Back in 2008, I was hired to join a team of writers and editors who were developing a web site called Green Building Advisor. In the 15 years since I joined GBA, our understanding of green building has changed. Some of these changes are due to technical developments; some are due to code changes; some are due to an improved understanding of how construction affects the natural world; and some are due to cultural changes introduced by GBA authors.
Any attempt at pinning down this topic—“How green building has changed”—faces challenges. Green building is an amorphous blob with no clear definition, and there are at least two ways my analysis can stray from the truth: I can be wrong in my description of green building in 2008, and I can be wrong about my description of green building in 2023.
These potential errors are stumbling blocks, so readers should take my analysis with a grain of salt. As an anchor for my analysis, I will use a book by David Johnston and Scott Gibson, Green From the Ground Up, as my starting point. There are three virtues to my decision to use this book as an anchor: it’s a reference work that can be cited; it was published in 2008, the starting point of my investigation; and it was published by a reputable company, Taunton Press.
All of that said, my choice to use Green From the Ground Up as a starting point is admittedly arbitrary.
My current understanding of green building is somewhat biased, having been shaped by the authors invited to write for GBA. Green builders, in my opinion, strive to build energy-efficient buildings that have a minimal impact on the natural world. These buildings should be resource-efficient and should try to minimize emissions of gases that contribute to global…
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