Author(s): Dianna Lopez Barnett, Dianna L. Barnett, William D. Browning
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Institute
(links will open in a new window)
A Primer on Sustainable Building
When people build or buy a new home, they usually think in local terms: What’s the neighorhood like, is the space adequate, can we afford it? It’s a big decision and a highly personal statement about who we are, that intersection of the American Dream and our individual vision of the good life.
But buildings are also social and environmental facts. They occupy space, consume resources, and impact the land in a significant way whether isolated on a remote hilltop or massed together in a suburban tract. A Primer on Sustainable Building is a workbook for consumers, contractors, architects, and developers who want to address these facts and create buildings that please both individuals and the environment. Rather than invent radical cures that deprive us of comfort and beauty, proponents of sustainable design (or “green development”) resurrect classic architectural principles and advocate greater sensitivity to climate, terrain, and land use alternatives. “The primary goal of sustainable design is to lessen the harm poorly designed buildings cause by using the best of ancient building approaches in logical combination with the best of new technological advances,” explains author Dianna Lopez Barnett. It’s not a new principle, just one that’s been forgotten during the last half century.
The wire-bound Primer covers everything from the principles of sustainable building through design, site selection, construction, energy use, and maintenance. It includes a helpful glossary and resource guide, and it’s short and easy to read — just the sort of thing to peruse before you hire a contractor or fire up the backhoe.