A (Loud) Call to Sustainability

January 4th, 2006 by Peter Schmelzer

Back when I was in graduate school at Iowa State University, my major professor loaned me a book called “The Passive Solar Energy Book”, written in 1979 by Ed Mazria. I’ve learned that when people loan out a book very guardedly, there is probably something special in those pages. Bob made very sure he got the book back. But before he did, I scoured the pages, taking in all the knowledge I could about sun angles, insolation, characteristics of heat, passive solar systems, and design patterns. The material became the heart of my Master’s thesis and a part of who I am.

So, when I started my practice, I searched out the out-of-print book and bought a copy, remembering the wealth of information it contained. Sure enough, it came in very handy when designing our first low-energy house. I also have been acquiring other resources to aid in the quest for sustainable design, including energy modeling software, green materials data, and articles on integrated design.

Today I came across a link to Architecture2030.org on Sounding Circle.com (Thanks, Lloyd.) I was delighted to find out Ed Mazria put together this excellent website. It is like coming home after a long trip. What makes it so good?

First, it is a well designed site that is easy to follow, making learning easy and interesting. That is a major hurdle passed.

Second is the content. Each section is concise and factual, making a clear case for green design.

Third is the fantastic collection of resource links; it’s like a second Christmas!

While primarily directed at the architecture community, I think the site is good food for thought for the entire building industry. Take a look!


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