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Sustainability & Renewable Energy

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S&RE Library Research - Built Environments

When using the Library Search Engine (Primo), enter specific search terms to help narrow your focus. For example, searching for "Green Building" is more helpful than simply searching for "Construction" and—depending on your particular topic"Indoor Environmental Quality" or "Urban Forestry" might be even better.

Consider also filtering your search results by media type (e.g. books, streaming videos &c) or arranging them by most recent publication date. Newer is not always better, but more recent scholarship does have the benefit of hindsight. Finding current information is especially important for fast-changing fields and technologies, whether it be green building standards or tiny house zoning laws.

If you find resources particularly helpful for your research interests, use the catalog entry to your advantage and search for other books or media with similar subject headings and keywords.

Example Topics in Green Building & Infrastructure

Green Building & Sustainable Construction

  • Sustainable Design

    • Biophilic Design

    • Biomimicry

    • Ecohouse

    • Arcology

    • Living Building Challenge

  • Sustainable Sites (SS)

    • Environmental Site Assessment

    • Brownfield Redevelopment

    • Smart City & Smart Growth

    • Urban Density

    • Walkability

  • Integrated Process (IP)

  • Materials & Resources (MR)

    • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

    • Embodied Energy

    • Bio-Based Materials

    • Rapidly Renewable

    • Environmental Toxicology

    • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    • Integrated Waste Management

      • Zero Waste

      • Composting

      • Bioremediation

      • Anaerobic Digestion

    • Deconstruction

  • Water Efficiency (WE)

    • Low Impact Development

    • Greywater System

    • Rain Garden or Rain Barrel

    • Sponge City

    • EPA Water Sense

  • Energy & Atmosphere (EA)

    • Energy Efficiency

    • Urban Heat Island

    • Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB)

    • Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

    • Passive House

    • Carbon Footprint

    • EPA Energy Star

  • Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

    • Indoor Air Quality

    • Sick Building Syndrome

    • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

    • Thermal Comfort

    • Daylighting

    • Over-Illumination

  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)

    • Smart Home

    • Internet of Things (IoT)

  • Natural Landscaping

    • Xeriscaping

    • Urban Forestry

    • Green Roof

Sustainable Development

  • Resilience

  • New Urbanism

Alternative Housing

  • Tiny House Movement

  • Nano House & Microshelters

  • Shipping Container Home

  • Cob House

  • Straw Bale Construction

  • Earth Berms & Earth-Sheltered Homes

  • Earthship

Databases for Green Building, Architecture & Design


  • GREENR (Gale) - Resource that offers authoritative content on the environment including energy systems, green technologies, sustainability, healthcare, food, climate change, population, and economic development.

  • ARTstor - ARTstor is the largest image collection of all types of artwork available online at Seminole State. Little research information is contained here, but this database is full of high quality images of most artists' and architects' work. Images found here can be used for all projects and presentations, too!

  • JSTOR - A unique database focused on providing access to thousands of archival scholarly journals in many disciplines including the humanities, social science, and science. play button View a video tutorial or a printable handout on this database.

  • MasterFILE Premier (EBSCO) - Contains full-text magazine and newspaper articles covering business, health, education, general science, and multicultural issues. This database also provides primary source documents as well as photos, maps, and flags.

  • Springer eJournal Collection - This database functions as a portal to all of the Springer journal publications available to students at Seminole State. There is a wide range of subjects covered, though the focus is on technical and scientific research.

Web Resources for Green Building, Architecture & Design


Green Building Organizations & Tools

  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) - A national organization founded in 1993 to promote sustainability-focused practices in the building industry; known for its Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

  • Green Building Initiative (GBI) - A non-profit organization that advocates for a tailored (less "one-size-fits-all") approach to sustainable building design; known for its Green Globes Building Certification.

  • Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) - A Florida-based non-profit founded "to provide a statewide green building program that defines, promotes, and encourages sustainable efforts with environmental and economic benefits;" known for its five Green Building Standards.

  • Building Research Establishment (BRE) - An international organization based in the UK that unites researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians to improve the efficiency, productivity, sustainability and enjoyability of built spaces; known for it's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - U.S. government agency tasked with protecting human health and upholding environmental regulations. The EPA provides educational materials to the public and has created various tools helpful to builders and building managers, including:

    • Energy Star - A program that certifies the energy efficiency of commercially available products, including household appliances, office equipment, building materials, HVAC and more. 

    • Energy Star Portfolio Manager - An industry-standard tool that helps building managers track energy consumption, water use, and waste generation across multiple properties and facilities. Portfolio Manager also allows users to compare a building's performance against national averages. The EPA provides free training on Portfolio Manager via slide decks, demonstration videos and regularly scheduled webinars.

    • Water Sense - An inspection and certification program for water efficiency in household products, such as showerheads and faucets, as well as for landscaping, new homes, and commercial buildings

  • Home Innovation Research Labs - An independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) that provides market research, consulting, product testing and certification for homes and products; known for its National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Certification.



  • ArchTalks - Collection of videos and audio interviews from notable architects.

  • SPIRO - Online catalog and image library for architectural structure hosted by the College of Environmental Design Visual Resources Center.

  • American Memory Project - Part of the Library of Congress’s collection, this site has over 29,000 photographs of architectural subjects taken by Samuel Gottscho and William Schleisner between 1935 and 1955. Interior and exterior views of homes, offices, historic buildings, and other structures are included.

  • American Institute of Architects - The leading association for the professional and educational outlets of architecture in the United States.
  • Architectural Record Magazine - Periodical source for architecture design, modern architecture, and green architecture from McGraw Hill Construction.
  • International Architecture Database - Contains information on over 38,000 built and unrealized architectural projects, mostly from the 20th century.
  • - McGraw-Hill's portal to everything about construction news, product information, and company information.

Interior Design
  • American Society of Interior Designers - Home page for this professional community. Of particular value is the Code of Ethics, the Student Center section, and the Knowledge Center.

  • Design Addict - Directory providing brief descriptions of interior furnishings, styles, and notable designer (1920 to present).
  • New Home Portfolio  - The world's leading directory of home design products and retailers.
  • Interior Design - Online portal for Interior Design magazine.