Energy Efficiency

Bird's eye view of green roof.

How To Reduce Energy Use in Buildings

The cheapest energy is energy not used.

January 12, 2024 - Smart Cities Dive

Close-up of lit burner on natural gas stove with blue flame and small yellow flame shooting up.

Berkeley Natural Gas Ban Remains Reversed

A court declined to revisit its decision to invalidate a city ban on natural gas hookups.

January 4, 2024 - Smart Cities Dive

Four-story light-colored multifamily apartment building.

HUD Resiliency Awards Target Affordable Multifamily Housing

The Green and Resilient Retrofit program aims to reduce vulnerability to climate challenges and improve energy efficiency in multifamily buildings.

December 31, 2023 - Housing Wire

Close-up of multiple lines of blue natural gas flames inside a boiler.

Massachusetts Moves Toward Decarbonization

The state developed a framework for planning to phase out natural gas, denying industry calls to allow hydrogen and renewable natural gas.

December 12, 2023 - Inside Climate News

Aerial view of rooftop garden in New York City.

NYC Approves Carbon Neutrality Plan

The zoning amendment, part of the ‘City of Yes’ plan, will make it easier and more affordable to make efficiency retrofits and reduce emissions.

December 11, 2023 - New York League of Conservation Voters

Rows of solar panels on a large rooftop with office or industrial buildings in background.

US Building Emissions are Growing

Green building standards and efficiency retrofits are not keeping up with energy demand, resulting in a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings.

November 30, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

High voltage power line towers sillhouetted against colorful sunset sky.

Utilities Spending Less on Energy Efficiency Despite Higher Fuel Prices

A survey of major utilities reveals a link between states with strict efficiency standards and incentive programs and efforts to improve efficiency on the part of utilities.

September 20, 2023 - Governing

White geothermal heat pump installed on the side of a house

Geothermal Pilot Program Breaks Ground in Massachusetts

A first-of-its-kind’ program will connect roughly 40 residential and commercial buildings to an underground geothermal network that will replace fossil fuel-powered furnaces.

June 15, 2023 - Fast Company

Solar panels on roof of grey residential building

HUD Announces Grants for Efficiency Retrofits in Multifamily Housing

A new program will fund solar panels, heat pumps, and other measures aimed at reducing emissions, improving air quality and resident health, and reducing heating and cooling costs.

May 16, 2023 - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Close-up of lit burner on gas stove with blue flames

Why the Gas Stove Debate Misses the Point

Banning gas-powered appliances is one part of a broader toolkit of changes in building codes that could vastly improve efficiency.

January 18, 2023 - Route Fifty

Rendering of 14-story Chestnut Commons building at twilight

‘Passive House’ Development Brings 275 Affordable, Efficient Units to Brooklyn

A 14-story tower uses the ‘Passive House’ approach to drastically reduce energy use and improve quality of life for residents.

November 15, 2022 - Bloomberg CityLab

Energy efficient canopy over building at Cornell Tech

Efficiency Retrofits Get Expanded Tax Credits Under Inflation Reduction Act

The doubled incentive could be a ‘tipping point’ for innovative construction materials that were too expensive for most projects.

August 22, 2022 - Globe St.

Boston Aerial

Boston Plans To Restrict Fossil Fuel Use in Buildings

As part of the city’s broader climate goals, Mayor Michelle Wu wants to require all new buildings to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

August 18, 2022 - Smart Cities Dive

Climate Change

'Inflation Reduction Act' a Mixed Bag for Climate Action, Planning Innovation

A roundup of all the emerging news and commentary regarding the Inflation Reduction Act, which last week broke through a Congressional roadblock to resuscitate some, but not nearly all, of the Build Back Better legislation that failed in 2021.

August 1, 2022 - James Brasuell

Chicago Transit Authority Green Line Train at 35th-Bronzeville-IIT

Chicago Updating its Climate Action Plan for 2022

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Earth Day announced the forthcoming release of a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities for the effects of climate change.

April 28, 2022 - Streetsblog Chicago

Modern Passive House Exterior. Modern energy efficiency house with skylight windows and solar panels on the roof top.

Sustainable and Affordable Housing Is No Longer a Pipe Dream

Fresh interest in green building among investors, new incentives, and stricter building codes are making it more possible to include green building practices in affordable housing production.

April 26, 2022 - Wealth Management

Old houses with large porch and colorful siding

How Repairing and Modernizing Aging Homes Can Contribute to Housing Affordability

Weatherization and efficiency upgrades can reduce energy costs and keep older homes habitable, but many low-income households are excluded from federal funding.

April 19, 2022 - Vox

The Prescott Passive House in Kansas City, Kansas

Passive Building Incentives Spur New Housing in Massachusetts

Two grant programs aimed at supporting highly efficient, affordable housing developments are yielding promising results.

March 9, 2022 - Energy News Network

Roofers stand on top of a residential roof while installing solar panels.

Virginia Law Granting Local Authority for Energy Efficiency Rejected Due to Housing Affordability Concerns

The state preemption pendulum swings again—this time in favor of state preemption of energy efficiency standards in Virginia.

February 9, 2022 - The Virginia Mercury

Old houses with large porch and colorful siding

Opinion: New Construction Is Safer, Better for the Environment

The emotional attachment to old homes can obscure the benefits of new buildings, which consume less energy and provide more amenities for residents.

January 14, 2022 - The Atlantic

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.