Sustainable design blog for progressive architecture

The Sustainable Design Blog

For the love of beauty, functionality, and the planet Earth

Why Would I Need NEED a Green Building Consultant?

Well... Do you want to be green, or do you want to be GREEN?

A green building consultant specializes in sustainable design and LEED certified projects. They may also have expertise in other green building rating systems and Energy Star.

For inexperienced project teams, the consultant can lead the entire team through the entire process. For more experienced teams the consultant may assist with any aspect of the project; from establishing sustainability goals at a project kick off meeting to documentation in the LEED online system when construction is completed.

Basically, a green building consultant will either make or break your project.

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Topics: Green build, Eco Charrette, consulting, Green Design

More Green Building Materials You Probably Don't Know About

What are some green building materials that many builders are unaware of?

We could probably spend this and several more blogs discussing what green materials actually are, but I will let you decide that, and get on with some of the materials we have been using over the past 15 years in our sustainable design work.

This comes after receiving a lot of great direct feedback from posting this article by Peter Hortsman on the same subject (Must-Have Construction Material Made from Recyclables by Carlson Studio Architecture).

Building materials are constantly being improved or replaced with better materials, and because the modern sustainable building industry in the United States has been around for a couple of decades now, we have great materials that are already proven, and I'm going to share some of those that are a little less commonly known but very good for our planet.

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Topics: Green build, Building Materials, Construction

4 green home Design ideas for the florida sunshine


Are you designing your home and thinking about going green?

First of all, congratulations! Whether building your first home or one of many, it's an exciting time when we get start scratching down ideas for a new project. Second of all, a little pat on the back for exploring green home design! 


If you are building a new home in Florida or somewhere with a similar climate (humid, hot, sunny, and the occassional tropical storm), you may want to consider a few things in order to maximize the energy efficiency of your home.  The size, shape, and orientation of your home are extremely important, and when building new, it's a great time to address these and other important concerns.


Here are four worth considering for the design of your new green home!

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Topics: Residential, Green build, Green Design

Green Build 2011: day 3, Thursday

Started the day today at a session called Beyond LEED. Jason McLennan talked about the living building challenge. The LBC has about 100 registered projects now. The simplicity of the LBC is one of its strengths. Jason made a good point: LBC makes LEED seem reasonable. Tom Paladino pointed out there are about 300,000 words now in all of the LEED reference guides. (there are about 500,000 words in the tax laws). Maybe LEED has become a bit too heavy handed? AND we currently need both system to move forward as fast as we can. We need transparency, rigor, simplicity, clarity and a streamlined certification system. We need to do more, faster. Another good question was raised: should LEED be helping to make better practitioners instead of better buildings, in order to have a bigger impact more quickly? Bob Berkebile reminded us of an ancient indian saying "we will see it when we believe it". (as opposed to what we hear all the time- I'll believe it when I see it.). All of us in the USGBC have been and still are trying to affect change in the built environment. LEED has changed the market for sure. Maybe change is coming no matter what, and we are just going to be the ones most prepared for the changes. The planet is operating at at least 25% over it's capacity. That will not continue. It cannot. I think it was Thomas Freidman who told us on Tuesday- nature is just chemistry and physics. It is always going to do what chemistry and physics do, and it will always have the last word. From Toronto, Michael
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Topics: LEED, Living building challenge, Green build

Green Build 2011 Day

The crowds have arrived at Green build now. Wednesday was a busy day. My first session today was on affordable housing and how to hold a design competition to generated new ideas. The projects were for Habitat for Humanity in Ohio. The program could be replicated in Sarasota. The Sarasota Housing Authority is contemplating buying some new lots. A partnership with the AIA and the USGBC branch, could help the Sarasota Housing Authority come up with new cost effective designs for the new lots with emphasis on energy and water conservation and IEQ. My second session was on Biophilic Design. Too much to go into here, but the idea is to enhance one connection to nature through great building design. At 4 PM, I got an update on the Living Building Challenge. There are now 3 fully certified LBC projects that have completed there performance period and achieved certification. 2 more have several petals. There are about 100 LBC registered projects so far. The evening was a blast! Thomas Freidman gave an awesome and challenging address. More on that later. And Maroon 5 put on a great concert to end the evening. USGBC knows how to throw a party, and make you think at the same time. From Toronto, Michael
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Topics: Green build

Green Build 2011 day 1

The USGBC 10th annual Green Build convention started today in Toronto with the International Summit and chapter leaders from around the county gathering for the the Chapter Forum. This is my 10th straight year to attend Green Build, since it all began in Austin, TX with about 2500. The closing plenary of the international summit wrapped up with representatives from many different countries from all over the planet giving a short update on their recent green building accomplishments. There was even a call for a consistent world wide green building standard. The trade show exhibit hall opened tonight and we just got a little taste of all the new products and ideas that are out there. It was great to visit the Interface booth, and see my good friend George Bandy there. There was definitely something missing there, with the passing of Ray Anderson a few months ago. You could always run into Ray at Green Build's past, and he would always have time to chat for awhile. The main conference and education sessions start on Wednesday. Goodnight from Toronto. Michael
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Topics: LEED, usbgc, LEED AP, Green build


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