There's nothing mysterious about sustainable building. In essence, a sustainable—or green—home uses energy, water and building materials wisely, and is healthier for people and the planet.
Energy efficiency, water conservation, the use of nontoxic building materials and other sustainable practices are gradually making inroads into mainstream home building.
Here's a starter list of links to learn about green building techniques and materials.
Green Building Design and Information
RecycleWorks Green Building Program
RecycleWorks, a program of the County of San Mateo, will help you get started exploring green building and makes their Sustainable Buildings Guide available for downloading. If you want to green up your home, you can start with Becoming a Green Homeowner. Or if you are building a new home, start with Designing a New Home.
Good Green Homes
Dwell magazine has called this new book "a superb introduction to the concept of green building." Written by the Green Dollhouse juror Jennifer Roberts, Good Green Homes is available at bookstores nationwide.
Rocky Mountain Institute
Rocky Mountain Institute is an entrepreneurial nonprofit organization that fosters the efficient and restorative use of natural, human and other capital to make the world more secure, just, prosperous, and life sustaining. They do this by inspiring business, civil society, and government to design integrative solutions that create true wealth.
Environmental Building News
The highly respected newsletter on green design and construction for professionals. If you are an architect or design student, you will want to subscribe.
Eco Design Resources, 633 Quarry Road, San Carlos, CA
A showroom and store of green building and decorating materials and other environmental products. Shop here for paints and finishes without VOCs, nontoxic cleaning products, bedding, as well as floor coverings, kitchen counters and cabinets, tiles, furniture and much more. If you are looking for a place that only sells products that are good for your home, your health, and your family, start here. The website has comprehensive information on materials.
Build It Green
A website for residential green building in the San Francisco Bay Area. This offers information on where to buy different products in our region.
Ecological Building Network
EBNet publishes materials on construction materials such as straw bales, rammed earth and fly ash concrete. This is a great source of information if you are interested in natural building techniques.