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7 Best Sustainable Real Estate And Green Building Books

Sustainability and energy efficiency are becoming more and more important topics for the real estate industry. Buildings have a significant impact on our environment, society, and economy, thus it is essential to create properties with sustainability in mind. New technologies and design solutions coming up every day and it can be challenging to keep an overview of the market. Furthermore, supporting policies and incentives are published by governments regularly to increase investments in these types of buildings. 

To help you find reliable sources of information regarding these topics, we created this ranking of the 7 best sustainable real estate and green building books.

7 Best Sustainable Real Estate And Green Building Books

Each of the 7 best sustainable real estate books covers the topic of green buildings but also has an individual focus on certain aspects. This can be design, finances, investment, cities, policies, and more. We are sure that you will find a book that fits your current needs the best in the ranking.

The following books have been selected depending on how up-to-date their information is, how readers and professionals are rating them, how credible their authors are, and when they have been published.

1 | Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery


Year: 2016
Author: Charles J. Kibert
Pages: 608

“Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery” by Charles J. Kilbert provides you with a great foundation of knowledge when it comes to sustainable real estate. Every major aspect that is important for greener buildings is considered, from engineering, architecture, and construction to economics and financial return.

Furthermore, the author explains the purpose of green building certification methods and their various applications. All of this content is supported by a number of case studies that really make you memorize the facts and showcase results with real-life examples. Certain chapters of the book focus more on the big picture of sustainable real estate, such as carbon emissions, the circular economy of building materials, as well as the background of the sustainability movement for commercial and residential properties. In other parts of the book, you will learn how to apply sustainable design and construction methods for the exterior and interior of buildings. Also, something that is often not considered at first, the author explains how to choose a sustainable site and landscape.

Charles J. Kilbert has helped to create many green buildings as a consultant for design and construction, including some of the first LEED-certified properties in the US. He is also teaching students at the University of Florida as a professor about different sustainability topics. 

“Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery” is a great book to get started with sustainable real estate and green buildings as it provides you with a foundation of the most important aspects.

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2 | Frank Lloyd Wright Natural Design: Lessons for Building Green from an American Original


Year: 2012
Author: Alan Hess
Photographer: Alan Weintraub
Pages: 224

Creating green buildings is challenging and requires a well-thought-out plan. So why not take inspiration from one of the most famous architects of the 20th century – Frank Lloyd Wright. In this sustainable real estate book, the author Alan Hess presents the work of this forward-looking architect and explains the importance of green buildings.

Throughout the book, you will find a large variety of high-quality pictures and illustrations provided by the photographer Alan Weintraub. Each chapter explores the concepts that Frank Lloyd Wright used to design green buildings. From combining nature and real estate, sustainable materials, and lighting to interior design, and landscaping. When reading the book, you will understand the importance of passive design and its link to building technology. Furthermore, the author is also providing information on thermal massing and insulation. 

All of these design concepts and theories are explained in detail while always referring back to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, which makes this book a great source of inspiration but also comprehensive knowledge. If you are a fan of the architect and already know many of his buildings, it can still be worth taking a look at the book since it also includes some of his lesser-known works.

The author Alan Hess is an architect himself and has written a variety of similar books about some of the most famous architects in the world.

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3 | Green Building Illustrated


Year: 2020
Authors: Francis D. K. Ching, Ian M. Shapiro
Pages: 336

“Green Building Illustrated” provides technical information about the creation of sustainable real estate, supported by detailed illustrations of the processes and concepts. It makes this book by Francis D. K. Ching and Ian M. Shapiro a great tool to understand the design, as well as the construction of these types of buildings.

Every aspect of a building’s lifecycle is analysed by the authors, but a large focus lies on the design and technology for the operational phase. While construction and demolition also have an impact on the environment, during the operational phase the most energy and resources are used. Therefore, the book concentrates on the topics that can bring the biggest change to the real estate industry.

At the beginning of this green building book, you will learn how architecture, the buildings’ shape, and the outer parts of a structure can become sustainable. Afterwards, the focus is more on the interior, including lighting, HVAC, insulation, water management, and indoor quality. In the end, the authors explain the importance of renewable energy and materials on sustainable performance, including net-zero buildings. All of the content is not only supported by detailed illustrations, but also by case studies from projects all around the globe.

Both authors have extensive experience in the real estate industry, with Francis D. K. Ching who was a professor at the University of Washington and Ian M. Shapiro who is the founder of the consulting company Taitem Engineering. Moreover, they have written multiple books in the field of architecture and energy-efficient real estate.

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4 | Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Real Estate


Year: 2021
Authors: Sara Wilkinson, Tim Dixon, Norm Miller, Sarah Sayce
Pages: 446

If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to sustainable real estate that focuses more on policies, finance, investment strategies, and management, the Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Real Estate will be a good choice for you. All of these mentioned factors are equally as important as the design or construction phase itself and need to be in line with sustainable concepts.

The authors Sara Wilkinson, Tim Dixon, Norm Miller, and Sarah Sayce provide academic knowledge and research for the commercial and residential real estate market. In this book, you will find new innovative solutions in different fields of property that aim to solve some of the environmental challenges that come with this industry. It is not only limited to these concerns but also to social and economical sustainability. By combining all these factors, this sustainable real estate book is a valuable handbook for many contributing partners, such as developers, investors, government employees, appraisers, and also architects.

In the beginning, the authors present you with the current state of the industry and what needs to change in the future, followed by new regulations and policies that aim to achieve this. The next chapter is about the financial perspective of sustainable real estate. This includes how to value these assets, the financial return from creating green buildings, and innovative investment opportunities such as sustainable REITs. In the third major part of the book, you will learn how to manage commercial real estate – from offices to retail stores. Lastly, the authors want to emphasize the importance of redeveloping and retrofitting existing properties, as well as neighbourhoods, with sustainable technologies and solutions.

The four authors provide valuable knowledge for the handbook, as they all are professors of real estate and sustainability at different universities such as UTS Sydney, University of Reading, Royal Agricultural University, and the University of San Diego. Furthermore, each of them brings professional experience from the property industry and has worked on multiple different projects.

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5 | Passive House Details: Solutions for High-Performance Design


Year: 2017
Authors: Donald B. Corner, Jan C. Fillinger, Alison G. Kwok
Pages: 332

Passive houses are characterised by their minimal energy consumption thanks to excellent passive design elements and insulation. These aspects are essential for any building that aims to have a high sustainable performance. Thus, if you are enthusiastic about learning how to design and construct green buildings, the book “Passive House Details: Solutions for High-Performance Design” is a must-read.

A number of case studies will help you understand the importance and utilization of certain elements of a passive house. In addition, hundreds of illustrations and pictures provide great visual support, which makes this book complex but also relatively easy to understand if you come from an architecture or engineering background. Each part of the building is explained in detail, starting with the construction site and its foundation, which all impact the sustainable performance of it. Following, the authors present a large variety of solutions for the floors, walls, roofs, windows, and doors. Each of the different chapters is presenting examples of passive housing and how the technology is used in them.

The authors of this sustainable real estate book are Donald B. Corner, Jan C. Fillinger, and Alison G. Kwok. Corner is an architect and professor that teaches building construction. Fillinger is a passive house consultant, architect, and real estate developer with a focus on sustainability. Kwok is also working as a passive house consultant and architect. She teaches sustainable building design and conducts research on green buildings, climate change, and the environment.

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6 | New Financial Strategies for Sustainable Buildings: Practical Guidance for Built Environment Professionals


Year: 2017
Authors: Stephen Finnegan
Pages: 132

One of the main aspects of green buildings that is holding investors and developers back from proceeding with the design, is the uncertainty of its financial return. If you find yourself in the same situation and want to start joining the sustainable building path, the book “New Financial Strategies for Sustainable Buildings: Practical Guidance for Built Environment Professionals” might be a good choice for you.

The author, Stephen Finnegan, is explaining the different methods of financing a green building and the attached risks for the whole lifecycle. You will be guided through the design and construction process, and learn how each of the different elements can impact your financial planning. From the investment side itself, information is provided on incentives and benefits of green buildings, but also on the barriers that come with it. In the last main chapter, you will learn how to assess different types of risk in the development process. To support the research conducted by the author, eight case studies can be found at the end of this sustainable real estate book.

Stephen Finnegan specialises in sustainable design for buildings and has a focus on low-carbon solutions. In addition, he is a professor at the University of Liverpool for sustainable architecture.

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7 | Sustainable Real Estate: Multidisciplinary Approaches to an Evolving System


Year: 2018
Authors: Thomas Walker, Cary Krosinsky, Lisa N. Hasan, Stéfanie D. Kibsey
Pages: 476

“Sustainable Real Estate: Multidisciplinary Approaches to an Evolving System” by Thomas Walker, Cary Krosinsky, Lisa N. Hasan, and Stéfanie D. Kibsey discusses the impact of buildings on the environment and how their lifecycle can be enhanced.

In the first chapters,  you will be introduced to the topic by showing the evolution of green buildings and sustainability in the property industry. This part is followed by discussions about the effectiveness of policies and regulations in the EU, as well as trends that have started to show up in this regard. Afterwards, the authors provide you with a market approach toward sustainable buildings and how organizations can effectively utilize sustainability. In the last two chapters, you will learn about the importance of affordable green energy for the property market, and how sustainable principles can be applied to whole cities and communities.

This book is ideal for anyone who wants to have comprehensive information about the relationship between real estate and social, economical, as well as environmental sustainability. It provides insights into the collaboration of different partners including politicians, investors, developers, citizens, and homeowners.

The authors of this sustainable real estate book come from different backgrounds, but all focus on sustainable construction. Stéfanie D. Kibsey has worked for the David O’Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise and holds a Master’s degree in environmental studies. Lisa N. Hasan works as an architect with a focus on green buildings and sustainability. Cary Krosinsky is teaching at Yale and other universities. He has written multiple books and papers about sustainable finance and investments. Thomas Walker has also published a variety of articles about sustainable finance and has directed the David O’Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise.

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Each of the presented books aims to provide extensive information on sustainable real estate and green buildings. Whether it is related to design, construction, financing, investment, or policymaking, they clearly explain what is necessary to improve the current situation of the property market.

If you want to learn more about sustainability, smart buildings, smart cities, and PropTech, feel free to take a look at our other blog articles.

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