involved in an environmental building project. Maybe it's a class assignment. Maybe you're
designing your own home, or helping some friends remodel. Maybe its your first break into
the professional world. Maybe you're a seasoned professional trying to make your work more
sustainable. Whether you're planning a school, a house, a store, a bus stop shelter, or an
office building, if you're anyone who wants to learn more about resource efficient
materials, this is the site for you!
Getting started in green design and building isn't always easy. The client wants a green project and a functional building, sometimes at a low cost. Energy and green building certifications call for products that meet certain standards. The designer wants to be environmentally responsible. The builder wants a material that won't hold the project up, and that won't cause callbacks. You-the person selecting and specifying materials for the project-have to mesh conflicting requirements in choosing the best material. It would be great to just open a book, a catalog, or a website and see a list of the best green products for your job.
Unfortunately there's no easy answer, though, because environmentally, as aesthetically, the best products for one project aren't necessarily the best products for another. Building style, function, and location are all important factors that make each project unique. And that's not the only challenge-as hard as it is to find products that are an aesthetic fit for a project, it can be even more difficult to find the products that are the "greenest" because environmental opportunities, benefits and impacts aren't often apparent in the materials. Sometimes choosing the most environmentally responsible product takes a great deal of research into both the product options and the circumstances of the individual project. For someone who is new to the design process, or someone who is new to the idea of environmentally responsible products, it can be hard to even know where to begin.
This website will help you get started in choosing resource efficient building materials for your own project. It has been created by the building technology staff of the Center for Resourceful Building Technology, a project of the nonprofit National Center for Appropriate Technology, with funding from Home Depot. Here you will be introduced to the considerations that go into selecting resource efficient building products for a particular project. Applying these considerations is a process that the designer, builder or client can use over and over again to arrive at sound decisions for environmental buildings.
Here's how it works: First, we identify some important principles of resource efficient building, and the considerations in applying these principles to a specific project.
In selecting a resource efficient material or system, these considerations are applied repeatedly, and specifically, to individual building components.
The site also offers some examples of materials and technologies that were selected and used on actual building projects, just to demonstrate how the ideal product meets the real world.
Also, we'd like to let you know that we have big plans for this website. Over time we'll be addressing more of the components of buildings with specific considerations and examples. We'll also provide an online forum, where visitors can discuss their own projects and material choice experiences, and have their questions answered by the online community and NCAT's own building technology experts.