Finding the best green building resources to learn about green building materials and techniques can be a time-consuming project.
Undeniably, diving into all the different technologies is a little daunting. Then, on top of that, you have to figure out how it all works together.
There’s a lot involved: health issues, zero energy, and sustainability. Then, down-to-earth concepts relating to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) to keep us comfortable.
It’s ambitious, without a doubt, trying to save money and the planet through green building.
So, tackling the challenges of green building and embracing its solutions will require cooperation. There will have to be a collective effort to make these resources as accessible and as organized as possible.
There’s always lots to learn when you’re taking on any project. But the more you know, the more it’ll pay off through correct design now and money savings down the line. You’ll save on installation costs, maintenance, and energy.
Additionally, all this adds up to a more green and sustainable building.
I just went through this myself! I completed my first net-zero home renovation project.
Indeed, it took a lot of learning and mental energy (as any project will). But a few months of planning and learning the ins and outs of green building paid off in spades when I dove into construction.
With all this in mind, I’ve chosen 15 of the top green building online resources I believe will help you with your project.
- 1. Energy Vanguard
- 2. Zero Energy Project
- 3. GreenHome Institute
- 4. Rise
- 5. Green Built Alliance
- 6. Build Show Network
- 7. Attainable Home
- 8. Team Zero
- 9. Green Building Advisor
- 10. Green Builder Media
- 11. Proud Green Home
- 12. BuildingGreen
- 13. Building Science Corporation
- 14. Green Home Builder Magazine
- 15. ENERGY STAR
- Enjoy These Amazing Green Building Resources
1. Energy Vanguard
Energy Vanguard covers building science, home energy efficiency, and other related topics. Hundreds of well-written and detailed articles emphasize HVAC, heating and cooling, and comfort science.
The website targets a wide clientele ranging from homeowners and home builders to manufacturers and governmental bodies. Building Performance Institute energy building analysts, home energy raters, and manufacturers are also included in the mix.
Energy Vanguard states that it has a mission to turn houses into high-performance homes. To do this, they focus on consultations, training, and design services for HVAC systems.
They also offer access to a network of certified professionals. These people can help builders get homes certified in various programs, including ENERGY STAR.
Why I Like Them
HVAC can be mind-boggling for non-specialists and ordinary homeowners. That’s why I welcome the HVAC Design section on Energy Vanguard’s website because they keep it as plain and simple as it could possibly be.
You can visit Energy Vanguard here.
2. Zero Energy Project
The Zero Energy Project offers a comprehensive green building online resource. It’s for home buyers and sellers, designers and builders, renovators, and real estate professionals who want to take meaningful steps to achieve zero net energy objectives.
Their website’s vast amount of information highlights reducing carbon emissions and cutting energy bills. They also share many realistic ways to achieve the goal of positive energy homes. (A positive energy home produces more energy than it uses.)
In addition, their green building resources include invaluable directories where you can find zero energy professionals. There are also links to products for cost-effective zero-energy building projects.
Directories include climate action and sustainability plans for cities in 48 U.S. states and British Columbia and Ontario in Canada. These are cities that committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Why I Like Them
I love the fact that the Zero Energy Project supports the development of U.S. zero net energy homes and lifestyles. They do this through the non-profit charitable and educational Ecological Development Foundation.
Furthermore, I’m impressed that where information is sponsored, this fact is clearly highlighted.
You can visit the Zero Energy Project here.
3. GreenHome Institute
This impressive non-profit organization was founded with a mission to empower people internationally to make more sustainable, healthier choices when constructing and renovating their homes.
Their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Homes and Green Building programs have successfully educated about 50,000 people worldwide on ways to build and rebuild in better ways.
Plus, the website is a valuable resource for professionals and homeowners alike. In addition to live, on-the-ground courses and seminars, it offers online and on-demand education opportunities.
These include live webinars, LEED for home workshops, and courses that enable you to become a LEED for Homes Green Rater, a Certified Green Home Professional, and more.
Why I Like Them
I am impressed that the GreenHome Institute has certified nearly 15,000 homes since it was founded with a seed grant in 2008. I also like the fact that they offer live green building resources like regular, ongoing free webinars on net zero-related topics.
You can visit the GreenHome Institute here.
Rise provides information on saving money with home energy rebates when you build a new home or renovate an old one.
The website does offer photographic inspiration via pictures of projects presented in what they call a Lookbook. They have a nice selection of product guides and house features, too. (There isn’t much information in some of the categories yet.)
All the above pages are accessible to visitors. But if you want to get information about rebates and incentives – the website’s focal point – you’ll have to sign up to search by state to view the listings.
Why I Like Them
Their photographic Lookbook is inspirational. And their Stories page at the top shows 800+ articles on tips, tricks, and real home renovation stories that will no doubt help you in your journey. But what I like most is that you can search by specific rooms and product types.
You can visit Rise here.
5. Green Built Alliance
The Green Built Alliance is a nonprofit organization based in North Carolina. They have created a model that shows how communities can work together to create sustainable solutions for a clean-energy future.
You can access several programs via their website. These include the Green Built Homes Certification Program and a LEED program that strives to help establish a green building standard.
Moreover, there is a comprehensive online library organized into relevant categories. This and other resources have had a huge impact since they started operating in 2001.
For example, they have distributed at least 300,000 directories, educated about 12,500 people about green building, and certified 2,578 homes.
They also offer a Green Gauge with Home Energy Score, which is an innovative home-assessment tool designed for homeowners.
Why I Like Them
The home assessment tool is a green building resource that deserves attention. Using data on energy and water usage, indoor air quality, sustainability of building materials, and other criteria it enables homeowners to determine how green their homes are.
Because it uses the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score (HES), it provides a scientific and reliable analysis.
You can visit the Green Built Alliance here.
6. Build Show Network
If you’ve dug into green building science on YouTube, you probably recognize this site as part of Matt Risinger’s YouTube channel.
He’s the leading resource and most popular channel on there for all things building science. If you haven’t checked out his videos, you should. He puts out really great stuff.
The Build Show Network is one of the new kids on the block. It provides news, tips, techniques, and information about building and craftsmanship products. Additionally, there are detailed product reviews on the website and useful advice on relevant technologies. They also offer a regular newsletter to interested people.
The bulk of content on this website is in the form of videos. All are chosen with the aim of helping construction companies build quality homes that will stand the test of time.
Some show how buildings and specific features were constructed, while others are informative or inspirational.
Why I Like Them
I love the stories about real people and their businesses that have been included on the website. There’s lots of inspiration here.
You can visit the Build Show Network here.
7. Attainable Home
Yup, I snuck myself in here (this is my own website) but I think it’s a valuable resource worth sharing in this article.
I really focus on, and have a passion for, how I can help you and others use the available financial tools, an understanding of economic systems, and homeownership wealth-building strategies to go green.
I have a fast-growing blog and resources about all things about affordable and sustainable building. But what’s unique to this site is its focus on using homeownership as the best available wealth-building tool.
And to represent what I do, I recently completed my first fully net-zero renovation project in Southwest Florida. The home is 100% powered by the sun through energy efficiency and solar energy. That even includes making enough power for one electric car.
The goals were simple:
1) Stay under the median area home price.
2) Make sure you can rent it out for more than it costs to own. This will ensure you can hold it long-term to capture the equity and wealth-building strategies that traditional real estate investors use over time.
I’ll be writing up a lot more, including every key part of the net-zero projects. Feel free to sign up for the newsletter if you want me to notify you.
Why I Like My Website
I have a biased opinion here, it’s obvious!
8. Team Zero
Team Zero embraces every element of zero energy. It offers a bundle of green building resources to help homeowners, industry professionals, designers, and builders get to a stage where our homes and buildings have zero impact on Planet Earth.
Aimed at both consumers and professionals, there’s a growing directory of zero energy professionals as well as an inventory of zero energy homes.
But one of their coolest projects is a directory of tons of net-zero homes documented throughout the USA. You can download their report and submit your home as well!
Team Zero also offers access to the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Learning Center. And they target everything relevant to zero energy. This ranges from the building envelope to indoor air quality, solar and energy storage, and healthy homes too.
Retrofitting to zero home living is another area of interest, as well.
Why I Like Them
Team Zero has partnered with the EEBA and offers free online training and support courses. These are suitable for everyone, from students to high-level home builders.
You can achieve EEBA qualifications, including Site Supervisor and Zero Energy Builder, via their website. That’s a big bonus.
You can visit Team Zero here.
9. Green Building Advisor
Green Building Advisor (GBA) is a specialist website owned by The Taunton House media company. It offers high-quality professional information about designing, building and remodeling high-performance homes.
There are loads of articles and videos that cover all the elements relating to green basics and zero or near-zero-energy homes. The super useful question and answer section is a forum that is open to everyone from green building experts to beginners. A comprehensive, well-constructed glossary will get you up to speed on green building lingo, to boot.
The green building resources on this website are a mix, from basic to very technical. There’s lots of it, but a large percentage is available only to GBA Prime members. They do, though, offer a free 10-day trial membership.
Why I Like Them
A highlight of GBA is its construction-detail drawing library, that contains 1,000 detailed drawings. They organize these according to parts of the house and climate. Some drawings are free, but most are available to GBA Prime members only.
You can visit Green Building Advisor here.
10. Green Builder Media
Green Builder Media focuses exclusively on sustainable living and green building. Its approach is to provide inspirational content to consumers and building professionals. Ultimately, they aim to effect meaningful, positive change.
Topics are vast and varied, ranging from building science and building codes to energy efficiency, net-zero building, zero carbon, healthy homes, and clean transportation.
In addition to lots of information on the website, the company hosts leadership events, webinars, and symposiums, and offers intelligence and data services.
They also recognize those who lead by example, encouraging people to go green. Every year they honor people, cities, and companies with various Green Builder Sustainability Awards.
You can also read these green leaders’ stories on their website.
Why I Like Them
Their useful resources include a bimonthly magazine and lots of free eBooks. The 2021 Home Buyer’s Guide, for example, is packed full of articles that offer facts, inspiration, and ways to go green.
You can visit Green Builder Media here.
11. Proud Green Home
Founded more than a decade ago, Proud Green Home offers comprehensive information about every aspect of high-performance homes. Their mission is to advance the adoption of strategies that will accelerate the green home movement.
The content on their website promotes high-performance systems and products. And it shows how our homes, both new and remodeled, can be more comfortable, healthier, and more durable and dependable.
Ultimately, they show that by using strategies that include energy and water efficiency and aiming to create passive houses, you can ensure your home becomes an “effective value proposition.”
There are lots of articles and videos on the website, along with supplier, product, and service directories.
Why I Like Them
Proud Green Home has been involved with several Proud Green Home Projects. They share information about these in detail in the form of white papers and articles.
They also offer a free guide to energy-efficient, healthy, high-performance homes sponsored by EEBA.
You can visit Proud Green Home here.
BuildingGreen is one of the oldest online green building resources that helps designers, architects, and other sustainability professionals ensure their projects are as green and healthy as possible.
Their mission is to improve the relationship between the natural world and human society by doing this.
BuildingGreen has lots of videos, guides, reports, and articles on its website. They also offer consulting services, facilitation, training and education, public speaking, and technical writing services. Their online product guidance is invaluable, as well.
While some of their resources are free, BuildingGreen premium membership offers online access to everything on the website. This includes the product guidance platform and continuing education opportunities.
Why I Like Them
Building Green’s track record and credibility are fantastic. In 1985, it was started as a company that specialized in translating technical information on environmental topics, including energy efficiency, for consumers and building professionals. And it still does this and more.
Moreover, I love the annual BuildingGreen Report (BGR) and Spotlight Reports that they publish. Incredibly, the BGR, originally launched in 1992 as Environmental Business News predates the U.S. Green Building Council (the founders of LEED) by one year.
You can visit BuildingGreen here.
13. Building Science Corporation
The Building Science Corporation (BSC) is a building science consultancy and architectural firm.
They specialize in building technology for every type of building: residential, commercial, and institutional. The aim is to prevent and resolve problems relating to design, construction, and operation.
Their website is a free online resource that promotes energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
By sharing substantial information and knowledge within the industry, they are encouraging the design and construction of more eco-friendly, more durable, more economical buildings. Of course, these buildings are also healthier to live and work in, as well.
Additionally, respected experts in their fields write articles, papers, guides, manuals, information sheets, and research reports for BSC. These people also provide training at regular seminars.
Why I Like Them
There’s a lot to like about BSC, but I love the fact that they are committed to keeping their vast repository of knowledge 100 percent free.
You can visit the Building Science Corporation here.
14. Green Home Builder Magazine
Categorized by Peninsula Publishing Inc. as business media for U.S. building professionals, Green Home Builder is presented as a business management tool for homebuilding professionals. The focus is on third-party certified production housing.
The magazine, a national homebuilding publication that is available in digital and printed formats, is aimed at a wide readership. It appeals to industry executives and company leaders, designers, architects, and engineers, as well as manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors.
In addition to the magazine, individual features, and reports, they showcase building industry service providers and suppliers on the website. They also have annual Pubby Awards that recognize exceptional professionals and projects.
Why I Like Them
Green Home Builder is a great resource. Better still, it offers FREE magazine subscriptions for print magazines and newsletters. You can also download digital issues of the magazine free from the website.
You can visit Green Home Builder magazine here.
15. ENERGY STAR
The U.S. government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR, provides credible, easy-to-read information. It’s unbiased and designed to help businesses and consumers to make well-informed decisions.
ENERGY STAR plays a pivotal role in the certification of energy-efficient new homes. So, this is an obvious website to visit if you want to find products that are energy efficient.
There is a lot to read on the website, including information about the features and benefits of ENERGY STAR-certified homes and apartments. You can also learn about high-efficiency heating and cooling, water protection systems, efficient lighting and appliances, and more.
And if you’re looking for a builder for your new energy-efficient home, you will find their interactive tool useful. They also have a comprehensive product finder and a rebate finder designed to help you save money when you buy ENERGY STAR-certified products.
Why I Like Them
The best thing about ENERGY STAR is that it offers free resources and guidance to teach and empower homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
They also offer several programs and online tools for homeowners. One of the best is the ENERGY STAR Home Advisor, that helps you to improve your home’s efficiency.
You can visit ENERGY STAR here.
Enjoy These Amazing Green Building Resources
Obviously, the one thing all these online resources have in common is a commitment to make a difference. Most of them target designers, builders, and homeowners and provide mountains of information to help educate and inspire them all.
Some offer training, and a few offer (or backup) certification. Many of the sites invite visitors to become members to get more information. While some charge for it, many don’t.
Either way, there’s more than enough to get you started or to do a deep dive into just about any topic imaginable within the green building space. Enjoy!