Books: Green Design and Architecture

Architect Alex Scott Porter grew up in New York City but spent summers at a farmhouse in Maine, eating vegetables from the garden, drinking from a gravity-fed water tap, and bathing in a nearby lake. These rustic experiences have had a lasting effect on Porter’s architectural approach; in her designs, she strives to create a built environment that is in harmony with nature, using materials that are environmentally clean and natural ventilation whenever possible.

We recently caught up with Porter and asked her for a list of her favorite books on sustainable design. Prices at are listed below; for a more sustainable alternative, check them out at your local library.

Above L: Sustainable Living: 25 International Examples, by Dominique Gauzin-Muller; $79.95 at Amazon. “Inspiring examples of how green architecture does not have to be reductive and austere.”

Above R: The Green Studio Handbook, by Alison Kwok and Walter Grondzik; $43.23 at Amazon. “This book sets up a nice reference outline for approaching a project in a sustainable manner, from siting to alternative energy options.”

Above: Building Envelopes: An Integrated Approach, by Jenny Lovell; $16.47 at Amazon. “This book describes a number of sustainable envelope case studies. Where a lot of publications gloss over the technical aspects in favor of flashy photos, this book uses simple diagrams to convey the underlying principles of energy efficiencies.”

Above: Architectural Detailing: Function, Constructibility, Aesthetics, by Edward Allen and Patrick Rand; $35.15 at Amazon. “Although this book is not explicitly about sustainable design, it does a great job of illustrating the essential patterns of construction that will last, which to me is paramount to sustainability.”

Above: In Search of Natural Architecture, by David Pearson; $25.37 at Amazon. “This book examine the sustainable aspects of vernacular architecture from around the world. It also offers powerful examples of how architecture affects spiritual well being.”

Above: Hot, Flat, and Crowded, by Thomas L. Friedman; $10.88 at Amazon. “Friedman presents a convincing argument for why we need to embrace green design now; I wish everybody would read this book.”

Above: LEED Materials: A Resource Guide to Green Building, by Ari Meisel; $26.40 at Amazon. “In a marketplace where many materials are advertised as green, this book is helpful in separating out those that actually are.”

To see some of Porter’s work, visit Alex Scott Porter Design in Remodelista’s Architect/Designer Directory.


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Interesting .

Susan S.
Paul Stephan6 years ago

Great to have these listed.

peggy p.
peggy p6 years ago

thanks for the info

Jay O.
Jay Stone6 years ago

I love this sort of information. Thanks for sharing.

I'd like to build my first home in a similar way within the next 5 years and am excited by the range of products and ideas that are available these days that allow us to create more 'cleaner' and 'greener' environments.

Caitlin F.
Caitlin F6 years ago

Thanks for sharing :)

Mandi A.
Amanda A6 years ago

Very cool. Thank you

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago

Thank you, Norm, for bringing this to our attention.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W6 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Interesting thanks.

Mem H.
Mem T6 years ago

so fantastic that there are so many more books on sustainable architecture and design these days :)