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Michigan State University

Sustainability: Environmental Building and Design

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Selected Web Pages

Builders Without Borders : An international network of ecological builders who advocate the use of straw, earth and other local, affordable materials in construction. We believe that the solution to homelessness is not merely housing, but individuals and communities trained to house themselves.

BuildingGreen.com : We are an independent publishing company committed to bringing our members accurate, unbiased, and timely green design information. BuildingGreen brings the best research, thinking, and writing to you through many publications, including Environmental Building News, the GreenSpec directory of green products, and the BuildingGreen Suite of online tools. Follow this link to find extensive examples of the kind of information that BuildingGreen is well known in the industry for providing, or read About Us to learn why we do what we do.

Earthship Biotecture : Putting Housing Back Into the Hands of the People : Earthship Biotecture, based in Taos, NM, USA is a global company offering proven, totally sustainable designs, construction drawings & details, products, educational materials, lectures / presentations, consultation & guidance toward getting people in sustainable housing : From single family to colony / community / city complexes.
Earthship Design Principles :
1)Thermal/Solar Heating & Cooling
2)Solar & Wind Electricity
3)Contained Sewage Treatment
4)Building with Natural & Recycled Materials
5)Water Harvesting
6)Food Production

Eco-Home Network : Eco-Home™ is an on-going living research center that demonstrates ecological living in an urban environment. The Eco-Home™is a restored and retrofitted California style bungalow, circa 1911 that shows us how simple but wise property improvements can make your home warm, friendly yet environmentally sound and healthy. This historic home incorporates solar hot water heating, photovoltaic panels, ultra low flow water systems and other energy and water conservation measures. This "pioneering" home has hosted over 15,000 guests since opening it's doors to the public in 1988....Whether you are going to see the home for the first time to learn and experience it or you are going for your tenth time to help out and dig your hands into the organic garden as a volunteer, you are welcome to join in our journey "transforming" the "typical" urban sprawl into growing living environments one home at a time . . .

Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) : Your Source for Green Building Education. Provides education and resources to transform the residential design and construction industry to profitably deliver energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings and communities.

Energy Star : A joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Green Building : What the heck is a "green building"? It doesn't mean it's painted green. (Although it could be.) To the exasperation of some people, there is no standard definition. Some builders may do little more than erect townhouses that increase urban density rather than building a highly energy-efficient product that's truly light on the land, as the "green" term implies. At the other extreme, buildings may be packed with environmentally friendly features, such as solar technology that generates electricity or heats water. More examples: toilets that are flushed by using water captured from the shower drain, thanks to a "gray water system"; and "green roofs" featuring grasses and plants that soak up some rainwater before it can pick up pollutants and flush them into local waterways. Short definition from DailyGreen Ecopedia.

Green Building in North America : Commercial and residential buildings have huge environmental impacts. It is estimated that, in the United States alone, commercial and residential buildings consume some 65 percent of all electricity generated, 12 percent of fresh water supplies and 40 percent of all raw materials, as well as contributing about one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Green Building refers to design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants. Potential positive effects of green building practices include sustainable use of energy, materials, and water, along with lower resource and waste disposal costs, as well as increased comfort and well-being for occupants. Buildings designed in an environmentally conscious manner represent an important opportunity to accrue environmental benefits for generations.

Green Building Professionals Directory : Database provided by Sustainable Sources.

Green Buildings: Conserving the Human Habitat : With mounting environmental and security concerns over energy use, conservation is more important than ever. The stereotype that automobiles are the main energy users is wrong; buildings are the largest consumers of energy worldwide. In the United States, buildings account for 37% of all energy use and 68% of all electricity use1 and "the building trades do about six times more damage than automobiles in terms of energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions."2 The concept of green buildings constitutes a way to dramatically conserve energy and to contribute to a healthy internal and external environment in numerous ways. Ethan Goffman, Proquest Discover Guide, October 2006.

Green Built Michigan : Green Built Michigan, an independent 501 (C)(3), is a voluntary partnership between home builders, industry supports, and sponsors committed to the construction of sustainable, superior-quality homes. For those interested in residential green building, Green Built Michigan is a valuable resource providing residential certification through a third-party verification system and the use of the NAHB Model Green Home Guidelines. Homes built to these guidelines will have higher standards of site management and waste recycling, water efficiency, indoor air quality, energy efficiency, materials, and homeowner education. Learn more about each of these components of a Green Built home.

Home Energy Saver : The Home Energy Saver is designed to help consumers identify the best ways to save energy in their homes, and find the resources to make the savings happen. The Home Energy Saver was the first Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings. The project is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the national ENERGY STAR Program for improving energy efficiency in homes. Includes an online calculator and library of consumer publications.

LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design : From the US Green Building Council, a rating system and "consensus-based national standard" for sustainable buildings. The UNLV Architecture Studies Library has the LEED Reference Guide in its reference section.

Michigan Energy Options : Located just two blocks from the Michigan State University campus, the energy center is readily accessible to visitors. By visiting this beautifully renovated 1930's-built Dutch Colonial home, guests can learn how to save money and the environment by improving lighting, applying caulk, composting yard waste and using rain barrel collectors. As one of Michigan's earliest ENERGY STAR® rated buildings, the Energy Options Center demonstrates how recycled and remodeled buildings can be good for the environment and local economy.

Natural Building Resources :  Information on straw-bale construction, cob, adobe, bamboo and other techniques; bibliography; photos identified with house name, place, and sometimes date built; and extensive links.

Oikos Green Building News : "Information on energy efficiency and sustainable building construction"

Residential Environmental Design and Sustainable Architecture for Homeowners : Inventory of articles, book and materials reviews, green resources and organizations, green architects.

Rocky Mountain Institute : Think tank on green building, energy, and transportation.

SunAngle : Helpful calculator that will determine solar angles and related information for a given location, date, and time. Help buttons will give very good explanations and diagrams of the various readings

SustainableABC.com : Straw bale construction resources.

Sustainable Design : The Growing Green Movement : The Sustainable Design special report looks at environmental, economic and social forces driving the burgeoning green building movement. From Wall Street to Main Street, sustainable design is reshaping how we make homes, high-rises and buildings in between. Feature provided by E&E Publishing: The Premier Info Source for Professionals who track Environment and Energy Policy.
Part One examines new LEED practices in commercial design.
Part 2 examines new residential practices to help lessen the environmental footprint.

Sustainable Sources : The Sourcebook was developed to foster the implementation of environmentally responsible practices in homebuilding.  The Sourcebook presents specific and general recommendations for homes that can be considered environmentally friendly. Many of the recommendations may also be relevant to some types of commercial development. The Sourcebook provides the practical information needed to better understand and implement these options. The information is designed to educate and inform readers regarding pertinent aspects and general guidelines in implementing less-familiar approaches to building homes. The Sourcebook is directed to those with knowledge of the building trades and building terminology, but contains useful information for interested and motivated lay persons.
Courtesy of Sustainable Sources.

U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program : Shows states that have adopted the Model Energy Code. Information on their codes and products, and links.

U.S. Green Building Council : The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings accessible to everyone within a generation.

WorldWatch Energy and Climate Change Research Library : Energy Efficiency

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