

Solar city – performance-based simulation

Building simulation in the next ten years will coexist with smart technology and have a more direct role in building operation. Buildings will have an Operational Model which will be calibrated in real time to play a key role in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. It will include individual occupant preferences i.e. My microclimate.[read more]