The green building movement is poised on the brink of a new, more mature stage of development. Net-zero energy, net-zero water, net-zero waste, even net-zero stormwater projects—once thought to be impossible to achieve—are popping up all over. The Living Building Challenge, deemed by many practitioners to be the most arduous certification standard to meet, is winning the hearts and minds of AEC supergreenies seeking a competitive edge for their firms. And the fourth iteration of LEED, while having missed its anticipated unveiling at Greenbuild this month, should be out sometime in mid-2013.
“Green building is not a curiosity anymore,” says Aditya Ranade, Senior Analyst with Lux Research, which predicts the sector will reach $280 billion globally by 2020.
The big buzz: disclosure and transparency, says Russell Perry, FAIA, LEED Fellow, Senior Vice President with design firm SmithGroupJJR. He points to the recent release of publicly disclosed building energy use in New York City as an example of “increased visibility” that will contribute to the knowledge base on building performance.
Building product manufacturers are responding to the call for disclosure and transparency by issuing environmental product declarations to differentiate their products from the competition’s. Perry says EPDs will play a greater role in Materials & Resources credits for LEED v4.
Most recently, the International Living Future Institute launched Declare, a database of green building products (http://www.declareproducts.com) that provides a kind of “nutrition label” of product ingredients—all in support of the Living Building Challenge’s “Red List” and “Appropriate Sourcing” imperatives.
Also in the works: the Health Product Declaration Open Standard, a new “product chemistry disclosure tool” that its developers—the Healthy Building Network and BuildingGreen—say will provide manufacturers with a consistent format for reporting product content and associated health information. The HPD, which went through a pilot phase with more than 30 building product makers earlier this year, will be launched at Greenbuild.
Finally, there’s the Honest Buildings Network (www.honestbuildings.com), an open-network database that seeks to connect stakeholders in the real estate industry to “drive demand for better buildings all over the world.” Founder Riggs Kobiak calls it “a cross between Yelp and LinkedIn for the built environment.”
In the following pages, the editors present numerous highly sustainable projects, along with trends and ideas from leading AEC green building firms. +