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.

  • Our Economy is Broken (and We Can Fix It)
    April 4, 2017


    Green building practitioners must take on the challenge of our broken economy, in our work and in our lives.

  • Can Concrete Save Us? Locking Up Carbon in Building Materials
    June 1, 2014

    Feature Article

    Concrete is responsible for a huge proportion of global carbon dioxide emissions. A few companies want to reverse this cycle by sequestering carbon in building materials.

  • Green Design: What’s Love Got to Do with It?
    December 2, 2013

    Feature Article

    Beauty, place-making, and even love are motivating many green designers, who see these values complementing core sustainability tenets.

  • Three Imperatives to Create the Future of Green Building
    June 3, 2013

    Feature Article

    The industry will be in a better place a decade from now if we master these skills.

  • Resilient Design-Smarter Building for a Turbulent Future
    February 28, 2012

    Feature Article

    Resilience is the new green. With decades of green building experience, we are ready to face climate change.

  • What Makes a Product Green?
    February 2, 2012

    Feature Article

    Lots of manufacturers call their products "green," but are they? Here's our guide to the high-performance attributes that matter.

  • Occupant Engagement: Where Design Meets Performance
    November 1, 2011

    Feature Article

    No matter how carefully you plan a retrofit or design a building, the occupants hold the keys to environmental performance. But design teams can help them unlock any building's potential.

  • Choosing Windows: Looking Through the Options
    January 27, 2011

    Feature Article

    We ask a lot from windows: energy efficiency, aesthetics, durability, affordability, and more. Which window frame materials and low-e glazing options balance these choices best? This article explores all the options and decodes the performance labels we see when buying windows.

  • A Green Building Wish List: Policies, Trends, and Products for 2011 and Beyond
    December 30, 2010

    Feature Article

    Guaranteed energy performance of homes. Rapidly renewable materials that don't compete with food production. These are just a couple of the new developments we explore that would help the building industry clean up its act.

  • Reexamining Priorities in Green Building
    October 29, 2010

    Feature Article

    Rarely can we do everything we want with a green building project-particularly in today's constrained economy. When we are forced to choose, where will our efforts make the most difference in improving the environmental and health performance of our built environments?