The Big Picture

Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. License: CC BY 2.0.


It’s easy to get caught up in the details—earning one more LEED point or getting that documentation you need for recycled content.

But it’s a lot easier to achieve all the project goals if the owner and the whole project team are in agreement about why you’re putting in all this work in the first place. Stuff like:

  • slowing down climate change

  • dealing with global water shortages

  • avoiding depletion of nonrenewable resources

  • preventing public health problems associated with manufacturing

  • righting social wrongs

Here we set the scene, providing context that can help get—and keep—everyone on the same page about project goals.

  • Non-Hazardous Deep-Cycle Batteries for On or Off the Grid
    May 3, 2016

    Product Review

    Aquion offers high-performance “saltwater” energy storage without lead, sulfuric acid, or flammable lithium salts.

  • Solar Farms Offer Renewable Power for the Rest of Us
    December 1, 2014

    Product Review

    Community solar allows customers with site limitations to purchase commercial-quality photovoltaic systems—and the Clean Energy Collective is making it easier.

  • Prize-Winning LED Outdoor Area Light
    December 27, 2011

    Product Review

    EvoLucia's SCH cobra head uses the company's "Aimed Optics" technology to direct light from the LEDs onto an even pattern on the ground, maximizing the efficacy of the light.

  • BioPCM: Finally, a Low-Cost, Practical Phase-Change Material
    December 27, 2011

    Product Review

    A sea change for phase-change materials? BioPCM brings phase change into the 21st century with biobased mats.

  • LED Systems Provide Huge Energy Savings for Jobsite Lighting
    July 1, 2011

    Product Review

    New LED technology is revolutionizing lighting on construction sites, but investing in the high-performing fixtures is a challenge for contractors who are used to disposable strings of light bulbs.

  • Building a Better Building Block-Pozzotive Plus
    October 30, 2009

    Product Review

    Kingston Block & Masonry Supply has introduced a line of CMUs and concrete facing brick made with a post-consumer-recycled-glass pozzolan substituting for 30% of the portland cement as well as about 50% post-consumer recycled aggregate.

  • iCrete Mixes Stronger Concrete With Less Cement
    March 26, 2009

    Product Review

    iCrete is an approach to concrete mix design that uses a proprietary algorithm, informed by detailed analysis of available aggregates, to optimize particle packing and use only as much cement as necessary.

  • Bella-Dura Contract Fabric Touts Its Green Credentials
    October 29, 2008

    Product Review

    Bella-Dura indoor/outdoor fabric offers contract-quality performance in a competitively priced product. The company claims that Bella-Dura solution-dyed polypropylene fibers are colorfast and require less energy and water to produce than nylon or polyester.

  • Lime Stucco from American Clay Enterprises
    September 25, 2008

    Product Review

    American Clay Enterprises, known for its popular natural earth plaster, has introduced a setting lime stucco to the national market.

  • Energy and Performance in Thermally Preserved Wood
    April 29, 2008

    Product Review

    Cambia by Greenleaf recently joined Purewood in the market for wood preserved with high heat and without hazardous chemicals. The companies have competing products, as well as competing claims for the significant energy use during production.