Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Green/Sustainable Building: Books & Periodicals

A guide to resources related to green building and sustainable architecture

Locating Print Materials

When searching, green building and/or sustainable architecture will yield good results

Books and Reports

Alternative Construction Systems: Contemporary Natural Building Methods edited by Lynne Elizabeth and Cassandra Adams (New York, NY : John Wiley & Sons, 2000. ISBN: 0-471-24951-3).
This book examines a broad range of traditional and modern natural construction methods, including straw-bale, light-clay, cob, adobe, rammed earth and pise, earthbag, earth-sheltered, bamboo, and hybrid systems. It also covers key ecological design principles, as well as current engineering and building code requirements.

The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Technology by Joseph F. Kennedy (Kingston, NM : NetWorks Productions, 1999 -- online at
Describes the process of natural building.

BEES 2.0: Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability, Technical Manual and User Guide (Washington, DC: National Institute for Standards and Technology, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program, 2001 -- online at [NISTIR 6520].
BEES measures the environmental performance of building products by using the environmental life-cycle assessment approach specified in ISO 14000 standards.

Building Green in a Black and White World: Selling the Homes Your Customers Want by David Ritchey Johnston (Washington, DC : Home Builder Press, 2000. ISBN: 0-86718-507-4)
Aimed at contractors who would like to develop a "green building" image.

Building Greener, Building Better: The Quiet Revolution (Washington, DC : National Association of Home Builders, 2002? -- online at
An overview of some of the many methods of building green homes. A wide variety of residential construction techniques are discussed through case studies and builder interviews. Provides an overview of smart growth and community building, site design, use of infill and brownfields, stormwater controls and design, and energy efficiency.

Energy Star Building Manual (Washington, DC : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Program, 2001 -- online at
Focuses on energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Environmental Resource Guide by the American Institute of Architects (New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1996 with updates in 1997 and 1998) [720.41 E61].
Loose-leaf guide developed by the American Institute of Architects. Gives extensive environmental information on many types of building products.

Green Building: A Primer for Builders, Consumers, and Realtors (5th ed.) (Edgewater, MD: Building Environmental Science and Technology (B.E.S.T.), 2000 -- online at
A good overview of green building basics.

Green Building Handbook: A Companion Guide to Building Products & Their Impact on the Environment by Tom Woolley and Sam Kimmins (New York, NY : Routledge, 2000. ISBN: 0-419-25380-7)
A handbook that provides a detailed reference for environmentally concerned purchasers of building products. Includes an overview and introduction which discusses issues in green building. Other topics include fencing products, electrical wiring, glazing products, adhesives, and ventilation.

Green Building Resource Guide by Daianna Rincones (Chicago, IL : U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, 2000) [720.1 R579g]
Short guide to green building products.

Green Building Resource Guide by John Hermannsson (Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1997. ISBN: 1-56158-219-0)
Written by an architect, this guide provides builders, architects, and homeowners with the information they need to make informed decisions about environmentally-friendly design and construction. There is a companion web site at

Green Building Materials: A Guide to Product Selection & Specification by Dru Meadows and Ross Spiegel (New York, NY : John Wiley & Sons, 1999. ISBN: 0-471-29133-1)
Guide to today's wide range of green building materials--what they are, where to find them, and how to use them effectively. Offers in-depth practical information on the product selection, product specification, and construction process.

Greening Modernism: Preservation, Sustainability, And The Modern Movement by Carl J. Stein. (New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2010. ISBN: 9780393732832)
Both a philosophical tract on the holistic awareness inherent in modernist architecture and a practical guide to green building practices, this volume presents a discussion of principles and processes for planning and building environmentally sustainable buildings and communities.

LEED Green Building Rating System Version 2.0: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Washington, DC : U.S. Green Building Council, 2000 -- online at [690 L484]
A self-assessing system designed for rating the environmental performance of new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings.

Life Cycle Assessment Tools to Measure Environmental Impacts: Assessing Their Applicability to the Home Building Industry: Final Report (Washington, DC : U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research, 2001 -- online at
Presents a critique of life cycle assessment tools and offers suggestions for how they could be more useful.

Performance Metrics for Commercial Buildings by Kimberly M. Fowler, Na Wang, Rachel L. Romero, and Michael P. Deru (Richland, WA : Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2010 -- online at
Commercial building owners and operators have requested a standard set of key performance metrics to provide a systematic way to evaluate the performance of their buildings. The performance metrics included in this document provide standard metrics for the energy, water, operations and maintenance, indoor environmental quality, purchasing, waste and recycling and transportation impact of their building. The metrics can be used for comparative performance analysis between existing buildings and industry standards to clarify the impact of sustainably designed and operated buildings.

Prescriptions for a Healthy House: A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders, and Homeowners by Paula Baker-Laporte, John Banta, and Erica Elliott (North Kingston, RI : New Society Publishers, 2001. ISBN: 0-86571-434-7)
A guide for homeowners, architects, and builders that takes the mystery out of healthy house building by walking the reader through the construction process. It explains where and why standard building practices are not healthful, what to do differently, and how to obtain alternative materials and expertise. Shows how to design interior and exterior space, and select construction materials that enhance and promote physical well-being.

Residential Construction Contractor's Guide (Bozeman, MT : Montana Pollution Prevention Program, 1998 -- online at
Developed by the Montana Pollution Prevention Program to provide residential construction contractors and designers with practical ideas on how to reduce or eliminate waste. The steps outlined in this guide, referred to as "Best Pollution Prevention Practices," follow environmental management priorities set by the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990.

Sustainable Architecture Compendia (Ann Arbor, MI : National Pollution Prevention Center for Higher Education, 1998 -- online at [720.4 7011 K49i, et al]
Classroom exercises, reading lists, syllabi, etc. for all aspects of sustainable architecture including sustainable design, sustainable building materials, and recycling and reuse.

Sustainable Building Technical Manual: Green Building Design, Construction, and Operations (Washington, DC : Public Technologies, Inc., c1996) [720.1 S964]
Lays out clear guidelines and practices for the construction industry. While the decision processes and suggested practices apply to buildings of all sizes, the material is focused on larger commercial and institutional projects.

Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors by J. William Thompson, Kim Sorvig, and Craig D. Farnsworth (Washington, DC : Island Press, 2000. ISBN: 1-55963-646-7)
Rethinks the assumption that all built landscapes are environmentally sound, and offers practical and professional advice for sustainable landscape construction, design, and maintenance. Describes concepts and resources, and presents and illustrates over 100 projects from around the world.

Your Naturally Healthy Home: Stylish, Safe, Simple by Alan Berman (Emmaus, PA : Rodale Press, 2001, ISBN: 0-87596-931-3)
Whether redecorating a room or building an addition, today's homeowners face many options: paints, heating & cooling methods, lighting, building materials, & more. This guide helps readers make stylish choices that are safe for the environment & the home's inhabitants.


Eco Structure (8x per year -- Subscription information: Free to qualified subscribers)
Full color magazine covering all types of green building projects. Web site also includes links to podcasts and a weekly e-mail newsletter. 

Now defunct newsletter of the Energy & Environmental Building Association. Back issues are available online in PDF format.

Environmental Building News (monthly, but irregular -- Subscription information:
Articles, reviews, and news stories covering energy-efficient, resource-efficient, and healthy building practices. Links to online features and other information are available at

Environmental Design & Construction (bi-monthly -- Subscription information:
Bi-monthly magazine covering the green building industry.