• Forbes ranks states by their “greenness.”Vermont, Oregon, and Washington topped Forbes's inaugural list of America's Greenest States. The report ranked each state by measuring and comparing key environmental factors, such as carbon dioxide emissions per capita, energy efficiency and air quality policies, and the number of certified green buildings. Officials from West Virginia, which ranked last on the list, have called the ranking “misleading.” For more: www.forbes.com.
• Georgia Aquarium responds to drought with waterless urinals.With drought conditions intensifying across the Southeast, efforts to conserve water are popping up everywhere—even at the aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium, home of the world's largest fish tank, has emptied some of its watery displays. The downtown Atlanta attraction has drained a lake in an atrium, turned off a waterfall, nearly emptied a moat at an exhibit, and is installing low-flow faucets and waterless urinals.
• New York City to experience record $83 billion building boom. Massive commercial building projects like the World Trade Center, the Atlantic Yards project, and two new stadiums have brought New York City a sustained building boom that will total $83 billion in three years. The biggest success in recent years is office construction and other commercial spending, which nearly doubled between 2005 ($4.3 billion) and 2007 ($8.3 billion).
• AGC votes not to endorse AIA's contract document. The Associated General Contractors of America's board of directors has voted unanimously not to endorse the American Institute of Architects' A201 General Terms and Conditions document, according to Constructech magazine. The vote represents the first time in 50 years that the AGC has not endorsed a General Terms and Conditions document from AIA. Stephen Sandhurr, AGC's CEO, said AGC members expressed strong concern that the 2007 edition significantly shifts risk to GCs.
• Japanese architect caught faking seismic safety data. A Japanese architect has admitted faking data on the seismic strength of a condominium under construction in eastern Japan, and has admitted to fabricating such data in other projects as well. Takashi Endo said he submitted bogus earthquake-resistance strength data ahead of the implementation of a revised building code. Japan tightened its building code in 2005 after a similar fabrication scandal.
• Proposed Seattle law would restrict construction emissions. Under a new proposal, Seattle would become the first U.S. city to require developers to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to their projects. The city law would require developers of projects that trigger review under the state Environmental Policy Act to measure and mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.
• U2 tower in Dublin: Locals want Irish architect, not England's Foster, to design it. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority has rejected a “twisted tower” designed by Dublin-based Burden Craig Dunne Henry and replaced it with a significantly different one by British architect Norman Foster, representing Geranger Developments, which includes members of the band U2. The decision led to criticism from Irish architects, who said the Dublin tower should be designed by “local talent.” For more: www.BDCnetwork.com.