Compromise and Cost: Building Green

Compromise and Cost: Building Green

No dilemma more clearly demonstrates the compromises that cannot be avoided when trying to think about building green than the decisions involved in choosing insulation. A quick assessment shows the trade-off may lie between materials that require huge amounts of energy to produce as opposed to the energy they save in their lifetimes. Examples are found in rockwool and fiberglass—each requires a great degree of heat to produce, even though they may become inert and environmentally safe. However, is the tiny amount of risky chemicals in polyiso and its petrochemical source more than…Read more

LEEDing Product Transparency and Market Change

The Living Building Challenge, Materials Petal, calls for Red List-compliant materials, which we detailed in a previous entry. However, as a refresher: Red List guides sustainable building teams in choosing the right products for healthy buildings, taking both inhabitants and environmental protection into consideration. Each material purchased for a job-site contains a material safety data sheet (MSDS), and, on the MSDS, we find the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers associated with each chemical contained in that specific product. Our team has been diligent in making sure all products chosen do not contain any…Read more

Retrofits Using EnerPHit

Passive House goals can be achieved for retrofits under the EnerPHit certification. Meeting Passive levels may become trickier when retrofitting, but the retrofit standard is ambitious and achievable. Passive House Institute Founder, Dr Wolfgang Feis launched the EnerPHit standard at the Passive House Conference, and pointed out that the energy consumption of old buildings can’t usually be brought to the level of new build Passive House standard, precisely because of those unavoidable thermal bridges. “But,” he notes: “The same components as for new Passive House buildings can be used, and the building substance…Read more

Sunlit Interiors

Established in 2003 following a project at Sweden’s Chambers University, Parans’s patented technology seeks to “bring the sun inside” buildings. As day-lighting accounts for nearly 30 percent of aggregate global electricity usage, Parans literally has managed to replace artificial illumination with natural sunlight while taking up minimal space. The immediate measurable effect is twofold: Energy costs are lowered and the production of greenhouse gases is reduced drastically. Because of these statistics, GreenStreet, Inc. is proud to incorporate Parans as a featured technology in our Viridian Future Project. According to, if Parans technology…Read more