“Green buildings are the inevitable future of Architecture. Conventional buildings consume and contaminate vast amounts of water, and are responsible for much of the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming—the most tangible urgent environmental problem threatening our whole way of life”

-- Peter Buchanan Architectural Record, May 2000

Green Building Philosophy

Materials, products, method, and processes are evaluated for their overall environmental Life Cycle costs. Criteria considered in a Life Cycle analysis include:

Resource Extraction -How is the product raw material extracted from the Earth?
Transportation Costs -How far away does it come from, what transportation is involved?
Manufacturing/Installation -What comes from the process of making the product, are there any harmful by-products or pollution?
Use/Durability/Offgassing/Maintenance -What happens to it after it's installed?
End Game Disposal -What do we do with it when it's time to dispose of the material?

Noel F. Cross Architect AIA also lives and works according to these ecological guidelines. We recycle disposable goods as much as possible (blueprint paper, office paper, bottles, cans, etc.) and two of my staff of five use alternative methods of getting to work (city bus, bicycle). All of our stationery is printed on recycled content paper w/soy based inks. We have been listed in the National Green Pages and regularly participate in environmental seminars and programs. Mr. Cross is building his own personal residence using passive solar design, rammed earth walls, radiant floor heating with a ground source heat pump, reclaimed lumber, and photo-voltaic solar panels.

"GREEN" Building Alternatives Click to download pdf

The following is a partial list of some of the environmentally friendly, sustainable, or "green" building design concepts that we here at Noel F. Cross Architect AIA incorporate into our architectural practice. There are several alternatives/categories available when choosing Earth friendly design, so there is sure to be something that applies to almost anyone's level of "environmental commitment":

 Green by design:  Structural/Systems Alternatives:


basic passive solar design techniques

fly ash in structural concrete vs. cement
natural flow through ventilation
manufactured strand lumber vs. standard
south facing glass, limited north glass
TJI floor, ceiling and roof joists vs. "sticks"
interior mass walls and floors
demolition & construction recycling
calibrated overhangs/fins/sun shades
cotton or cellulose insulation vs. fiberglass
basic building siting/orientation
rain water reclamation systems
landscape placement/protection
high efficiency furnaces/boilers
basic daylighting techniques
ACQ pressure treated lumber vs. ACZA/CCA
 Finish Material Alternatives

bamboo flooring vs. oak hardwood flooring

concrete countertops vs. granite
recycled content tile vs. imported stone
low-e windows/french doors vs. standard
anything but carpet as floor material
non-formaldehyde content anything
linoleum or cork tile vs. sheet vinyl
compact fluorescent light fixtures/bulbs
wheat board vs. particle board
low/zero VOC adhesives/sealants
metal roofing/slate/tile vs. shakes
low/zero VOC paints/stains/finishes
composite siding vs. redwood/cedar
recycled/reclaimed lumber vs. standard
 Energy Efficient Active Systems

photo-voltaic solar for electricity loads

BIPV (Building Integrated Photo Voltaics) roofing, siding and glazing
wind generator for electricity loads radiant floor heating vs. forced air
hot water solar vs. gas fired pool/spa heating w/solar panels
ground source heat pump system    
 100% Fundamentally Environmental Building Systems

•  rammed earth wall system
•  PISE (pneumatically impacted stabilized earth)
•  straw bale/plaster wall system
•  SIP (structural insulated panels) wall and roof systems
•  recycled lumber and strand lumber framing