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.

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  • 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten Build Community
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    The 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten winning projects combine small ecological footprints with big social benefits. 

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

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

    Feature Article

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  • 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.

  • Climate Justice Heats Up in NYC
    March 6, 2018

    News Analysis

    A new report describes how rezoning and planning efforts can address the urban heat-island effect in a vulnerable Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood.

  • 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

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    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.