Nontoxic Termite Prevention

While conventional termite treatment methods are often expensive and use toxic chemicals, many termite infestations can be avoided in the first place through low-cost, common-sense, chemical-free design and construction measures.

Wall Systems

Wood framing is still the most common construction method for building homes, but environmental concerns and lumber prices are driving interest in other options. This fact sheet discusses three alternatives to wood frame construction: steel framing, structural insulated panels, and insulated forms.

Water Conservation Strategies

Water conservation offers a number of benefits to you, society, and the environment, and simply put, it costs less to use less. Additionally, most water conservation strategies are relatively easy to accomplish.

Water Management Construction Details

Good water management practices require good drainage details from roof to foundation that work in such a way that water is directed downward and outward. Some critical components are roofs, doors, windows, crawl spaces and foundations.

High Performance Windows

Homes with superior energy performance are due, in large part, to improvements in window technology. These technologies are widely available and are relatively inexpensive. Download this fact sheet to learn about attributes and manufacturers of high performance windows.

Roofing Materials for Sloped Roofs

When selecting a roofing material, look for high solar reflectance, endurance of high reflectance over time, and high emittance. This fact sheet compares the most widely used roofing materials in the residential market, asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and clay and concrete tiles.

Salvaged Materials

Generally, the cost of salvaged building materials is a fraction of the cost of new materials and the use of these materials can lend a character and uniqueness to a home that new materials are sometimes unable to provide. Additionally, the reuse of salvaged materials prevents them from ending up in a landfill.

Solar Water Heaters

Although the initial cost of solar water heaters is higher than that of conventional water heaters, the fuel is free, and when the environmental benefits are factored in, solar water heaters are clearly a worthwhile investment. This fact sheet discusses how solar water heaters work and how they compare to conventional water heaters.

Recycled Content Ceramic Tile

Recycled content ceramic tile uses up to 100% waste glass and is often more durable and moisture resistant. This fact sheet addresses additional benefits of using recycled-content ceramic tile and identifies manufacturers and suppliers

Residential Commissioning

Residential commissioning is a comprehensive evaluation of a home that combines component and system testing with improvements in home performance, energy efficiency, and comfort. Commissioning methods can be used to diagnose home performance for both new and existing homes.

Recycled Plastic and Composite Lumber

Recycled plastic and wood composite lumber have become a common replacment for redwood, cedar and treated lumber in many external applications. These materials do not require treatment which can be environmentally harmful, and hold up well to water, sun, insects and salt air.

Residential Water Heating

If you're in the market for a new water heating system, or just want to improve the efficiency of your existing system, this fact sheet discusses how water heating options compare in cost, performance, and energy efficiency. Also included is...

Pressure-Treated Wood

Copper chromated arsenate, or CCA. was the most common wood preservation treament encountered for residential applications until its use was determined to cause a wide range of adverse health effects. Download this document to learn about two alternatives for safe wood preservation, Copper Azole, or C-A, and Alkaline Copper Quartenary, or ACQ.

Radiant Barrier System

A radiant barrier system, or RBS, is comprised of a sheet of reflective foil placed next to an air space, such as an attic. A properly installed RBS can block up to 95% of the heat transfer from the roof to the attic insulation, resulting in a cooler living space and less cooling load.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting can be as simple as placing a barrel under a shortened downspout. Larger systems require more thought, but once the concept is understood, even larger systems seem simple. Download this fact sheet to learn about rainwater harvesting.

"Green" Paint

As a green homeowner, you can easily avoid generating pollution and unsafe living spaces and still have beautiful walls of any color by using low-VOC, zero-VOC, recycled, or natural paints.

Passive Solar Design, Part 1

Homes featuring a good passive solar design maximize the home's natural heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting options, and are typically healthier and more comfortable.

Passive Solar Design, Part 2

This fact sheet from Build It Green describes the considerations in designing the interior of a passive solar designed home.

Permeable Pavement

Download this fact sheet to learn about the three general categories of permeable pavement as well as the benefits of permeable pavement over conventional pavement.


Traditional electrical lighting consumes almost 15 percent of household electricity on average, while using readily available alternative lighting technologies can reduce energy use by 50 to 75 percent.

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