Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE

Green Building Encyclopaedia (GBE) is a growing information resource about creating healthy, environmental and efficient buildings – giving you 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.

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 competent environmental 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 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 and reformat it into numerous tables ready for output
  • We also attempt to collect and verify information about the products’ environmental claims
  • We have over 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 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 Growth

  • The site is embryonic with over 2059 pages
  • The content is constantly being updated, with <24,000 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 Definitions

In the context of the GBE Current DoctrineWe need a new easily understood definition for SustainabilityGBE HeraceyTMArmed 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 and university lecturer/studio tutor and environmentalist by action
  • Brian’s last 40+ years in the industry have been challenging and gratifying;
  • In 32 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
  • 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 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

Green Building Encyclopaedia 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):


Services to Solution Providers or Service Providers:

  • To manufacturers, suppliers, installers/applicators, servers
  • Advertise Including your products or services in GBE website
  • Collaborate GBE working with Solution Providers to help promote their Solutions
  • Services by GBE to better understand and communicate the properties and application of 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

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 1700 pages and posts
  • 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
  • Portfolio: Collections of images
  • Team: Team members making GBE website
  • Team: Team members making GBE website
  • Website Construction
  • Tasks for updating the website

© GBE NGS ASWS BrianSpecMan aka BrianMurphy
1st May 2015 – 17th July 2019
Links updated 17th July 2019

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© GBE NGS ASWS BrianSpecMan aka BrianMurphy
1st May 2015 – 17th July 2019

Green Building Encyclopaedia GBE