Consumer demand for lower bills and healthy spaces are still trending in residential design, but so too are tight budgets and reticent lenders. Knowing which products and systems provide the most bang for your buck can take hours of research, but the digital guides recently launched by the AIA and USGBC make the search for the most effective conservation methods a little easier.

The USGBC created the LEED rating system to be a nationally recognized third-party verification for green buildings. Figuring out which combination of sustainable design features offers your clients the best house and earns LEED certification is now less complicated. As part of its whole website reorganization, the USGBC created the LEED credit library. The library provides lists of possible credits sorted by various building types such as homes, multifamily housing, and existing buildings. Users can also select which version of the system they want to explore including the new v4 guidelines, which are still under review. Each credit option leads to more in-depth information as well as comments and resources to help users obtain that particular credit. The library is still a work in progress and more details will be added over the coming months.

Another new useful tool for architects, engineers, and builders is the energy modeling guide from the AIA. The guide contains several resources for industry pros to define, select, and incorporate energy-efficient designs and systems into a project. Created by building-science experts, government officials, AIA staff, and architects, the guide defines energy modeling and lists the advantages for using the technique. These sections are designed to be shared with clients as well as other project team members who may not understand the benefits of energy modeling. In addition, the guide details different types of modeling systems along with the corresponding tools and software available to implement them.

“This guide provides the energy modeling fundamentals that can serve the client’s high expectations and ultimately reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions,” says AIA president Jeff Potter, FAIA.