Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE

Green Building Encyclopaedia (GBE) is a growing information resource about creating healthy, environmental and efficient buildings – giving you the know-how to be able to engage robustly with these and other issues and still have the freedom to make them beautiful.

GBE includes design advice, guidance and technical detail regarding the selection, design or specification of building methods, materials, services, systems, products and whole buildings.

Your challenges

  • Designing, choosing methods, materials; systems, products and accessories; and specifying them for building is complex – even more so if you are trying to ensure they are healthy, environmentally friendly, and make them energy, material and resource efficient.
  • Choosing between them is a mind blowing complex affair that is difficult to get right.
  • Trying to make sense of all of this information is a challenge for architects, design professionals and constructors, it is made more complex if you are not trained in the subject, let alone self-builders BIYers, DIYers or first time clients.
  • If it is your own home or place of business, this is an opportunity to create low or bill-free, healthy living and working spaces.
  • There are too many options and alternatives that are full of financially tempting short term compromises with long term implications.
  • Authoritative information can also be biased due to the history of its development or its funding.
  • We are all surrounded by eager manufacturer or their advisory associations all-vying for your attention.
  • Many have their own single system and their guidance will usually be against alternative and towards that one system, rightly or wrongly.
  • Even in the presence of good information, there is often little joined-up bigger-picture thinking.

Your Requests

  • Students regularly want all the answers without the learning.
  • Everybody wants all the answers all in one place.
  • Everybody wants more detail at their fingertips

Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE

GBE’s Challenge

  • To facilitate Development Control (planners and building control), the whole demand chain (designers, contractors) and supply chain (manufacturers, suppliers, constructors, installers) of the Construction Industry, National and Local Government and project clients to back up and deliver on their Declares and Pledges in the Climate Emergency.

GBE’s Vision

  • A world in which every student, designer and constructor has real-world relevant know-how to make well-informed choices to contribute positively to environmentally competent buildings; and protect indoor, local, planetary and human health and wellbeing.
  • A world in which self-builders and clients can be armed with independent information to allow them to question manufacturers, suppliers, designers and constructors to ensure they can are being offered joined up thinking and competent environmental, value for money solutions.

GBE’s Mission

  • To learn by attending a diverse range of events to assimilate and distinguish between bad, good and best environmental building practices; always applying joined up thinking to ensure relevance.
  • To create and disseminate real-world relevant, joined up thinking, really useful website content, seminars and tools.
  • To enable others to learn from this and enable them to inspire and persuade others and clients, to adopt best environmental practices.

GBE’s Purpose

  • To enable others to make competent choices of environmentally responsible building methods, materials and services.
  • To help manufacturers, supplier and installer understand, define and collate the environmental characteristics of their products, accessories and systems; and communicate them effectively to their specifying customers

GBE’s Goals

  • Enable the re-education of the construction industry to tackle the Climate Emergency
  • Serve students well, as they are now actively demanding a decent future, to enable them to kick out entrenched, business as usual, bad behaviour
  • Address and disseminate things that can be implemented easily in your daily work
  • Put ideas in your head that will question received wisdom and standard behaviour

GBE’s Inputs

  • We attempt to collect and verify information on say 600 out of 1260 pieces of information about companies, their products, accessories and systems (some of which they find difficult to lay their hands on)
  • We extract this information from literature, certificates, MSDS, advertising and websites
  • We collect this information in GBE Product Data Collection and reformat it into numerous (up to 35) tables ready for output in different documents.
  • We also attempt to collect and verify information about the products’ environmental claims
  • We have >400 criteria for judging a material or product’s environmental credentials
  • We are then in a position to inform users of GBE website with what we have learned

GBE’s Outputs

  • Develop GBE Jargon Buster to introduce and translate the sustainability revolution and everyday jargon
  • Develop New Build, Existing Building and Adaptation GBE Checklists to advise which materials to avoid, which to reduce and to suggest alternatives materials and product lists to consider in their place.
  • Develop GBE Code of design principles: GBE Patterns, GBE Rules of Thumb
  • Develop GBE Equations to interrogate GBE Datasets in ready to use GBE Calculators
  • Analyse GBE Defects and link them to GBE Solution Providers with GBE Solutions
  • Develop GBE Product Pages with schedules of information and links to other outputs

GBE’s Ambitions

  • GBE has set out to try to help anyone and everyone in their quest for clarity.
  • GBE will show product, accessory and system strengths and weaknesses and help you to find the right combinations that work effectively together.
  • GBE will offer well-rounded content, where everything is given a level playing field with all the players on the pitch.
  • GBE is finding other specialists to join the GBE Team that know about lifestyle, behaviour change, furniture, interiors, landscape, biodiversity, water, energy, lighting structures, civil engineering and infrastructure.

GBE’s Scope

  • GBE’s primary objective is to promote environmentally sound solutions
  • But veering away from plastics is challenging and may miss out on some important characteristics
  • Some materials may not be environmental but they are competent in certain situations where an environmental material may have produced an inadequate installation.
  • So GBE aims to promote healthy environmental resourceful appropriate competent effective yardstick materials, products and systems.
  • Initially GBE focusses on UK made products, but to exclude materials further afield will miss out on modern and innovative methods of construction that are exemplars in their sectors.
  • Materials products accessories systems available in and from the UK are our priority to help with local procurement and minimising transport emissions.
  • Then we will tackle others from the EU and finally from further afield.

GBE’s Growth

  • The site is embryonic with over 2080 pages, posts, portfolios, navigation pages and hidden templates
  • The content is constantly being updated, with <32,000 updates to date
  • Please keep coming back to see what else has been added that can help you become an even more informed, environmentally aware individual capable of influencing others

GBE’s Accolades

  • Whist we think we know what needs doing and we are getting on with it, we would like to mention some accolades
  • BrianSpecMan, NGS Ltd and GBE Website have been recognised and commended by UK and international bodies
  • GBE Awards: Since 2016 we have been awarded or commended 20 times, all this suggests we may be getting it right
  • We still have a long way to go

GBE’s Quotes to Students and Qualified Designers

  • Do your best with what you know, when you know better, do better
  • 10, 20, 30, 40 year old ‘College-Knowledge’ was never enough and has been getting out of date ever since
  • ‘College-Knowledge’ probably will not help with your Climate Pledge or Declare
  • The Sustainability Revolution means most of our know-how needs a Radical Refresh

Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE

GBE’s Definitions

In the context of the current doctrine: Profits before People before Planet –
Fiduciary Rules okay  (an obligation  to make a profit for shareholders)GBE Current DoctrineWe need a new easily understood definition for Sustainability:
GBE HERACEY™ Healthy Environmental Resourceful Appropriate Competent Effective YardstickGBE HeraceyTM

Armed with product that meet these and many other criteria we can succeed

GBE’s Editor

  • Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan is a technician and architect by training, specification writer by choice, university lecturer/studio tutor, author and environmentalist by action
  • Brian’s last 45 years in the industry have been challenging and gratifying;
  • In 36 years of consultancy he specified large and small projects with a cumulative value of over £2415m
  • Brian took the opportunity to green up his act since 1999 these have been the most enjoyable but frustrating years; with Greta Thunburg’s Behaviour Change campaign, the next few decades may get better
  • He founded National Green Specification (NGS) in 2001 to try to right the wrongs for many fellow architects and to challenge the establishment that maintains the status quo
  • Brian’s highlights are working with students and practicing architects to enable them to achieve the ideas in their heads; bringing extensive materials, construction know-how and an environmental focus to the design process; with a driving enthusiasm for competency in exhilarating solutions
  • Brian reverts to Specification writing to the last dot and crossed tee in robust specifications that are not rushed over the weekend but focus on including the reasons why a product was chosen in the clauses, provide the ammunition to defend against cost cutting, value engineering and substitution
  • Brian has developed specifications for: methods of construction not covered by NBS; products & materials; waste minimisation/management of materials/packaging; reclaim for reuse/recycling
  • Brian has created and presented over 1000 PowerPoint files on Environmentally Sustainable Construction, Specification and Professional Practice GBE CPD seminars & GBE Lectures, which are being added to and can be downloaded from the website pages or in GBE Shop
  • Brian also gets pleasure from power over numbers in Excel spreadsheet GBE Calculators including: WasteCost® lite Calculator & Whole Building Embodied/Sequestered Energy/Carbon and more
  • Brian has an appetite for recording what he has learned so he does not have to remember it all (there is only so much he can keep in all at the same time), so is passing on this knowledge of environmentally sound design and construction through GBE website website (this page)
  • To respond to the Global Climate Strikes and Declarers (Local Government, Architects, Construction, Architectural Education, Homeowners) GBE is teaming up with Edith Colomba of Make a Difference (MaD) to develop GBE Learning an on-line multi-format learning platform to make the most of GBE’s extensive collection and our contacts with other speakers.  Events start March 2020.

Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE

GBE Content

You will be able to make better decisions in a world that claims to be green, but where things are not always what they appear to be.

Links to GBE resources (which are continually growing):

GBE Code

  • Jargon Buster: so that we can all speak the same language, use the same terms and understand the answers to your questions
  • Checklists: Trade based sustainability checklists for New Build, Refurbishment and Adaptation and Lifestyle
  • Questions and Answers to challenging problems
  • Issue Paper: In depth studies of Issues e.g. Overheating, External Wall Insulation
  • Brain Dumps: Topical information with links to pages or websites
  • Brainstorms: Analysing a particular issue or a building proposal that has been brought to our attention
  • Defects and Solutions
  • Links: To off-site resources, organisations, tools and websites

GBE Files & Learning Formats

GBE Images

GBE Solutions and Solution Providers

GBE Design

  • Design tools to help you to understand the problems and find solutions and products
  • Design principles, to guide you when choosing from the options
  • Rules of thumb, when calculations are not needed
  • Patterns set rules to meet GBE Code
  • Datasets, and product data
  • Equations to examine datasets
  • Calculators using Equation and Datasets to work it all out
  • Shop: Calculators, datasets, etc. for sale at low cost or free

GBE Materials and Methods

  • Ingredients: materials used in combinations and mixes
  • Materials: properties and application guidance to meet application performance requirements
  • Construction Methods:
  • Elemental Assembly: Elemental Assemblies with all the right parts included in the right order
  • New Build:
  • Refurbishment:
  • Retrofit:
  • Fit-out:

GBS Specification

GBE Blog News Event

  • Blog: Topics getting an airing
  • News: Daily, Monthly, Quarterly news that is of interest
  • Events: Daily monthly yearly lists of relevant Seminars, CPD, Exhibitions
  • Awards: Local, National, International awards received by GBE, NGS Ltd. and BrianSpecMan
  • Newsletters: Members Newsletters, Solution Provider’s News and Sign up
  • Others Stuff: Campaigns, News, Newsletters,
  • Updates & Additions: Daily, monthly and quarterly list of pages and posts added or updated (>23,000 updates so far)
  • Diary: GBE Activities with links to outputs
  • Portfolio: Sets of images related to exhibitions, CPD, visits
  • Feedback: Feedback on website, Books, CPD and Lectures

GBE Projects

  • Projects: Buildings, Events or Information
  • Case Studies: Project Case Studies
  • Evidence Based Case: Case studies with monitoring and analysis
  • Information Case Studies: Publications and Website or tools
  • Slogans: Catchy phrases to succinctly communicate a principle
  • #Hashtags: Slogans and phrases used in twitter social media to focus searches
  • Books: Contributed to by GBE as writers, Steering Group or proof reading, or important book with a green flavour
  • Portfolio: Sets of images related to projects

GBE Services to Solution Providers or Service Providers:

  • To manufacturers, suppliers, installers/applicators, servers or GBE Solution Providers
  • Advertise Including Environmental products or services in GBE website
  • Collaborate GBE working with Solution Providers to help understand and promote their Solutions
  • Services by GBE to Solution Provider’s to better understand and communicate the properties and application of their Solutions, their goods and services, including:
  • Product Data Collection: 1200 inputs, 30 output sets and their dissemination via their own and GBE websites, newsletters and social media
  • Product Pages on GBE website

GBE Website Workings & Website Structure:

  • Navigation towards all Page Groups: There are 100 touch screen Navigation pages leading to 300 page groups
  • Page Groups: Part of navigation of the website over 300 Page Groups leading to over 1950 pages and posts
  • Classification: Tables to be used to classify page and for navigation
  • Linkage and Enrichment: linking the 6 core pages with relevant content of the encyclopaedia
  • Templates: readymade page layouts for speedy and consistent format page creation
    • Blocks: Blocks of ready made information to paste into templates or pages and posts
    • Pages: Predominantly navigation pages
    • Posts: Predominantly content posts
    • Products: Files sold through the Shop
  • Team: Team members making GBE website
  • Team: Team members making GBE website
  • Satellite Websites: Planned subdivision of GBE website

GBE Past, Ongoing and Future Development

  • NGS WebStats: Website content came from NGS website
  • Website Construction
  • Tasks for updating the website
  • Satellite Websites an ambition to subdivide this website into HERACEY™ topics on numerous interlinking websites
  • Proposals: Ambitions to develop parts of this or other specific websites or tools
  • GBE Learning: the first GBE Satellite website launched January 2020
  • Green Building Course: Just a thought for now

GBE Contact & Social Media

GBE Membership & Sign-up

© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
1st May 2015 – 29th January 2020
Links updated 1st August 2019

Green Building Encyclopaedia
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    • 480 Aluminium framed glass doors
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© GBE NGS ASWS Brian Murphy aka BrianSpecMan *
1st May 2015 – 31st January 2020

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