In last month’s column (part 1 can be found at The Home Monthly), I made the case for the importance of energy efficiency and sustainability in the construction of new homes and renovation of existing. I promised that in my next column I would suggest options for learning and training, whether you are a builder or just an interested homeowner.

A home under construction, wrapped with a blue weather membrane

This new home has been wrapped with an adhesive weather membrane to make the walls air-tight and to protect them from any rain water that gets past the siding. The vertical strips of wood create a gap between the siding and the membrane to allow for drainage.


Fine Homebuilding (Taunton Press) is written for the general public and profiles energy efficient homes in every issue, along with articles on new materials and green building techniques.  The Journal of Light Construction (JLC) is written for professionals, with technical articles on how to build air-tight, thermal-bridge-free, super-insulated thermal envelopes.  JLC articles always include lots of pictures and illustrations. Green Builder magazine describes itself as the “building industry’s leading magazine focused on green building and sustainable development.” The magazine is not that technical and is suitable for both homeowners and professionals.  For example, the current issue is billed as “The Homeowner’s Handbook,” and can be downloaded at no cost.

Web sites

Energy Star for Homes (Department of Energy) is a very good site for an introduction to the subject of energy efficient home building.  The Green Home Guide (US Green Building Council) features articles on a variety of green building subjects. Green Building Advisor (Taunton Press) offers a $15 monthly subscription to access a massive amount of information covering every aspect of green building. This is probably the single best resource out there for beginner and expert alike.  Many of my customers use this to educate themselves on various subjects as their home projects progress. Included are expert evaluations of most green products on the market.


The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) has an annual Spring conference in Boston which features experts from around the country and sessions that cover both basic and expert topics. The Energy and Environmental Building Alliance and the Home Performance Coalition each offer multiday national conferences that cover similar topics.  All of these conferences include trade shows where vendors of green building products have representatives on hand to answer questions.


The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offers a training curriculum for professionals to become Certified Green Professionals (CGP) and Master CGP’s. The CGP designation requires 18 hours of on-line course work, plus two years of building experience.  The Master CGP requires an additional 18 hours of on-line course work, plus five years of building experience and involvement with three homes certified to the National Green Building Standard or a comparable certification program.  NESEA offers what they call BuildingEnergy Masters Series courses, which are aimed at professionals interested in subjects related to building and renovating high performance homes.

As you can see, there is no shortage of resources for anyone who wants to learn more.  Given the importance of the subject and the increasing level of homeowner interest, according to industry surveys, it makes no sense for a professional to delay their participation in the industry transition any longer.