Green building methods

Green building methods describe a series of processes that minimize the environmental impact that a building has throughout its life; from initial design through to eventual dereliction or demolition.

Key focuses of green building methods are the use of natural, recycled and sustainable building materials; efficient design and use of water and power systems; reduction in pollution and waste; and minimizing damage to the local ecosystem during and after construction.

This subject area focuses on construction and design techniques; energy technologies; water and sewage; and natural disaster resistance. Self-build and tools are dealt with in other sections of the Knowledge Base.

The 52 Climate Actions website also has a useful practical action page on this subject: Build with green materials

Straw bale house

In this category...


Adobe is a building material made from sand, clay, water and either straw or sticks.

Earth sheltered construction

Earth sheltered construction, or earth sheltering, is the practice of heaping earth over and/or around a building.

Brighton Earthship


An earthship is a low impact cutting edge building that is constructed using waste car tyres and other recycled materials.

Energy Efficiency

Over the last two hundred years we have constructed an infrastructure and a way of life that is dependent on our use of fossil fuels.

Lime plaster

Lime plaster is type of plaster composed of hydrated lime, sand and water.

Passive house (Passivhaus)

'Passivhaus' is a German standard for extremely energy efficient building construction.

Passive solar construction

Passive solar buildings are constructed to gather and store heat through their walls, windows and roofs during the winter and to repel heat during the summer. They are developed around the local climate.

image by Kate Greenhalf

Straw bale building

Straw bales are a unique building product because you can create any structure even if you lack experience or are unfamiliar with conventional building techniques.

Timber framed

Timber framing is also known as half-timbering or post-and-beam construction. It was widely used in pre-industrial times for houses and barns.

This is just a stone

Using stone

Stone is the most durable and timeless of materials that has been used for thousands of years.