University of Oregon

Researching Net-Zero Residential Construction

This guide lists resources for researching net-zero residential construction, also termed carbon-zero development or, more generally, sustainable development.

For more assistance, contact Karen Munro or Ed Teague. The UO Portland Library and Learning Commons (Portland) and the Architecture and Allied Arts Library (Eugene) are the primary service points for collections and services in this area.


To find scholarly and trade articles on a range of topics, start with the Advanced Search in OneSearch, where you can select Environmental Studies, Architecture & Allied Arts, Government Information, or other categories for a cross-database search.

Remember to search on variations and subsets of your search term, such as:
  • net-zero
  • carbon-zero
  • sustainable
  • off-grid
  • waste-water
  • waste water
  • passive solar
Your search terms will yield very different results in different databases.

Try the following databases to continue your search:
  • Academic Search Premier Interdisciplinary database with articles from trade, popular, and scholarly journals. A good source for practical articles and trade coverage of composting toilets, greywater systems, photovoltaics, etc.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals Covers the history and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning.
  • BuildingGreen Suite An online resource for environmentally sensitive design and construction. Provides access to GreenSpec, a resource for green product listings; current and past issues of Environmental Building News; and over 150 project case studies featuring green design.
  • Web of Science Provides access to scholarly and trade articles in environmental studies, chemistry, biology, and related scientific fields.

Local Data and Policy

The Data for Local Communities database allows you to search for local Oregon data at many levels, including city, county, regional, and watershed.

In Portland, the Office of Sustainable Development offers reports, case studies, policy statements, and other publications on green building.

Building Codes

The Architecture Research Guide lists building codes and standards for Oregon generally, and for Eugene and Portland in particular.

Current versions of the Oregon Structural Specialty Code and Residential Specialty Code are linked from the State of Oregon's Building Codes Division web page.


Cascadia Green Building Council - Selective list of links relating to materials and resources, energy and water efficiency, and green building in the Pacific Northwest.
Solar Oregon - Resources for siting, planning, and building for passive solar construction in Oregon.
Oregon Department of Energy Conservation Division - Information about tax credits for energy conservation features, as well as installation and cost-estimation tips for photovoltaic solar.
U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program: Residential Buildings - Extensive resources for planning, financing, and building sustainable housing.
Graywater Guidebook - Online book with guidance, standards, installation instructions, and maintenane tips for residential graywater systems. (Standards are for CA.)
BuildingGreen - Publisher of Environmental Building News and the GreenSpec directory. Developer of the BuildingGreen Suite, a research tool for green design. Site includes articles about many green topics.
Northwest EcoBuilding Guild - Association of building professionals and homeowners interested in ecologically sustainable building. Offers fact sheets and newsletters, event listing, and resource directory.
The Tofte Project - Interactive tour of the Tofte Project cabin, a net-zero residential project in Minnesota. Includes the project's LEED statement and monthly and cumulative energy usage.


Created by kmunro on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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