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Getting Started in Green Building — A Primer for Beginners

Unclear on what it means to build green?

Green building means building houses that are energy efficient, durable, and won’t make people sick after they move in.

It also means using less materials and making better use of the ones you buy.

We can do this by designing and building houses…

  • Efficiently
  • To last a long time
  • To use less water and energy
  • That are healthy to live in

In short, we can build green by building even better houses than we’ve been building—we take the next step in quality.

How do we do that?

Begin by reading the 20 Questions (and answers) below, and then jump into our Green Building Encyclopedia
or this article: Green Building for Beginners.


  1. mcelroy | | #1

    2 car garage with studio space overhead
    Is it necessary to use so many 2x4 (6,8) in a wood constructed garage. How can we save money, make the building solid (lots of snow load) . I thought I read somewhere that we, as Americans overbuild, any comments would be helpful. I would like to start this 2 car garage ASAP

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Response to Patricia
    The most efficient way to use wood framing -- using the smallest number of framing elements -- to build a wood-framed building is to use Advanced Framing, also called Optimum Value Engineering. However, if you are not familiar with framing, you'll probably still need the help of a builder or engineer.

    For more information on Advanced Framing, see The Pros and Cons of Advanced Framing.

  3. jhallett | | #3

    This web page seems to be missing the important content, namely the 20 questions and answers!

  4. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #4

    Thanks very much for alerting is to this web site glitch. Evidently the bulk of this web page mysteriously disappeared during our web site redesign. I have notified our technical team of this problem, which we hope to resolve soon.

    Again, thanks -- and my apologies.

  5. cold_feet | | #5

    "What if I already own a house? Can I make that green, too?" is listed twice in the bulleted list.

    1. GBA Editor
      Martin Holladay | | #6

      Cold Feet,
      Thanks. The problem has been fixed.

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