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The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building:
Redefining the Practice of Sustainability

By 7group and Bill Reed, 2009, Wiley & Sons; 416 pages, $75
Order online from: Wiley & Sons Publishing or from

Seeking to “redesign the design process,” as they put it, the authors of this remarkable book share their unquenchable spirit of inquiry. At the core of the book is an expanded and updated presentation of their method of integrative design—“integrative” because the integration is ongoing, never completed as would be implied by the more common term “integrated design.”

In that sense, this book is like a reference guide to the “Whole Systems Integrated Process Guide (WSIP) 2007 for Sustainable Buildings & Communities,” an ANSI/MTS standard (see EBN September 2007). But wrapped around that step-by-step, nuts-and-bolts guidance are the big ideas that inform this integrative process. Understanding that buildings, their components, and their context are nested whole systems, the way to solve interconnected problems without creating new ones is to “solve for pattern.” This is done by discovering the story of each place, and designing not merely to restore ecological functions but to facilitate the ongoing evolution of a place to higher and better functioning.

Ultimately, the focus of resources, energy, and attention that comes about when designing and building or renovating a facility becomes an opportunity to transform both the place and the participants, helping both initiate a continuing evolution. If this all sounds like pie-in-the-sky idealism, read a few of the many real-world stories to see the potential.

– Nadav Malin

More Reviews

This book is a must read for anyone involved in new building development and construction. It takes the narrowly defined LEED point system and develops it into a total process approach for responsible building design. This book describes a green, collaborative cost-saving program that begins with initial design concepts and ends with ensuring that energy efficiencies are met. As shown in the many real-life examples, when a building is envisioned as a set of many interactive parts and contributors, tremendous synergies can be created to both decrease a building's carbon footprint and save the developer a ton of money.
- jeanarp

"A Game Changing Text"
From start to finish, the authors of this book have laid out a clear and comprehensive roadmap which redefines the way we currently design and operate our buildings. This is a must read for every real estate and building professional that seeks to move beyond basic "green" to restorative and regenerative buildings and communities. From the "Discovery Phase" through Post-Occupancy, each stage of the development process is clearly described with pertinent case studies and numerous resources for readers to further research the subject matter. Our current development industry is plagued by a broken design process and this book takes a giant leap forward in beginning to repair this process and transform the way our industry engages building design and construction. Indeed, I suspect many readers will go through their own personal transformation after reading this book. This is by far the new definitive text on Integrative Design.
- Jason Twill

"The real thing - much needed - practical"
Change is hard and let's face it, while LEED was / is an excellent tool or primer on green design it will never get us to truly impacting climate change. Designers must let go of the old implementation model with LEED tacked on. We must encourage creative and whole system thinking within our entire stakeholder team. This book is great for managers, in that in lays out a profitable implementation process. Its also great for soul. Should you take it to heart you will enjoy a better working and community environment. Just maybe we can regain our spiritual connection to earth as well.

Should be required university reading for all architecture and engineering practice management classes.
- Charles W. Brown

"The Discovery Phase has been discovered!"
The "How To" integrative design process is clearly and consisely explained in the heart of this book - essential reading for future green building Owners, Designers, Engineers,Contractors & LEED AP's.

We can and MUST do better job of creating, constructing & operating healthier buildings. The authors propose a simple first step for the Owner - select the project team members upfront (including the CM or GC!) and conduct a series of structured hands-on goal-setting work sessions. These sessions tap into the collective knowledge base and allow everyone to creatively participate in the all-important "Discovery Phase," before the first line is drawn. We should have been doing this long ago! Thanks 7Group & John Boecker!
- Jon R. Barrett

"Buy this book if you work in Real Estate"
Last week my bedtime reading was the Stern Review - I haven't finished it because, I am inclined to believe, it was causing me to wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. Don't read the Stern Review right before lights out! So I searched my bookshelf for an unread tome that would provide for some more positive reading, and picked out this book. I haven't put it down since. From the cover this looks like a text book, but you know what they say about judging books. This is anything but a dry technical manual, it is instead a compelling, no, inspiring, and well argued case for a new collaborative way of designing the buildings that the world needs to start developing in order to properly address, and begin to redress the environmental problems we face today.

I am convinced the world would be a much better place if all industry stakeholders of the built environment adopted the concepts from this book.
- TShen