GreenBuilder Magazine

January 9, 2008

GreenBuilder CoverI’m not a huge fan of paper magazines. They’re hard to recycle in my area (they’re no good for sheet mulching), and generally I want more in-depth discussion of a particular subject than a monthly can spare.

But I might make an exception for one that is new to me, GreenBuilder. I’m impressed. Not only by the coverage, which actually explains concepts for an ordinary thinking person instead of that annoying bizspeak that many industry mags fall into, the vocabulary that doesn’t inform you at all.

Or the little things, like getting statements from each of the team members on the Editorial page:

July’s Question: What environmental issue keeps you up at night?

A: (Brian Stombotne, COO and Group Publisher) How to communicate that America doesn’t need a federally funded “Manhattan Project”-style effort to impact energy and water consumption and reduce oil dependence. There are existing green technologies that can reap immediate benefits…

I like being reassured that there are people writing who really care, and who try to stay informed…that aren’t just rehashing press releases.

The mix of stories is good, too – There’s a couple little snippets in this July issue (I snagged it from a builder’s coffee table) that poke me in the ribs and say, “watch this thing the Feds are doing”, a bit of interviewing an environmental champion I hadn’t yet heard of (Jerome Ringo), a splashy Modern spread on LivingHomes to keep the armchair dreamers happy, several pieces on kinds of materials, and a nice intro to the various green building programs. I particularly like one extended feature that seems to be inspired by something This Old House did one year, a Spec Sheet, that’s designed to tell you everything you might want to know to seriously consider a whole building system. This one was Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations.

I do wish that some magazine would reinvent the inevitable grab bag of “New Products”, that are so obviously little more than ads, in some truly useful way. These tiny bits don’t convince me to spend more time researching the product. If by some chance, I’ve already heard of it, and want to clip the page as a reminder…the pic is too small to really show anyone. Not helpful. Help me do my job – make good stuff with good educational materials – and you’ll earn an introduction to my clients, folks.

That said, GreenBuilder is a good educational material, in my book. Perhaps I’ll even subscribe – since the paper is recycled and all. (But their site is good, too.)