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This is a list of the most important GBA articles on design.

If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on “how to” articles, check out this resource page: “How to do Everything.”

  • Green Basics

    Integrated Design

    Integrated Design: Treating Designers, Builders, and Subcontractors as a Team

  • Blogs

    Integrated Design Teams

    The Role of the Interior Designer For me, being an interior designer is about my "project community." Clients ask us into their lives on an incredibly intimate level and then generously invite us to bring their dreams to fruition. We connect with their family members, ask questions about their lifestyles, and learn their daily habits. They take us into their bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets as they open their lives to us. This level of trust compels us to achieve the clients' goals with the highest standards. What is an "integrated design approach"?

  • Green Building Blog

    Ready, Set, Go!

    When I was a kid, every race started with those three words. What do they mean, anyway? They mean that some things need to happen before a process really takes off. An integrated design process is no exception.

  • Green Building Blog

    Pensive About Process

    In the green-building community, we talk a lot about how essential an integrated design process is to achieving a really green project. I’ve been thinking about that more and more over the last two years, ever since after I retired from chairing the USGBC’s LEED for Homes development effort.

  • Green Communities

    Integrative Design: Planning Early Reduces Risk Later

    Hello, Green NSP World. I saw this post on the larger Enterprise Community Partners blog by Ray Demers @the horizon and thought you would enjoy it! - Amy Charrettes as a simpler fix

  • Green Building Blog

    The First … Charrette?

    Okay, so you’ve put your stellar team together, and everyone’s agreed about how the integrated design process is going to unfold. It may be new to them, but they’re game. Now you’re going to hold a charrette to kick off the process. What happens there? First of all, what’s a "charrette" anyway?

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Plan Ahead For Insulation

    For decades, designers and builders of wood-framed homes didn’t spend much time thinking about insulation. The usual approach — still followed in much of the U.S. — was to fill the stud bays with fiberglass batts, and, once the ceiling drywall was installed, to unroll some fiberglass insulation in the attic. Because of this decades-long legacy, it’s not unusual for a designer, builder, or homeowner to post the following question on Green Building Advisor: “We just finished framing, installing windows, and roofing. Now we have a few questions about the best way to insulate.”

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Bathroom Design

    Americans who grew up in the 1950s or early 60s (that includes me) remember living in a house with one bathroom. There was usually someone standing outside the door yelling, “Hurry up!” These days, most Americans live in (or aspire to live in) a house with two or more bathrooms. My guess is that we’re never going to return to the bathroom standards of the 1950s; two-bathroom houses are probably here to stay.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Kitchen Design

    Every decade, kitchen design becomes more complicated. It’s gotten to the point where some residential designers subcontract the work to a specialist. If you are a humble owner-builder, do your kitchen preferences even matter anymore? Of course they do. If you’re building a house, you should certainly have a say in matters affecting kitchen design — even if your ideas are different from those of the experts.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Martin’s Pretty Good House Manifesto

    One of the presentations I attended at the Passive House conference in Portland, Maine, on September 22, 2014 was a session called “Passive House certifiers’ roundtable.” The first speaker on the panel, Tomas O’Leary, explained that he usually charges about $2,200 to certify a residential Passivhaus project. He warned the audience that certification is “quite an effort; don’t underestimate it.”

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Hot-Climate Design

    People who live in Florida or Texas often accuse energy-efficiency experts of having a cold-climate bias. They’re right: most energy-saving tips are written with cold-climate buildings in mind — perhaps understandably, since Americans spend about twice as much for residential heating as they do for cooling. Whatever the origins of this pervasive cold-climate bias, it’s time to rectify the situation with a few hot-climate design tips.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    Energy Modeling Isn’t Very Accurate

    Energy consultants and auditors use energy modeling software for a variety of purposes, including rating the performance of an existing house, calculating the effect of energy retrofit measures, estimating the energy use of a new home, and determining the size of new heating and cooling equipment. According to most experts, the time and expense spent on energy modeling is an excellent investment, because it leads to better decisions than those made by contractors who use rules of thumb.

  • Musings of an Energy Nerd

    How to Design an Off-Grid House

    A very small percentage of U.S. homes are off the electricity grid — far fewer, for example, than in Africa. That said, North American designers of off-grid homes often end up posting questions on GBA. To help this subset of builders avoid common design errors, I’ll share what I’ve learned from living in an off-grid house for 42 years.


  • Collection

    Air Barriers and Air Sealing

    This is a list of the most important GBA articles on air barriers and air sealing. If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special…

  • Collection

    Deep Energy Retrofits

    This is a list of the most important GBA articles on deep energy retrofits. If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on…

  • Collection


    This is a list of the most important GBA articles on foundations. If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on "how to"…

  • Collection

    Cellulose insulation

    This is a list of the most important GBA articles on cellulose insulation. If you are looking for an index that spans all categories, with a special focus on "how…


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