How do you find an environmentally responsible architect?

Home Design Image Gallery Finding the right eco-friendly architect for your project takes research. See more home design pictures.

If you're looking for an architect, you're probably building a new home or upgrading or redesigning your existing one. You're probably not going to do the work yourself, but hiring an architect for the planning and design phase would help take a huge bulk of the work off your shoulders if you do. Either way, setting goals for what you want out of a professional is extremely helpful before you start searching for the right architect. Whether you're building the house of your dreams or adding space for a growing family, narrowing down your wants and needs will help narrow your choice of architects, too. And add to this the desire to find an environmentally responsible architect, and the field gets even smaller.

Many of today's architects have experience with eco-friendly and sustainable architecture. Though it isn't always a big part of working toward a degree and licensing, green design has been a part of the residential building scene for decades. Unfortunately, as in any profession where credentials can be elaborated -- or generic enough to fit a need -- there's no "environmentally responsible" degree or certification you can check when interviewing potential architects.

But what you can do is request a portfolio. Skilled and proven architects have -- by the nature of their profession -- a unique balance of engineering know-how and design talents or at least an understanding of what should go together. And viewing their portfolio of works will allow you to see what the architects have actually done, and where they have focused their careers. If you see projects and designs that are very disconnected from what you envision, ask to see more or move on. If you like what you see, ask more probing questions, like how big a role the architect played on a project, or how energy efficient the project was due to the green products and techniques used. It sounds hard to navigate, but any professional with pride in the green benefits they achieved will show it in his or her portfolio and presentation.

But how do you even find environmentally responsible architects to interview for your project? Lay the foundation with some groundwork: research, interview and ask lots of questions. Read on to find out how to get started.