Green Building 101

This month’s WIRED and E/The Environmental Magazine both have great features on the many and varied ways of constructing an eco-home.

E Magazine Green Building

E Magazine’s coverage focuses on the history and current status of green building in the US, including lots of stats, facts and info (like that buildings consume 65% of electricity, 12 of drinking water and 40% of raw materials) emphasizing how new construction can drastically reduce those numbers (and how prices keep coming down for eco-friendly options). There are also excellent sidebars, including an interview with Michael Braungart, the co-author of one of my favorite books, Cradle to Cradle; a look at eco-construction around the world; a review/synopsis of Cradle to Cradle; and discussions with architects and how they have insinuated green design into their own homes and projects.

wired jan 07

Not surprisingly, WIRED covers green home technology in a flashier and more superficial way, but is it fun to read/look at! Content will be available online on January 17, but it is well-worth buying the mag (which, as usual, has lots of super-fascinating content outside this section). The Green Home section features a main article on pre-fab green design (with an illustrated How To: Turn Your Grey Water Green) and a secondary piece on “Six Ways to Live Green”, which includes climate analysis for your home prior to building; renewing urban spaces to transform factory to fabulous loft; how to modulate temperatures whether it’s dealing with chilly winds or hot, hot, hot Texas climate; geothermal energy; and how to use as little energy as possible in your all-windows apartment with a view. Gorgeous photos and infographics will make even the Hummer-driving frat-boy-turned-investment-banker want a Green Home.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.