Building For Blue Skies

New ways to build can change everything

Almost 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States is consumed through the construction, maintenance, and use of buildings. Various industries, private home owners, educational institutions, and museums like The Wild Center are increasingly focused on improving efficiency and reducing energy use across all stages of a building's life.

The Wild Center's experience with building points in one direction. Every decision made about energy use ends up saving energy and money. Through retrofits, new installations, and a commitment to efficiency, The Center has seriously reduced its need for oil, increased its lighting efficiency and can heat hot water and building with sunlight. 

Thrive Together with us as you explore some projects, watch Net Zero home videos and even visit The Wild Center to discover best practices in building with less cost and impact. The only thing you have to lose are higher bills and carbon pollution.

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Build a Greener Adirondacksk

The Build a Greener Adirondacks (BAGA) conference and workshops provide information for local contractors, builders, code officers and others in the building trade to learn more about how new building technologies and ideas can erase energy waste for home owners and allow builders to offer real options for their clients.

Watch the presentations from the 2017 Conference

What Is Net Zero

Net Zero Home Part I

Making the Net Zero Jump

"That's kinda outta my league," is how one of the project's lead builders first thought of Net Zero. See how he made the jump to building a house that's one hundred percent zero.

Sustainability at The Wild Center

The overwhelming scientific evidence indicates that a severe disruption of the Earth's climate is underway, and that the disruption is being caused by an overload of carbon pollution. The climate has shifted in the Adirondacks already, with impacts on species and systems and more changes are built into the carbon already released. As a science-based organization, The Wild Center is deeply concerned about how changes in one of the major pillars that support the natural world will impact life. 

From Youth Climate Summits to creating solutions to environmental issues through our ADKCAP initiative, The Wild Center is making strides for a sustainable future. 

All About LEED

Net Zero Home Part II

Should You Get LEED Certified?

Our owner had his doubts but discovered a way to see differently through LEED certification.

Check into what LEED means...


Net Zero Home Part III

Making Your Own Power

How one owner figured out how to build a house that turned the electric meter backwards.

The Package

Net Zero Home Part IV

Making a Truly Tight House

Our crew shows how they made a house that would not heat the outdoors and still provide tons of indoor fresh air.


Net Zero Home Part V

How Your Site Matters

The builders had never done a site plan on this scale. See how they learned to use the site to make the house cheaper to own.

Our Green Facilityk

The Wild Center is a green building demonstration project.

Explore this page or visit the Center and you can see first-hand all the pieces that make it the first LEED Certified museum in New York.  The Center's onsite exhibit includes outdoor labels that detail everything from the inner workings of the huge solar array on the Bio Building to the pioneering new heating system that relies on renewables to heat the entire 54,000 square foot complex. If you can't visit, you can see many of the stories here.

The Wild Center offers a complete self-guided or staff-led tour of its energy-saving and other green systems.

See The Steps We've Taken

Wood Pellet Manufacturing - The Wild Center

Burning Pellets to Keep Warm

The Wild Center heats our facilities with a good clean energy solution, wood pellets. These tiny morsels, manufactured right here in the North Country, are heated up in our very own boiler. This boiler helps us minimize energy costs and lower our carbon footprint. Best of all, it's a system that can be mimicked in your own home. 

Solar Thermal Collection System

Solar Hot Water Demonstration

See exactly how a different kind of solar system can heat water and homes, even in cold climates.

Growing a Green Roof

It’s such a good idea that it might be the standard roof of the future. Plants insulate. Studies show that the insulating benefits of green roofs can reduce annual heating and cooling costs by as much as 30 percent. Think of how cool a field is in summer, compared to black pavement. Green roofs have the same impact, using the plant's own cooling system to keep homes cool in summer. In a typical town rain running off roofs can overwhelm sewer systems, causing them to overflow and spill untreated waste. Green roofs retain as much as 80 percent of the rain that falls on them. And there are no shingles to strip off and replace. 


You can learn more about installing a green roof here.

How Can I Build Like Larry

Net Zero Home Part VI

More for Less

Net Zero doesn't mean zero money left in your wallet. Most manufacturers are responding to demand by businesses to lower costs of energy for their buildings, and many Net Zero supplies are becoming the new normal.

Beyond Super Windows - Robert Clarke

Beyond Super Windows

Can your windows really make that much of a difference? During the 2011 BAGA conference, Robert Clarke talked about high efficiency windows. 

Deep Energy RetroFit Overview

Deep Energy Retrofit I

What are the first steps in renovating your home to make it more energy efficient?

Deep Energy RetroFit - Mechanical Systems

Deep Energy Retrofit III

How can you change your existing mechanical system to be more energy efficient?  Do you need a new one? 

Deep Energy RetroFit - Basements

Deep Energy Retrofit IV

How can you renovate your foundation and basement to make it more energy efficient?

Deep Energy RetroFit - Results

Deep Energy Retrofit V

What are the results when older homes have deep retrofit renovations done to them?

Oslo Manifesto

Design, architecture, and city planning play a critical role in the creation of a sustainable world. How can we get more creative professionals to take responsibility and truly realize the difference they can make?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals challenge us to reimagine the way we live and bring to life the design elements of a new, sustainable world.

These goals cover nearly every aspect of our future — for our planet, and for humankind. They concern all people, all countries, and all parts of society. There are 17 in total, and they amount to nothing less than a complete transformation of global civilization.

And the deadline? The year 2030.

But the ideas, solutions, buildings, and things created by designers, architects, and creative professionals like you will last far longer than any deadline. They will continue to impact and transform our world, its systems, and people for years and generations to come.

That’s why the role you play is so critically important. The design decisions you make have the power to not only help us achieve these goals, but lead us into the sustainable future far beyond them.

Find out more.

The Envelope Please - BAGA 2014

The Envelope Please

Conrad Metcalfe, Executive Director of the Building Performance Contractors Association, talks about the importance of sealing the building envelope for energy efficiency at the 2014 Build a Greener Adirondacks conference.

Green Building Today - BAGA 2014

Green Building Today

Josh Stack, of Northeast Green Building Consulting, discusses the science of resilience and how it relates to the design and construction of our homes and cities during Build a Greener Adirondacks 2014.  A practical, common sense approach for practitioners and the “doers” is strongly emphasized, including place-based tools, metrics and processes.

Green Tech & Materials - Sally Hart

Green Tech and Materials

Hear about a home renovation in Saratoga and how material use lessened waste and preserved the home's charm and historic look.

Communicating with Clients about Green: A panel of practitioners

Communicating with Clients about Green

With Jesse Schwartzberg, Jen Monroe, Steve Amstutz, and Karen Totino.

This panel discussion offers a range of views on how to discuss green aspects of building projects with clients. An energy efficiency company director, a timber frame home builder, a green product distributor, and a design/architect consultant – all familiar with the Adirondacks – briefly share their experiences to help you get a handle on “communicating about green building” with your own clients.

Your Favorite New Green Technology: Wood Gasification Residential Boiler

Your Favorite New Green Technology

This clip demonstrates one of the presentations by attendees themselves on the cool new green options available on the market today. David Goodman shares his experiences with wood gasification heat for his home.

Your Favorite New Green Technology: E-Monitors & Permeable Pavers

Your Favorite New Green Technology

This clip demonstrates one of the presentations by attendees themselves on the cool new green options available on the market today. Jesse Schwartzberg shares his experiences with electronic energy use monitors (E-Monitors) and permeable paving systems at a client’s home.  

Three Myths of Behavior Change - What You Think You Know That You Don't: Jeni Cross at TEDxCSU

Three Myths of Behavior Change

Jeni Cross is a sociology professor at Colorado State University who has spoken about community development and sustainability to audiences across the country, from business leaders and government officials to community activists. As a professor and consultant she has helped dozens of schools and government agencies implement and evaluate successful programs to improve community well-being. Listen to her discuss her work around changing behaviors. 

Lighting the Way

Homeowners can select light technologies for residences that provide high quality and energy efficient lighting. By looking at rooms, equipment and techniques homeowners can choose the best solution for them. 

Visit the Lighting Research Center for ideas