EnvKB Helps Architects Design Environmentally Friendly Buildings


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory


Architects and building contractors


One major factor affecting the protection of our environment is often ignored — the buildings and facilities in which we live and work.  Environmental impacts are felt throughout the life-cycle of a building. For instance, acquisition of building materials may result in resource depletion or production of toxic wastes. 10% to 30% of the space in landfills is composed of building debris, making it second only to paper in many locations.  During a building’s use, energy is consumed and occupants may suffer from exposure to chemically-treated materials.

Until recently, facility designers, builders, and operators did not have a convenient, well-grounded means of considering environmental issues during design, construction and building use. Traditional information sources have been difficult to use in practice, because they could not produce tailored recommendations or evaluations for specific projects.


Stottler Henke developed EnvKB, a flexible and easy-to-use environmental knowledge base which provides customized environmental information to assist facility design and construction.  EnvKB’s knowledge base contains more than 200 environmental design principles (features, considerations, and techniques) and associated cases that illustrate effective applications of these principles.

EnvKB prompts the user for information about a project and uses this information to select relevant design suggestions and considerations, using case-based retrieval. The user can request architectural layouts or other information about specific cases that illustrate each design suggestion or consideration.


EnvKB was used as the basis for developing the Green Building Advisor software system, distributed by BuildingGreen Inc.

Related Applications

Capturing and applying expertise as design principles linked to specific cases can be used for other types of design problems by manufacturing and service companies to support consistent and effective design of products and processes.

Additional information