What do you need to know about sustainability? There’s so much, from so many disciplines: food, energy, human rights, biodiversity, transportation, water, etc. This page focuses on what we know best.
#1 – About 99% of US homes could be much more energy efficient – with very cost-effective improvements. This means you. It’s in your interest to get a professional home energy audit and invest in efficiency measure – and then start saving money, being more comfortable, and doing our planet a big favor. Yes, we provide this service, but we’re also happy to recommend a colleague.
#2 – Design for walkability. Whatever the scale, wherever the location, when working on a land-use plan, keep this rule in mind. If you make it walkable, you promote efficient resource use, sociability, preservation of rural land, reduced obesity, fiscal responsibility, more perfect tomatoes, dancing in the streets…
#3 – The US is not likely to make much progress towards efficiency and renewable energy until we get the right price signals. Our fossil fuels are so cheap that we waste them – on a massive scale. When energy becomes more expensive we all will (re)discover the limitless ways to use less, and we will make the switch to renewables. The sooner that happens, the better for everyone. Here at CSW we’ve had first-hand experience with a great variety of educational campaigns, tax rebates on specific products, and confusing programs – generally with negligible result. But we’ve seen how people do respond to the right price signal – without any programs or forms or computer-simulated savings projections. When it hits us in the wallet we do our own homework and start making smart choices. The result is less environmental destruction, local jobs, sanity.
#4 – Yes, the ice is melting. See http://nsidc.org
- The Green Guide – from National Geographic at www.thegreenguide.com: a superb collection of information, product reviews, etc.
Green Your Business
- Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/ehnfeed
- The Organic Consumers Association: http://www.organicconsumers.org
For State and Local Government
- National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices: http://www.nga.org/cms/render/live/center Innovative policies from around the country.
- ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability: http://www.iclei.org
- National Association of Counties’ Green Government Initiative: http://www.naco.org/programs/csd/pages/greengovernmentinitiative.aspx
Planning and Land Use
- Congress for the New Urbanism: http://www.cnu.org
- Planetizen: http://www.planetizen.com
- American Planning Association Green Communities Research Center: http://planning.org/nationalcenters/green/index.htm
Green Building and Building Science
- http://www.eeba.org/bookstore/prod-Builder_s_Guide_to_Mixed_Humid_Climates-4.aspx Builder’s Guide to Mixed-Humid Climates by Joe Lstiburek, 2005. 498 pages ofthe best science and diagrams for high-performance conventional construction. $45.
- http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/ – super list of materials, techniques, science – from Fine Homebuilding and EBN.
- http://www.toolbase.org – tremendous online collection of info and documents on all aspects of homebuilding. Technical
- http://www.buildingscience.com/index_html – website of Joe Lstiburek’s consulting firm. The best science available. Many articles free. Technical.
- http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/ – from the US Department of Energy – the Building Technologies pages of the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. Lots of good information, documents, links. Technical.
- http://www.energystar.gov/ – the website of ENERGY STAR – see pages for new andexisting. Technical and general info.
- http://www.homeenergy.org/index.php – Home Energy Magazine online – technical and general articles – many free online.
- http://www.buildinggreen.com/ Environmental Building News. One of the premier periodicals covering green building. Twenty years of articles online – subscriptionrequired for some.
- http://www.nahbrc.org/ – the National Association of Home Builders’ Research Center. Lots of good articles and information – general and technical.
- http://www.buildiq.com/ – best practices in homebuilding – from IBACOS
- http://www.aceee.org/buildings/index.htm – great for researching appliances
- http://www.globalgreen.org/publications/index.html#Alameda “New Home Construction Green Building Guidelines” and “Home Remodeling Green Building Guidelines”. Excellent documents from Global Green USA, Alameda County, and What’s Working.
- http://www.usgbc.org/ US Green Building Council. Their “LEED” rating system isbecoming the national standard for evaluating how green a building is. Their links page is very extensive.
- http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/greenbuilder/ City of Austin Green Building Program. This is the nation’s oldest municipal green building advocacy program. The website has links to fact sheets and other resources.
- http://www.southface.org/ Southface Energy Institute. Atlanta organization promoting sustainability. Great fact-sheets page.
- www.rmi.org/catalog/gds/htm A Primer on Sustainable Building. Brief, comprehensive and readable introduction to green building.