Building Green on a Budget – A Visual Guide

One of the most common questions regarding green and sustainable building is added cost.

Here is a visual guide with relative added costs indicated as dollar signs.

Click on the image below to open the PDF.


It is important to think beyond only the first costs when selecting what to build.  Costs of environmentally beneficial measures can be divided into 3 areas.

  1. No extra cost, e.g. proper window size and location, drip irrigation
  2. Higher initial cost but with a direct payback to the occupant over time, e.g. Photo-voltaic renewable energy generation and LED lighting cost more but lead to lower utility bills and cost less in the long run
  3. Higher initial cost but with a global environmental and/or social payback over time, e.g. FSC lumber

Sebastopol Solar Home

The CORE Project

The CORE Project was an international urban planning competition to vitalize the City of Sebastopol in Sonoma County.

Working with his brother William Baumgardner of Arup, Joel Baumgardner and his brother were awarded second place for their entry.


Final Board


click on the image above to enlarge



City Model




Alexandra’s Ball Room at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco

While project architect at Rupel Geiszler McLeod Architecture, Joel Baumgardner prepared construction documents for a complete renovation of the 32nd floor ballroom and kitchen on the top of the Westin St. Francis Hotel high rise tower on Union Square in San Francisco.  The historic St. Francis Hotel desired a new flexible room in lieu of the dated old disco bar from the 70s.  The elevator lobby was rebuilt and a new pre-function space was added.  The back of house commercial kitchen was completely rebuilt to serve the new ballroom.