Free Green Building Resources from A-Z:

Table of Contents


Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.

Building Occupant Productivity

Recent scholarly research into the effects of LEED certification on 562 financial institution

s (93 LEED certified, 469 non-certified) found that annual utilities cost per employee in green facilities was $675.26 lower than in non-green facilities. Further, employees working in the LEED-certified branches of the same financial institution were found to be “more productive and engaged in their work.

Energy Efficiency

Owners of green buildings reported that their ROI improved by 19.2% on average for existing building green projects and 9.9% on average for new projects.

Green Banks and Financing

According to the Coalition for Green Capital, a green bank is a public or quasi-public financing institution that provides low-cost, long-term financing support to clean, low-carbon projects by leveraging public funds through the use of various financial mechanisms to attract private investment so that each public dollar supports multiple dollars of private investment. 

Green Roof on Walter Reed Facility
Credit: Walter Reed via Flickr

Green Building Certification Systems

Green Building Industry

In 2015 it is estimated that 40-48 percent of new nonresidential construction will be green, equating to a $120-145 billion opportunity.

Green Energy

“Green energy will beat dirty energy only when it makes technical and economic sense.”David Brooks

Green Financial & Economic Performance

Green Home Builders

Green Job Resources

Green Leasing

Green Real Estate Investing

Solar installation at IKEA in Brooklyn
Photo credit: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

Green REITs

Green Roofs


LEED Training Materials:

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.

NABCEP Resources for Exam Preparation

Net Zero Buildings

A zero-energy building, also known as a zero net energy (ZNE) building, net-zero energy building (NZEB), or net zero building, is a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site or in other definitions by renewable energy sources elsewhere. These buildings consequently do not increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They do at times consume non-renewable energy and produce greenhouse gases, but at other times reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas production elsewhere by the same amount.

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy):

PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) is a simple and effective way to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to buildings. PACE can pay for new heating and cooling systems, lighting improvements, solar panels, water pumps, insulation, and more for almost any property – homes, commercial, industrial, non-profit, and agricultural.

Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs)

A Renewable Energy Certificate, aka “REC”, Green Tag, or Renewable Energy Credit, is a tradable commodity representing proof that one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity was generated by a legitimate renewable energy source. The certificate itself can be bought or sold, and embodies the right to claim the environmental benefits, such as greenhouse gas avoided, from the renewable energy source that produced the electricity. (Continue reading)

Solar Energy

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.

Solar Lease and PPA Companies

Leasing a solar system is similar to leasing a car or a TV, however with many solar lease companies or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) companies, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket.  You simply pay your solar provider a monthly fee (fixed, escalating or de-escalating) to lease their solar panels.

PPAs are similar to solar leases – the only difference is that you pay a discounted amount of money each month for the amount of power the solar panels produce from the sun, as opposed to just leasing the equipment.

For both solar lease and PPA companies they will typically take care of everything from installation to monitoring and maintenance.

Sustainable Development and Infrastructure:


The U.S. Green Building Council is made up of tens of thousands of member organizations, chapters and student and community volunteers that are moving the building industry forward in a way that has never been seen before. USGBC is a diverse group of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofits, teachers and students, lawmakers and citizens that share the same vision of a sustainable built environment for all within the next generation.

Green Websites, Blogs and Media:

Mandalay Bay Solar Installation
Photo credit: Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)


According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a yieldco is a dividend growth-oriented public company, created by a parent company (e.g., SunEdison), that bundles renewable and/or conventional long-term contracted operating assets in order to generate predictable cash flows. Yieldcos allocate cash available for distribution (CAFD) each year or quarter to shareholders in the form of dividends. This investment can be attractive to shareholders because they can expect low-risk returns (or yields) that are projected to increase over time. The capital raised can be used to pay off expensive debt or finance new projects at rates lower than those available through tax equity finance, which can exceed 8%.

  • NextEra Energy Partners
  • NRG Yield
  • Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners
  • TransAlta Renewables
  • Pattern Energy Group
  • Abengoa Yield PLC
  • Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure
  • TerraForm Power
  • 8Point3 Energy Partners

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