By Janelle Sorensen, Content Director, Elemental Green
Believe it or not, amidst all the terrible and tragic news we see every day, there’s actually still quite a lot of good going on. One of the best parts of managing content for Elemental Green is that it means researching all the amazing things going on in the realm of sustainable home building – non-toxic materials, zero energy design, smart home automation – it gets more exciting and accessible every year!
That said, while our goal is to be the absolutely easiest, eye-candiest, one-stop shop for every emerging innovation, every eco-awesome new brand, every pioneering pro, and more – we’re not quite there yet. Still, as we work towards that vision, we’re happy to share with you some of the best sites we turn to for information and inspiration.
Here are (in no particular order) the top 25 green home building and design websites to watch:
Green Home Builder magazine is a digital national homebuilding magazine with a focus on third-party certified production housing. Geared more towards pros in the industry, it’s still a useful resource for homeowners, as well.
gb&d (Green Building & Design) is a trade magazine that “connects and inspires green building professionals,” but the beautiful presentation of information is sure to inspire homeowners, as well. gb&d showcases projects, products, and trends with sustainability and social responsibility as their top priority.
Sanctuary is an Australian magazine dedicated to modern, sustainable house design (which is more common there than in the US). Their web presence is gorgeous and features sustainable new homes and renovations, profiles of the work of Australia’s leading environmental architects and designers, and provides a wealth of ideas and practical advice on how to make your home more sustainable, no matter what your budget.
The world’s first sustainable luxury publication, Eluxe Magazine is published quarterly, but they also have a stunning website delivering fresh information and inspiration every single day. From eco-chic fashion and natural beauty to organic food and responsible travel – the link above takes you directly to the home category.
Not strictly residential nor predictably published, this digital magazine is jam-packed with innovation and inspiration for creating buildings that generate as much energy as they consume (net zero). Maybe a bit wonky for the average homeowner, but beautiful enough to capture just enough of your attention to glimpse the world of possibilities.
EcoBuilding Pulse is a publication from the American Institute of Architects, so you know it’s another one geared towards the pros, but it’s rarely wonky and typically a very easy read with great expert advice.
Green Home Design Pros
Oliver Heath Design is a sustainable architecture and interior design practice focused on improving health and well-being in the built environment. They specialize in creating more productive, happier and healthier spaces to live and work in, by improving the human connections to nature. Heath Design’s human-centered design incorporates Biophilic Design principles to deliver tangible and financial benefits to the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. Biophilic Design uses human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes to improve the many spaces we live and work in.
This is an award-winning kitchen and bath design firm specializing in highly customized spaces that are comfortable, functional, timeless, and respect both your budget and the planet. Through sustainable materials and practices, they design interiors that are as healthy for the environment as they are for the people who live in them.
Kristina Wolf Design’s design process is both holistic and collaborative, and they place an emphasis on eco-friendly design concepts. KWD takes everyone’s input into account, even the kids’. Clients work closely with Kristina and her team of design associates, so you literally become a part of the design team. Kristina and her team travel all over the world, forming relationships with artisans, vendors, and suppliers which means her finished products reflect a unique and relevant design, filled with individualized art, furnishings, and accents.
A pioneer of Oregon’s green building movement, Stephen Aiguier founded Green Hammer in 2002. The company was one of the first green builders in Oregon to focus solely on environmentally-friendly building. By 2009, Green Hammer had built five of the first LEED-Platinum homes in the United States, trained numerous staff as Passive House consultants, and grew into a full-service design-build firm. Green Hammer with its team of architects and builders has designed and built nearly four-dozen eco-friendly residences that have received Passive House, LEED Platinum, Earth Advantage Platinum or Living Building Challenge™ (LBC) certifications.
Prime Five Homes is a Los Angeles-based, full-service real estate development company with over fifty years of combined experience in architecture, construction, and design. As a leader in modern, luxurious, eco-friendly, and sustainable building, Prime Five Homes provides all the necessary services to create your dream home. They specialize in residential construction and home remodeling, delivering exceptional workmanship and establishing a long-lasting relationship with their clients. Their patented process, known as Eco-Mod, seamlessly blends modern design with eco-friendly features.
Robin Wilson is an interior designer, author, and expert on healthy homes – who has been featured on HGTV, LX-TV Open House, and multiple magazine/ newspaper profiles and TV news programs. Her credibility and understanding of the issues that consumers face on a daily basis to furnish their living space in a hypoallergenic way is emphasized in her book Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle (Greenleaf, 2015) which shows her 15-year portfolio of interior design projects. Robin’s theory of CLEAN DESIGN helps people to create a personal ecosystem that is healthy from the foundation to the furnishings.
Award-winning architect Eric Corey Freed founded organicARCHITECT in 1997 to create both innovative AND sustainable buildings. Over the past decade, the firm has evolved into something much more than an architecture firm. Today, in addition to their award-winning designs, oA devotes a considerable portion of their efforts to educational, non-profit, and community work. Part research think-tank, part consulting firm, oA follows Gandhi’s famous charge, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” To that end, organicARCHITECT produces lectures, events, articles, publications and consulting by teaching OTHER architects how to be green.
ZeroEnergy Design’s architecture practice designs new construction and major renovations of modern green homes and buildings pursuing exceptional energy performance. They operate at the intersection of high design and high performance. They have really descriptive case studies and tons of great photos of many of the homes they work on and a great blog – definitely worth checking out.
Green Home Building Non-Profit Organizations
Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Green Home Guide has a variety of very understandable articles about creating a green home. The foundation of their advice is based on LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. Developed by USGBC, the rating system was designed to guide green buildings for all sectors and stages of development. Originally created as a green building rating system for commercial projects, USGBC launched the LEED program for homes in 2008. LEED Homes addresses the specific needs of residential projects built to be efficient and sustainable. Every LEED-certified home is a healthy, resource efficient and cost effective place to live.
The Healthy Building Network was founded in 2000 to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in building products as a means of improving human health and the environment. If the advocate in you is looking for ways to help make healthy building products the status quo, get involved with the Healthy Building Network.
The Zero Energy Project is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to help home buyers, builders, designers, and real estate professionals take meaningful steps towards radically reducing carbon emissions and energy bills by building and selling zero net energy and zero energy ready homes. Their site has loads of great technical information, as well as directories of zero energy builders and designers, zero energy real estate listings, and much more.
The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry. Their mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprint as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings. Visit their site the next time you’re on the hunt for eco-friendly furnishings.
Passive House Institute US, Inc. (PHIUS) is committed to making high-performance passive building the mainstream market standard. They are the leading passive building standard setting, research and information provider, training, and certification institute in North America. Their website has tons of great information, as well as a directory of pros.
MISCELLANEOUS GREEN HOME BUILDING & DESIGN SITES
EcoHome has an online building guide that takes you step by step through the entire building process to provide you with the necessary information to create healthier, more efficient and durable homes. They also have energy modelling simulations of home designs to project the estimated levels of energy consumption.
Marla Esser Cloos is the Green Home Coach, a super helpful NAHB Master Certified Green Professional and LEED AP expert empowering homeowners by sharing how green and sustainability offers a safer, healthier, and more comfortable home. In addition to her helpful website, she’s also founder and co-host of the Everyday Green Home podcast and author of Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home.
At Rate It Green, they’re working to build the largest directory and network of green building companies, products and services, organizations and individuals in the green building industry. They also aggregate a not to be missed calendar of green building events. Write reviews, share your knowledge and expertise, or ask your toughest questions for their network of pros to answer.
Realty Sage is a comprehensive and accurate national database of eco homes listings showcasing eco & energy efficient features and 3rd party certifications. They have a proprietary Sage Score for homes based on the quality and quantity of features – such as eco-friendly, healthy, low maintenance, cost savings, comfort, potential resale value, and quality. They can also hook you up with a pro real estate agent with expert credentials. Even if you’re not looking to buy right now, it’s fun to browse to explore possibilities for your own home.