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.

The Big Picture

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.


Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.


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  • Sustainability: Too Much or Not Enough?

    Primer

    The drive toward sustainable design is a long one. Are we there yet?

  • Ecosystem Services

    Primer

    Functions performed by intact ecosystems provide essential support for human life, but how do we quantify their value?

  • The Water-Energy Connection

    Primer

    The production of electricity is highly water intense, just as the transport, heating, and cooling of water is energy intense. So saving energy saves water and saving water saves energy.

  • The Precautionary Principle

    Primer

    The precautionary principle employs "guilty until proven innocent" methodology, and suggests that we should avoid using questionable chemicals and materials until we know they're safe.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.


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  • iCrete Mixes Stronger Concrete With Less Cement

    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

    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

    Product Review

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

  • Hands-Free Parking

    Product Review

    The AutoMotion Parking System creates an automated parking garage, offering advantages including indoor environmental quality benefits.

In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Perspective

Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.


Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.


Just For Fun

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