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One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore examples of real-world projects—by touring green homes or reading about them. Completed projects can give you ideas for your own home. And we all benefit from hearing about not only the most successful aspects of model projects, but also about the lessons learned by those who have already “blazed the trail.”
The following websites feature free collections of case studies (or in-depth profile articles) on green homes around the country. Some of these sites showcase home renovations and remodels, while others focus on new homes.
- GreenBuildingAdvisor.com’s Green Homes case studies include technical data on energy use/savings, cross-section drawings for builders and designers, multiple photographs of each home’s features, and in-depth project descriptions. You can search for specific case studies by region, and there are categories for Remodels and Near-Zero-Energy Homes. Among the case studies are two that I wrote: one about a green addition and renovation in Pacifica, CA, and another about a beautiful solar home on the Oregon coast.
- LEED for Homes certified project profiles, new homes only (U.S. Green Building Council)
- Passive Houses (Passive House Institute)
- GreenPoint Rated remodel case studies (Build It Green, California)
- REGREEN remodeling projects and case studies (American Society of Interior Designers / USGBC)
- High Performance Buildings Database case studies (U.S. Department of Energy / BuildingGreen): Go to “Search Options,” then select “Building Type,” and choose “Single-Family Residential,” or search by location. Most of the case studies in this database are on commercial and institutional buildings.
- Mother Earth News: Green Homes section, which regularly includes articles (like this recent piece) that profile green home projects
In addition to the LEED for Homes, Passive House, and GreenPoint Rated certifications that are mentioned above, homes can also be certified under the rigorous Living Building Challenge program. The first home to achieve the Living Building Challenge certification is the Eco-Sense home in Victoria, British Columbia. The International Living Building Institute has posted this comprehensive case study on the Eco-Sense home.
Miriam Landman is a sustainability advisor and writer with expertise in green building and green living practices. To learn more about her professional background and services, visit her website: M. Landman Communications & Consulting. Also, take a look at her daily posts on The Green Spotlight page on Facebook.