The Final Review

Burnham’s Blog

The Final Review shares the knowledge of Burnham’s experts in building permit expediting and code compliance. Learn about different jurisdictional building permit requirements, and stay up-to-date on the Americans with Disabilities Act and local accessibility standards. Follow the latest in sustainability, including building energy codes and sustainability design developments.

Project Drawdown: Bamboo’s Quick Growth Sequesters More Carbon than Trees

Sep 20, 2018 1:00:00 PM

Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing and most adaptable grasses, sequestering significant amounts of carbon and thriving even on degraded land. According to Project Drawdown, the plant is ideal for afforestation - replanting of trees in barren land to reduce the overuse of natural resources and create a new forest - because of its adaptability and uniquely fast growing times. Bamboo reaches full height in a single growing season, making it a very sustainable, renewable material source. With a host of practical uses, bamboo has “the compressive strength of concrete and tensile strength of steel.” 

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Global Rooftop Solar Brings Clean, Economical Energy Access

Aug 21, 2018 10:15:00 AM

Last week, we covered New York City’s rooftop solar and storage and how the city is one of the leading municipalities in solar implementation in the eastern United States - if approved by the New York City Council, a mandate requiring green roof installation (including solar panels) could place New York alongside other U.S. cities with robust solar roof requirements, leading in the way in sustainable energy generation and resilient planning. 

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New York City’s Solar Incentives Prioritize Drawdown's Rooftop Solar Solution

Aug 14, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Rooftop solar, now ubiquitous in many areas throughout the world, plays an increasing role in both commercial and residential energy generation and storage. While it has a history of implementation in countries such as Germany and Australia, there has been an influx in smaller rooftop installations throughout the world. As of 2015, 20 percent of all photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide is smaller-scale, rooftop panel installations.

Part of the Electricity Generation sector, rooftop solar ranks #10 in Project Drawdown’s list of solutions for fighting global warming. If implemented according to their scenario results, growth from .4 percent to 7 percent of worldwide rooftop solar energy generation will net a 24.6 gigatons reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and save $3.4 trillion dollars in home energy costs by 2050. 

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Drawdown: Increase Mass Transit Use to Fight Global Warming, Promote Healthier Cities

Jul 2, 2018 12:00:00 PM

According to Project Drawdown, the transport sector is responsible for more than “seven gigatons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually” and is responsible for 14 percent of total global emissions. Transport emissions in individual countries count for up to 35 percent of all emissions, and the sector share continues to grow. 

International shipping, air transportation, and other subsectors are in high demand, and as “a country develops economically, [the] movement of people and good increases.” Without targeted efforts and special focus on transportation emissions in all forms, Drawdown states that “emissions [could] balloon out of control” and threaten any plan to fight global warming. 

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More than Solar: California’s Ambitious Net Zero Energy Building Goals

Jun 12, 2018 10:00:00 AM

There has been a great deal of press about California’s recently adopted mandate that all new homes must have solar power beginning in 2020. What has been missed is that this new rule supports California’s very progressive goal that all new construction attain net zero energy use for residential buildings by 2020 and commercial buildings by 2030.

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Drawdown 2018 EcoChallenge Makes Climate Solutions Accessible

May 31, 2018 11:15:00 AM

We’ve been highlighting Project Drawdown’s strategies for fighting climate change since the beginning of year, including green roofs, cement, and the number one solution to global warming, reducing air conditioning refrigerants. The majority of these solutions are focused on a larger scale involving urban planning and global initiatives, but Project Drawdown also has actionable items for individuals and local groups. This year, Project Drawdown and the Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) debuted the Drawdown EcoChallenge to spur action on these items.

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All Building Uses Benefit from Retrofitting Savings, Positive Environmental Impact

Apr 18, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Buildings account for 32 percent of all energy use and 19 percent of energy-related greenhouse gases, according to Project Drawdown, a number that will increase as the global population urbanizes. Heating and cooling requires energy pulled from either natural gas lines or the electric grid, and buildings of all ages are subject to energy loss through gaps in the building envelope or during operations, such as occupants leaving on lights or electronics.

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The Overlooked Benefits of District Energy Systems

Apr 12, 2018 1:15:20 PM

District energy systems (DES) for heating and cooling, particularly in dense urban areas, are a key vehicle for increasing sustainability. Although some forms of DES have existed for over a century, worldwide use is growing, and the technologies they employ are evolving. Project Drawdown ranks district heating, a form of DES, as number 27 in its 100 solutions to global warming. While district energy systems are being used throughout the United States, there is much room for growth and more needs to be done to promote their advantages.

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Drawdown: Cities Must Mandate Living Roofs to Fight Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mar 27, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Green roofs - and other green building components such as green walls - provide a host of benefits: aesthetic improvement, stormwater management, heat island reduction, increased biodiversity, and building cooling. Though not yet ubiquitous, a city building with a landscaped, accessible roof is now considered a desirable amenity that promotes a healthy workplace and provides cost-effective cooling benefits. 

Project Drawdown ranks green roofs and cool roofs as #73 in their list of solutions to global warming, with an anticipated 0.77 gigaton reduction in carbon dioxide and $988.46 billion in operational costs by 2050. The Project Drawdown impact statement is as follows:

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Beyond Recycling: Creating a Circular Economy for the Built Environment

Mar 13, 2018 10:00:00 AM

The building community can help combat global warming by using materials more efficiently and reducing waste. The extraction, production, and transportation of the materials necessary for building construction are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, particularly due to the amount of energy they use. Project Drawdown ranks industrial recycling, including the recycling of construction waste, as number 56 of its 100 solutions to global warming.

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Efficient Water Distribution Essential to Fight Against Carbon Emissions, Water Scarcity

Feb 15, 2018 11:30:00 AM

Urban planning that mitigates water loss can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Though water infrastructure is a vital part of the urban landscape, urban planning often overlooks the environmental impacts of storing and transporting water and the amount of energy used during the process.

Project Drawdown highlights the significant amount of energy used to pump water from sources to treatment plants and then on to storage and distribution. Each year, over 8.6 trillion gallons of water are lost worldwide through leaks in water distribution systems, a number divided equally between low and high-income countries. 

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Rethinking Cement: Key to Lowering Greenhouse Gases

Feb 6, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Cement is projected to play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gases (GHG). Project Drawdown ranks alternative cement as number 36 in its 100 solutions to global warming. Given the large-scale use of cement across the globe, mitigating cement-related carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions would have a measurable impact on climate change. Yet, determining and implementing the best ways to reduce worldwide cement-related CO₂ is a complex process that will have a major impact on the building industry.

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Bike Infrastructure Key to Healthier Cities, Reduced Emissions

Jan 18, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Long part of the culture of European cities such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Oslo, biking as transportation is heralded as a solution to inactivity and an alternative to trips by car. From 2000 to 2016, bike commuting grew by 51 percent in the United States. Bike use has grown by 105 percent in some states, with an influx of bike friendly communities (BFCs) in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky among others as cities continue to promote bicycling as a form of urban transit. But without the infrastructure to support safe biking and encourage bicycles as car alternatives, the “biking boom” can easily stall. image by David Marcu

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Preparing for Reductions in Air Conditioning’s Global Warming Potential

Jan 16, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Choosing the right kind of air conditioner or chiller in your building project will help you proactively prepare for future refrigerant requirements. Project Drawdown ranks refrigerant management as the number one solution to global warming. The refrigerant hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) is the primary culprit in climate change resulting from air conditioners and chillers.

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Introducing Burnham Nationwide’s Climate Change Drawdown Series

Jan 4, 2018 10:30:00 AM

How can we in the building industry take effective steps to reverse global warming? We hope to answer this question over the coming year.

With the start of 2018, we are launching the Burnham Drawdown series on our blog, The Final Review. The inspiration for this series is the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by Paul Hawken.

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