• AIA Architecture Billings Index up slightly for nonresidential construction.The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for nonresidential construction was up slightly in August, to 47.6, from the 46.8 mark in July, but still below the 50 threshold that indicates an increase in billings. Inquiries for new projects score was 52.4. There is continued demand for schools, hospitals, and government buildings, according to the American Institute of Architects, which compiles the index.
• Chicago unveils climate change action plan.Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chief Environmental Officer Sadhu Johnston (a Building Design+Construction “40 under 40” winner) have unveiled the Chicago Climate Change Action Plan, which calls for retrofitting fully half the city's residential, commercial, and industrial buildings to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
• Turner: Construction costs going up faster than the CPI. Turner Construction says the third quarter 2008 Turner Building Cost Index, which projects domestic commercial building construction costs, has increased by 1.77% over the second quarter of 2008 and 6.49% over the third quarter of 2007. Construction costs are escalating at rates higher than the Consumer Price Index, Turner says. For more: www.BDCnetwork.com.
• Online listing caters to green renters.GreenRenter.com, based in uber-sustainable Portland, Ore., offers online listings of homes, apartments, and office spaces that are energy-efficient and have good indoor air quality and other green building attributes. Renters can find an apartment or work space that matches their environmental ethics.
• HOK and Biomicry Guild form alliance for nature-inspired architecture. Architecture/engineering firm HOK and the Biomimicry Guild of Helena, Mont., led by Janine Benyus and Dr. Dayna Baumeister, have forged an alliance to link the natural and built environments. The goal: Integrate biologically inspired innovation into the design of buildings, communities, and cities.
• Price tag on Los Angeles federal courthouse soars to $1.1 billion.Costs for a much-touted federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles have tripled to $1.1 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office audit that said the grand plans might need to be scaled back dramatically. The GAO audit raises questions about the elaborate courthouse federal judges want built.