News Brief

Sustainable Architecture White Papers

David E. Brown, Mindy Fox, and Mary Rickel Pelletier, editors. Earth Pledge Foundation, 149 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016, 212/573-6968, Available through Chelsea Green Publishing Co. Paperback, 324 pages, $17.

This small, elegantly produced handbook provides a great panorama of the theory and practice of sustainable design. While the term “white papers” often connotes lengthy and technical treatises on a specific subject, the essays in this book are short and very accessible. The strength of the book is in the huge range of material—fifty-five essays are included—and the caliber of the contributors.

Many of the best-known names in the field are represented in this volume: William McDonough, Steve Strong, Harry Gordon, William Browning, Kirsten Childs, Randy Croxton, Peter Calthorpe, Pliny Fisk—all familiar to people involved with sustainable architecture. Rather than “how-to” articles, these essays are for the most part personal observations and descriptions of exemplary projects. (

EBN’s Alex Wilson provides an essay on the history and evolution of

EBN and some lessons learned along the way.) Most of the contributors have published or presented their ideas previously, so the ideas included here are not necessarily new, but having so many perspectives together in one small book makes for rich reading.

As with any compilation this diverse, there is some variability in essay quality. Also, some of the material would have benefited greatly from illustrations or photos, which this book’s format does not allow. On the whole, however,

Sustainable Architecture White Papers is a great resource, as an introduction to the field for novices and as a source of ideas and inspiration for those who’ve been around.

Published February 1, 2001

(2001, February 1). Sustainable Architecture White Papers. Retrieved from

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