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Government Resources

• Ask an Energy Expert: Energy-efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse (EREC). Provides free general and technical information to the public on a wide spectrum of topics and technologies pertaining to energy-efficiency and renewable energy.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) :Promotes improvements in designs, techniques, technologies, products and materials that will result in the construction and renovation of housing and communities that are healthier for occupants; more energy efficient; more resource-efficient; healthier for the global environment in the long-term; and more affordable to create, operate and maintain.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network: Information on a comprehensive range of energy-related technologies, featured sites, and specialized resources.

Energy Information Administration: Information on all forms of energy, including petroleum, natural gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, and alternative fuels. Also provides environmental, international, and forecast information about electricity.

Energy Star Program: Participate in the Energy Star program, search for builders in the program and learn about Energy Star appliances.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Air Quality: Covers general indoor air quality topics, including radon, asthma, and mold. Also highlights an extensive list of EPA publications.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Includes research on all aspects of building energy-efficiency.

Office of Building Technology State and Community Programs: Building energy codes, partnership opportunities (including the Building America program), emerging green building technologies, building materials, building systems, and whole-building design.

Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH): PATH aims to dramatically improve the quality, cost effectiveness, durability, safety, and disaster resistance of housing in the U.S.

Smart Communities Network: The “Green Buildings” section includes descriptions of building principles, rating systems, and municipal codes and ordinances that promote sustainable building. Articles, publications and educational materials are available, as well as a collection of inspirational “success stories.”

U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program: Brief introduction to many building-related topics. Includes links to Department of Energy programs as well as initiatives on energy-efficiency and sustainability in buildings.

Whole Building Design Guide : An effort by the US government to consolidate design guidelines into one easily maintained and current reference. Web resources managed by the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) and the National Institute of Building Science (NIBS).

Other Resources

American Solar Energy Society : Dedicated to advancing the use of solar energy for the benefit of US citizens and the global environment. Publishes Solar Today Magazine.

American Wind Energy Association : A national trade association that promotes wind energy as a clean source of electricity for consumers around the world.

Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) : A national non-profit organization of architects, designers, planners and related professionals. ADPSR’s efforts are directed towards arms reduction, protection of the natural and built environment, and socially responsible development.

Bay Area Build It Green: A program designed to provide Bay Area homeowners, home buyers, remodelers, and builders a trusted resource for information on Green Building and its various applications. A local effort with far reaching effects, this organization is dedicated to creating healthier, more durable and energy-efficient homes. An excellent reference site.

Boulder Green Building Guild : An association of building professionals dedicated to promoting healthier, resource-efficient homes and workplaces. Their primary goal is to make green building common practice.

Builders Without Borders : An international network of ecological builders who form partnerships with communities and organizations around the world to create affordable housing out of local materials. Its site includes free, downloadable educational materials about natural building, as well as descriptions of the organization’s current projects and upcoming activities.

Building Green : An independent company committed to providing accurate, unbiased, and timely information designed to help building-industry professionals and policy makers improve the environmental performance, and reduce the adverse impacts, of buildings. Publishers of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec. : A joint venture of MIT and Harvard, this site includes the latest research on sustainability and energy-related building practices.

Building Science Corporation (BSC) : BSC specializes in building technology consulting. Their focus is preventing and resolving problems related to building design, construction and operation.

• Center for Resourceful Building Technology (CRBT) : A project of the National Center for Appropriate Technology, CRBT promotes resource-efficiency in building design, materials selection and construction practices. Includes a database of resource-efficient building products, demonstration sites, publications, and educational materials.

Forest Certification Resource Center : Offers clear, well-organized background materials on forest product certification. Its primary feature is a series of databases tied directly to the Forest Stewardship Council’s official listing of certified organizations. Also features a toolkit that helps designers specify certified wood.

Co-op America’s Solar Catalyst Group : Focused on building demand for solar and lowering the price of solar technologies.

Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy : A comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and selected federal incentives that promote renewable energy

Ecological Design Institute : Education in the form of public presentations, lectures, and workshops promoting ecological design.

Energy and Environmental Building Association (EEBA) : EEBA promotes the awareness, education and development of energy-efficient, environmentally responsible buildings and communities. Diverse membership base includes architects, builders, developers, manufacturers, engineers, utilities, code officials, researchers, educators, and environmentalists.

Florida Solar Energy Center: View the work of some of the US’s leading researchers on energy conservation and comfort in hot, humid climates.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) : An independent, non-profit organization that promotes responsible forest management by evaluating and accrediting certifiers, encouraging the development of national and regional forest management standards, and providing public education about independent, third-party certification.

Forest World : Provides contact and certification information for manufacturers of forest products. Categorizes over 6,000 industry-related sites by description, company name, or category. Also includes information about more than 900 species of wood, including uses, distribution,. physical properties, and environmental profiles.

Global Energy Marketplace (GEM) : A searchable renewable energy and energy- efficiency web encyclopedia. Includes information on greenhouse gas mitigation.

Green Building : A detailed online resource for green building websites and publications.

GreenClips : A bimonthly e-mail newsletter with news about sustainable building design.

The Green Guide : Consumer source for practical everyday actions benefiting environmental and personal health. The information is presented in a way that is brief and focused, with all facts rigorously researched and verified.

Greenguard : A registry for products that have been tested and found to meet applicable government and non- government organization standards for emissions to ensure healthy indoor air quality. : understand the impact of everything we use, which requires the tracking of the global supply chain.

Health House : A national education program created by the American Lung Association of Minnesota to raise the standards for better indoor environments. Includes indoor air quality home checklists and training programs.

Housing Zone : Residential construction website that caters to builders, remodelers, architects, consumers, and manufacturers. Includes an online buyer’s guide, store, classes, research, events, and many other helpful features.

Institute for Energy Information : A non-profit corporation providing energy management information, energy analysis programs, and solution applications to the public. Their online store sells a wide range of energy-efficient products hand-picked by energy experts as the best in their class.

Lighting Research Center : Technical information relating to the design and specification of energy-efficient lighting.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) : Industry-based organization catering to large home builders. Massive collection of documents on case studies, indoor air quality, land development, and more. Experts can answer green building questions through the ToolBase Service.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) : The Cities and Green Living section of NRDC’s site has information and resources for green building, including descriptions and photographs of the organization’s environmentally-friendly offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

New Buildings Institute : Promotes energy-efficiency through policy development, research, guidelines, and codes. Includes links to guidelines, reports, and tools for energy-efficient lighting, architecture, and mechanical systems.

NSF International : A non-profit public health and safety company, NSF develops national standards, provides learning opportunities through its Center for Public Health Education, and provides third- party conformity assessment services for water filters, bottled water, and other consumer goods.

Oikos : A site devoted to serving professionals whose work promotes sustainable design and construction. Includes an extensive green products directory, recent news stories, a bookstore, green project articles, and marketing information.

Rocky Mountain Institute : Data and resources on green energy, green development, case studies, and consulting services. Also includes a bookstore.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) : Provides independent, third-party certification of environmental and food safety achievements.

Smart Growth Network: A coalition of developers, planners, government officials, lending institutions, and others involved in the development process of US cities and states. They encourage development that serves the economy, community; and environment.

SmartWood is a program of the Rainforest Alliance, works to reduce the negative impact of commercial forestry by rewarding its seal of approval to responsible forest managers.

Society of Building Science Educators : An association of university educators in architecture who support excellence in the teaching of environmental science and building technologies.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) : SEIA is the national trade association of solar energy manufacturers, dealers, distributors, contractors, installers, architects, consultants, and marketers, concerned with expanding the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace.

Solar Living Institute A non-profit organization that offers hands-on workshops on renewable energy; ecological design, sustainable living practices, and alternative construction techniques.

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) : A non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the design, affordability; energy performance, and environmental soundness of residential, institutional, and commercial buildings in the US Includes links to green building guidelines and software.

Sustainable Sources : A one-stop online resource center for green building, sustainable agriculture, and responsible planning. Includes a thorough “Sustainable Building Sourcebook” full of detailed recommendations to foster the implementation of environmentally responsible practices in home-building.

Union of Concerned Scientists : A non-profit alliance of concerned citizens and scientists across the country, connecting scientific insights with environmental and social advocacy.

United States Green Building Council (USGBC) : Promotes understanding, development, and implementation of green building policies, technologies, and design practices. Extensive information about the LEED Green Building Rating System. Members gain access to product database case studies and directories.

Water Wiser : The American Water Works Association’s water- efficiency clearinghouse website. Offers reliable information on water conservation strategies.

What’s Working : The author’s website! A design and consulting firm specializing in energy conservation, environmental construction technology; and sustainable community development. Services include policy development, program design and development, design consultation, green building materials specifications, marketing, media relations and training.


ATHENA Environmental Impact Estimator : A modeling tool designed to make life-cycle analysis more accessible to building designers.

Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) : Free software that gives environmental and economic performance data for 65 building products.

Building Energy Tools Directory : A collection of 210 software tools with pro/con descriptions. Searchable by function or computer platform.

DOE Building Energy Software Tools

EnergyPlus, a building-energy simulation program, and other DOE-sponsored software.

EcoAdvisor : Graphical and animated tools that illustrate the workings of various energy systems in buildings.

Ecological Footprint : Provides the most complete comparison of natural resources demand and supply available. Download for more detailed consumption categories, including recycling, energy use, and even how much coffee you drink.

Energy-10 Software from the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council : Simulates the design of your project and calculates whole-building performance, including thermal, HVAC, and daylighting components.

EPA Global Warming : Under “Tools,” you can estimate greenhouse gas emissions for various activities. Additionally, you can measure and analyze energy consumption and emission reduction opportunities.

Green Building Advisor : Identifies green design strategies in building projects.

GreenSpec : Contains detailed listings for more than 1,700 green building products with environmental data, manufacturer information, and links to additional resources.

Safe Climate : Information and resources to stop climate change, including an online tool to calculate your carbon footprint.

Scorecard : Scorecard’s searchable database includes information about pollution in your neighborhood, various chemicals’ health effects, current toxic chemical regulatory controls, and more.

Target Finder : An extension of the EPA’s Portfolio Manager (provides rough calculations of energy performance for existing buildings), this simple online calculator helps architects estimate energy targets for new buildings.

The Power Scorecard : A rating mechanism that assesses the environmental impact of different types of electricity generation. Gives users comprehensive environmental information on green power providers.

WasteSpec : Model specifications for construction, waste reduction, reuse, and recycling. Available free online.

Other Links:

  • Arts and Crafts supplies — discount art supply store offering a wide selection of arts, crafts, books, and much more. Database includes products for both the professional and amateur artist.