News Brief

Sustainable Building Sourcebook: Supplement to the Green Building Program

April 1, 2000

Sustainable Building Sourcebook:

2nd edition, 2000. Austin Energy, PO Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767-8844; 512/505-3700, 512/499-2859 (fax). 3-ring binder format, 266 pages, $60.

The

Sustainable Building Sourcebook came out in 1993 (see

EBN

Vol. 3, No. 1) as one of the leading resources on green building, providing technical background and resources for the first green building program in the country. The newly revised

Sourcebook has been honed down considerably but still provides the perspective and local contacts vital to the information needs of builders and architects in the Southwest generally and Austin specifically.

The

Sourcebook has become a more general reference with elimination of cross-referencing to the Austin green builder program guide and the points system for the program. The appendices also have been largely redone, including a more general information resources appendix and an extensive green building glossary. The extensive index is retained. Gone is the grid presentation of such issues as cost, availability, regulatory implications, and financing—these are now covered in a compact “At-A-Glance Notes” section of the write-up on each green building feature.

The breakdown of content is still by four major environmental topics: water, energy, materials, and recycling. We were surprised and disappointed not to see indoor air quality as a separate major topic—it is addressed to some extent under “Materials.” Also noticeably absent is coverage of efficient framing—although

Efficient Wood Use in Residential Construction (see

EBN

Vol. 8, No. 2) is listed in the Resources for Engineered Structural Products—and building material reuse under either Materials or Recycling. The sections that still shine are on water conservation, local building materials—earth construction, straw-bale, etc.—and integrated pest management/wood treatment. The guidelines and resources offered are still among the best available.

In checking with local users of the

Sourcebook, they liked the new cleaner format and continued extensive focus on local resources. “I use the

Sourcebook most for the contacts—local experts whose perspective I can count on, and outlets for available materials and systems,” says Ray Tonjes, a green builder in Austin. “When you put the

Sourcebook together with the program staff, you have a complete package for green building in Austin.”

The

Sustainable Building Sourcebook is no longer the stand-alone green building resource that it was seven years ago—competition among resources of this type has stiffened a lot in the last four years. But for builders and architects in the Southwest, the

Sourcebook is still top-shelf material.

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