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Architecture | Urbanism | Climate Action 

In addition to my content strategy and development practice, I work as a freelance journalist covering green building trends, regenerative design, and energy policy for a variety of media outlets, including Green Building Advisor, Architectural Record, Metropolis, ENTER magazine, and others. 

Manufacturers Catch Up on Embodied Carbon

One facet of our built environment where this hasn’t truly taken hold is interiors. So-called “hot spot” products such as furniture, flooring, and ceiling materials, among others, comprise a veritable trove of embodied carbon emissions. Only a small percentage of these products currently disclose their carbon emissions through Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), so even if building owners elect to use one of several innovative carbon trackers like the CARE Tool or EC3 (Embodied Carbon in

A National Definition for Zero Emissions Buildings Is in the Works

There’s an old joke about how standards proliferate. A particular industry (let’s say, for argument’s sake, the one that deals with buildings) gets bogged down by 14 competing standards and definitions of the same thing. The solution is to concoct a universal definition that encompasses all scenarios, one standard to rule them all. The result: the industry now has 15 competing standards. Is this an unfair generalization? Yes. Because the gag’s premise rests of the idea of competition. If varyin

Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Home’s Electrical Panel

Your home’s electrical service panel is the main conduit by which your house receives and distributes power to switches, outlets, and various appliances. Think of it as the home’s heart; so long as it’s beating and the interconnected arteries (electrical wiring) are in good working order, all is well. But like anything in life, things are finite. And while durable and long-lasting, electrical panels aren’t designed to last for more than a few decades (with a lifespan of 25-40 years, on average).

The Importance of Regular Maintenance on Your Home’s HVAC

There is an old idiom that many homeowners will be familiar with, and it goes like this: home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. This is a touching sentiment. When one makes the enormous investment of purchasing a home, they are not just investing in bricks and beams, so to speak, but in the promise of creating cherished memories and possibly passing down their equity to future generations. But the operative feeling is also palpable; the better the place performs, the more favorable your feelings wi

What Are Refrigerants and What is Their Environmental Impact?

Refrigerants are critical to a great number of common appliances and industrial uses. From air conditioning systems and food storage to the vehicles we use daily, every industrialized society the world over would be in retrograde without them. But like most matters tied to climate action, energy efficiency, and sufficient living, we are still developing a clearer understanding of what comprises the various refrigerants we use, both past and present, as well as their environmental impacts. Diffe

Bowdoin College Unveils Maine’s First Commercial Mass Timber Project

“There’s a beautiful dialogue between eras all around campus. It has that sense of familiarity, but also a quality of something new,” says Nat Madson, a design principal with HGA. True to form, tucked among the pine groves of the east campus stand a new pair of HGA-designed buildings: Barry Mills Hall and the John and Lile Gibbons Center for Arctic Studies (CAS). Mills Hall, clad in locally sourced red water-struck brick, houses the Digital and Computational Studies and Anthropology departments

Affordable, High-Performance Design Built on a Microgrid

America’s electricity grid is old and inefficient. Organizationally and functionally, it’s become a cat’s cradle gone awry. And in many parts of the country, where renewable wind and solar energy infrastructure is proliferating, the grid is being asked to perform tasks it wasn’t designed to do. In theory, new communities and growing populations should reasonably translate into a bigger, stronger grid (with hardened transmission lines, grid-scale energy storage capacity, and the like), but our ve

28 Countries Sign Buildings Breakthrough Agreement at COP28

There appears to be real momentum in the wake of COP28, the most recent Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held this year in Dubai. The 28th such conference, which concluded on December 12, is being heralded even by some skeptics as a “turning point” in the global fight against anthropogenic climate change. Case in point, despite Saudi Arabia’s vocal opposition mid-conference to any UN agreement that called for a phaseout of fossil fuels (or even any dea

Spotlight on St. Louis Park

This feature appeared in the 2023 ENTER print annual, available for purchase here. Here is an inconvenient truth: Climate action only has measurable impacts when it’s carried out on a large, often community-wide scale. High-efficiency buildings are the future, but inspiring examples here and there are not enough to address the climate crisis. Moving the needle requires public leadership. The City of St. Louis Park has been heeding this mandate for more than a decade. It was among the first commu

Can Mass Timber Help Solve the Housing Crisis?

When it comes to mass timber, the bigger value proposition is still up for grabs. Many advocates celebrate the building material’s capacity for embodied carbon storage and sequestration, but that position arguably gets diluted as the scope and scale of what we’re building grows at exponential rates. And for an industry predicated on building accountability into the supply chain, going big only makes that mandate harder to maintain. Another take is that mass timber’s greater value proposition li

Michigan Ushers in a Greener Future with New Climate Laws

In recent years, several U.S. states have made progressive climate action a cornerstone of their long-term policy doctrine. Examples include California, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington, among a few others. Largely spurred by greenhouse gas reduction targets laid out in the Paris Agreement and multiple warning signs in the form of record-shattering wildfires and other climate disasters, these states have passed new laws, enacted tax incentives, and revised building and

Swedish Developer Has Designs for New Neighborhood Made From Mass Timber

Is mass timber a climate panacea? This question has become one for the ages, or at least, for this particular age. And despite numerous advances in manufacturing and sustainable forestry, the answer to this query remains the same: to be determined. The mass-timber construction industry has grown adept at marketing its sustainability bona fides, touting everything from associated biophilic properties and advancements in seismic resistance to estimated carbon savings—including avoided emissions a

The Need for Energy Efficiency in New and Existing Housing Stock

The United States has a housing shortage. This fact has become as plain as death and taxes. But unlike those examples, the housing issue is a crisis that can be solved, not an inevitability that we must accept. This shortage is the result of various interrelated factors, the first being the housing market’s persistent inability to build enough new stock relative to population growth, migration rates, and affordability versus market-rate averages. By some estimates, the country currently needs t

HUD Will Award More Than $100 million in Subsidies for Efficiency and Resiliency Upgrades to Low-Income Housing

Back in 2016, a guest blog post for GBA posed the question, “can low-income housing be energy-efficient and affordable?” Nearly a decade on, some may think this query still has relevance; others consider it antiquated. One of the great ironies of the green building market is that energy-saving measures often benefit those homeowners who can most afford them but least need them, at least as far as their balance sheets are concerned. Environmental imperatives aside, things like electric heat pump

Fossil Fuel–Free Cement from Sublime Systems Receives Third-Party Validation

The global portland cement market is huge. There’s simply no other way to characterize the carbon impacts and production scope of an industry that is responsible for 8% of global CO2e emissions and is projected to reach 5.8 billion tons by 2027. The residential market alone is expected to account for roughly one-third of that tonnage by the same year, thanks to a compound annual growth rate of 5% from 2020–2027. In layman’s terms, it’s a damn juggernaut. And here’s another troubling statistic:
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Art Criticism | Art History

“Remember That You Will Die: Death Across Cultures” at the Rubin Museum of Art

Memento Mori is the Latin-Christian maxim translated as “Remember that you will die.” It is altogether sobering and, in some perverted sense, comforting; it’s an epitaph for the masses—commoners and kings alike. It is also the subject of the ’s latest offering, of the same name, and although said offering is a modest one, this exhibition is, quite literally, breath-taking.
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