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.

  • Greening Your Electricity

    Feature Article

    Many businesses and homeowners are choosing to buy green power, including renewable energy credits (RECs). This article examines the environmental benefits of green power, including on-site renewables, what REC buyers should know about their purchases, and investing in energy conservation.

  • Passive Survivability: A New Design Criterion for Buildings

    Feature Article

    Buildings and their occupants are vulnerable to threats ranging from storms and rising sea levels to accidents and terrorism. In this feature article, EBN describes how to design and construct buildings to maintain livable conditions in the event of extended power outages or loss of heating fuel or water.

  • Wal-Mart: Every Day Low... Impact?

    Feature Article

    The world's largest company claims to have embraced environmental responsibility in everything from its supply chains to its waste stream, with goals of creating a prototype store with 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions within four years and doubling trucking efficiency within ten years. But how big a difference can the shift make, and is it enough?

  • “Grid Optimal” Buildings Can Smooth Transition to Renewables

    News Brief

    The Grid Optimal Initiative helps solve problems that arise when electricity users are also electricity suppliers. 

  • Embodied Carbon on a Roll

    Blog Post

    The carbon that’s emitted when we produce materials and construct our buildings is finally getting the attention it deserves.

  • AIA Ethics Code Now Covers Sustainability in Depth

    News Analysis

    The AIA Code of Ethics now addresses specific environmental priorities like water, energy, and climate change.

  • What I Learned on the Way to Enhancing AIA’s Code of Ethics


    Getting stronger sustainability language into the AIA Code of Ethics wasn’t easy.

  • The Urgency of Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do About It

    Spotlight Report

    Building materials emit massive amounts of carbon long before the lights go on. Here’s how thoughtful design can reduce global warming impact.

  • Social Sustainability and Architecture


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

  • Can Buildings Teach Sustainable Behavior?

    News Brief

    Recent research studies have aimed to determine the impact that high performance design in schools has on education for sustainability.