The Big Picture

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

OVERVIEW

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.

    Loading...
  • Social Sustainability and Architecture

    Primer

    Architects can increase social value through thoughtful design of the built environment.

  • Resilient Design-Smarter Building for a Turbulent Future

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

  • Reducing Environmental Impacts of Cement and Concrete

    Feature Article

     This article explores the environmental footprint of portland cement production and future emissions regulations and looks at the issues surrounding its most common replacement, fly ash.

  • The Problem with Net-Zero Buildings (and the Case for Net-Zero Neighborhoods)

    Feature Article

    It can be tough to make an individual building into a zero energy building, while working at the community scale can offer up opportunities for energy efficiency and cost-effective renewable energy generation.

  • Avoiding the Global Warming Impact of Insulation

    Feature Article

    Insulation is key to reducing carbon emissions from buildings. But the blowing agent in extruded polystyrene and spray polyurethane foam offsets much of that benefit.