7 Great Resources for Environmentally Friendly Architecture

Published : November 1, 2016

Environmentally friendly architecture is all about designing structures that can either benefit, or blend seamlessly with the natural environment — limiting the use of scarce resources and removing the risks of negative byproducts.

Today’s architects have the power to shape the future of our cities and skylines, and many have already begun turning to more sustainable, efficient methods in order to earn “green” credentials.

For those in search of inspiration when designing ecological structures, there are plenty of resources available — from books on green materials, to digital toolkits for environmental enhancement, and even newsletters and conferences to keep you up to date.

Here are just some of the most popular assets used today.

1. AIA Digital Toolkits

During 2008, the American Institute of Architects (or AIA), launched a new campaign promoting environmentally friendly architecture, known as “Walk the Walk.” The campaign encourages and educates those with a mind for sustainable design, by introducing information on the benefits of energy-efficient buildings and homes. The campaign consists of two environmental toolkits:


The 50to50 toolkit — which provides a collection of tools, strategies, and techniques — can have an instant impact on any architect’s ability to reduce carbon emissions and enhance energy efficiency. Get this kit on the AIA website.

SustAIAnability 2030

The SustAIAnability 2030 toolkit, which highlights green building problems and offers examples of ordinance language for communities, gives plenty of examples of green building program opportunities. Get this kit on the AIA website.

2. Environmental by Design (Hard Copy) by Kim Leclair and David Rousseau

When crafting environmentally friendly ideas, one of the most important things an architect can bring to the table is a thorough understanding of the symbols used to represent various criteria within the building world. “Environmental by Design,” the professional handbook by Kim Leclair and David Rousseau, is a handy pocket-notebook tool that includes descriptions and images of various symbols — including those for recycled content, low toxic emissions, durability, energy efficiency, and more.

Read extracts from the book here, or purchase the full publication here.

3. Environmental Building News Monthly Newsletter

New concepts for “green” building initiatives and environmentally friendly architecture emerge almost daily, as scientific minds discover new materials and methods for building. The ever-evolving nature of eco-friendly construction means that having a regularly-updated source of information is essential for staying ahead of the curve.

The Environmental Building News is a monthly newsletter, recognized as the leading publication for environmentally responsible construction and design today. You can find the resource here.

The company has indexed their articles, so you can also download previous issues here.

4. Environmental Knowledge Base (EnvKB)

The “Environmental Knowledge Base” or EnvKB is a comprehensive report that provides construction experts and architects with the information they need to make environmentally-friendly decisions when developing new structures. Currently in its second phase, this resource is equipped with educational data on everything from facility design, to building materials, construction planning, and operation.

Created to draw attention to each phase of design individually, the report offers case studies, alongside material suggestions and ideas. It even includes a program that interface with MCASES cost-estimation spreadsheets. Access the full report here.

5. Building Greener, Building Better: The Quiet Revolution

Produced by the National Association of Home Builders in 2002, “Building Greener, Building Better” is available to access online. The extensive overview looks closely at various techniques that have been used to create green homes, and underlines methods used to promote environmentally friendly development.

Aspiring architects can browse through a collection of case studies and builder interviews to learn about various construction techniques, site design, use of brownfields and infill, and energy efficiency.

6. Green Building Handbook by Tom Woolley and Sam Kimmins

This useful handbook contains insight into products purchased by environmentally-conscious builders and architects. Published in 2000, the “Green Building Handbook” discusses various issues involved with material choices for eco-friendly structures.

Some of the topics included in the handbook include choosing building and construction materials, the impact of electrical wiring, glazing products, ventilation, and adhesives, and more. You can find the first volume here, and the second volume here.

7. Excellence in Building Conferences and Exhibitions

One of the best ways for architects to expand their knowledge is to network and interact with other builders in their niche. The “Excellence in Building” conference and exhibition brings together architects, builders, designers, engineers, and other industry professionals in the process of eco-friendly building and design. Sponsored by the Energy and Environmental Building Association, the event connect design-minded individuals across the globe.

Find the latest dates for new conferences and exhibitions here.

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