Op-ed: There’s more to timber building than trees

There is a prevailing sense among proponents of mass timber that building with wood is inherently good. This enthusiasm is largely premised on a key assumption that if a tree sequesters carbon as it grows, then mass timber building components must count as stored carbon. But if the source of that wood—a forest—is a source of carbon emissions, as is beginning

A portrait of a man in a suit and glasses in front of a lawn and buildings; Dennis Shelden

A Q+A with Dennis Shelden, RPI’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology new director

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) has announced that architect and entrepreneur Dennis Shelden will be taking over as its director. The academic-industrial research and teaching alliance, focused on using technology to address concerns of “built ecology,” was founded in 2007, and is located across RPI’s main campus in Troy, New

A top-down photo of a snowy landscape with four two-story structures in different colors.

Alaska’s Cold Climate Housing Research Center is rethinking how the Circumpolar North builds

The Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC) describes itself as “an industry-based, nonprofit corporation created to facilitate the development, use, and testing of energy-efficient, durable, healthy, and cost-effective building technologies for people living in circumpolar regions around the globe.” Aaron Cooke, the architect who leads the Sustainable Northern Communities Program at the CCHRC in Fairbanks, Alaska, is

Ancient technology gets an update in sustainable cooling solution

“The way we cool our buildings right now is totally wrong,” said Indian architect Monish Siripurapu in a video produced the United Nations’ Environment program. The words are bleak, but arguably true; the electricity and hydrofluorocarbons  most modern cooling systems demand ironically warm the planet overall while they cool our conditioned spaces. On top of that, with global temperatures

Swiss researchers develop high-tech floor that minimizes concrete use

Global construction continues to steam ahead, even while seemingly mundane building materials (like sand) become rarer and more precious, and construction industry’s carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global climate change. The building industry seems to be demanding new solutions, but scalable alternatives remain scarce. Enter the Block Research Group at ETH Zurich. The group, which is