Construction Sustainability

The construction resources section provides websites, articles and tools for review by construction industry professionals and those who contract with them. The ideas found in these resources apply anywhere, subject to local building codes and standards.  Four are highlighted to get you started. Additional resources follow, organized by resource type.


International Energy Agency (IEA)The IEA collects, assesses and disseminates worldwide energy statistics, offers training and shares best practices to governments across the globe.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program | US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)The US EPA website section discusses how life-cycle stormwater management must be addressed during design so that construction water management (and ongoing rainfall after commissioning) is achievable with the necessary mitigation measures. Thoughtful design can allow for improved water retention and groundwater replenishment for the life of the facility.
World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD)This Council is a global consortium led by CEOs across industries who work to promote  sustainable development.
World Economic Forum (WEF)Providing information and resources on both climate change and the construction industry.


Cradle to Cradle: Re-Making the Way We Make Things, William McDonough.
2009 edition (originally published in 2002).
An overview of why and how physical goods should be made, including initial function and how they are recycled or reused at the end of their initial life. Targeted to product designers, architects, engineers, and others involved in the “life cycle design” of products.
Intelligent Sustainment and Renewal of Department of Energy Facilities and Infrastructure | Department of Energy. 2004.This book from the DOE addresses the optimization of building or facility life cycles. Constructing a building with the idea of what will happen to materials at the end of a building’s use, maximizing reuse of materials and minimizing waste in the construction industry. Part 4 on Infrastructure Management Performance Measures provides metrics for assessing the performance of a building.
Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery, Charles J. Kibert. 2016.This well-known book in its fourth edition has been updated to reflect the latest codes and standards, including LEED v4, and includes new coverage of carbon accounting. Other updates align with the current thinking on economics, climate change, net zero buildings, and more, with contributions by leaders in the field that illustrate the most recent shifts in thinking and practice. Instructor's manual and presentations for each chapter ensure up-to-date information in the classroom, making this book a valuable reference for working construction professionals.


Blueprint for Better Campaign | American Institute for Architects (AIA)This campaign notes that buildings contribute about 40% of current carbon emissions. As authors of that environment, architects are crucial to addressing and mitigating the damage. AIA, with 95,000 members, is the largest design organization in the world. It uses articles, videos and other resources to urge architects, design professionals, civic leaders, and the public to help them “transform the day-to-day practice of architecture to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable built environment.”
How to decarbonize the construction industry 
This article emphasizes the cross-functional collaboration needed to decarbonize the construction industry, including the importance of the architect in sustainable design.
Report on the Environment: Land Use | US EPAThis report on the environment defines land use, discusses effects of changing land use, and provides indicators to monitor ongoing conditions.
The Stanford Building Decarbonization Learning Accelerator | Stanford University, Department of EngineeringA concise and reliable resource designed to “lower the barriers for future Architects, Engineers, and Construction Managers to learn about Building Decarbonization.” Curated materials to help college educators teach Building Decarbonization. Includes case studies, slide decks, videos and resources to seamlessly build decarbonization into existing courses about sustainable buildings, or to create a brand new course. 100% free of charge.

Online Calculators/Tools

Construction Carbon Calculator | Build Carbon NeutralThis tool estimates the embodied energy and subsequent carbon amounts released during construction. The measurements account for building materials, processes and carbon released due to ecosystem degradation or sequestered through landscape installation or restoration. A joint project by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, and Mithun Architects.
EPA Stormwater Management ModelSoftware source code for the EPA Storm Water Management Model (SWMM).
Green Building CalculatorFrom the UK, this tool provides information regarding whole building Energy Consumption, Carbon in use, Cost of building and Cost of running a building. Users can do their own U value calculation independently of manufacturers or suppliers.


10 Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Houses | Green Building DesignPart of Going Green YouTube channel hosted by the Nick Maughan Foundation. Shares examples of green-built and sustainably designed homes. Includes building techniques, additional links, and pros/cons of green-building approaches being used across the globe.
Exploring Green Building and the Future of ConstructionUndecided’s Matt Ferrell hosts a YouTube video on green building and the future of commercial and home construction. Detailed overview of common terms and issues with a focus on going net zero. Asks the question, can green building really make a difference?
Smart Buildings Saving the WorldShort, yet well-crafted video from 2020 by an architecture student surveying some of the innovative techniques and materials used in several sustainably designed buildings across the world.


Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction 2019 | IEAThis report provides global buildings and construction emissions data, including global tracking of CO2 emissions and energy demand. Examples of policies, technologies and investments that support low-carbon building stocks also featured.
Land Use Primer | Pace University, School of LawThis document, from the Pace University (New York, US) Law School, provides an overview of Land Use law.