Online Discussions

Some discussion areas on Sustainable Building related topics:


Listservs are email-based discussion or announcement services. When you join or “subscribe” to a listserv (don’t worry, they’re usually free) your email address is put on a list with all the other subscribers. Any mail sent to the listserv is forwarded out to all the subscribers. Discussion lists have an inherent advantage over Usenet in that they usually require that the sender be a subscriber to the listserv. This drastically cuts down on spam and other “drive by postings”.

The following are some of the listservs on sustainable building topics that may interest you. If you know of any other listservs that we should include here, let us know.

The Greenbuilding listserv is one of the best we’ve found. Populated by a good number of green building professionals, discussions on this list run a broad range of topics. See the archives:

Sept 2010 to present

for an idea of what type of discussions take place (it appears that older archives are no longer available). To subscribe, go to:

Big Green. A spinoff from the original greenbuilding list, aimed specifically at large scale projects.

To subscribe, send email to with the words

subscribe biggreen

in the BODY of the message.

Strawbale. The Strawbale discussions are some of our favorites. While theoretically about strawbale construction, the informed and often humorous discussions can range to just about anything remotely connected to building a home out of straw. Participants range from seasoned pros to complete newbies.

In late 2002 there were some problems at the list host of the strawbale list, and things got a bit fragmented. A new list – SB-R-Us – was started up on Yahoo after a month or so of silence. After 2 months, the original strawbale list was resurrected on a new server. Meanwhile, the upstarts at yahoo had discovered the expanded abilities there – file and photo repositories, database capabilities, etc, and began putting them to good use. The original list does not have such capabilities as of this writing.

Though there are some efforts to re-unify the two lists – possibly by including file and photo capabilities with the original list – as of late February 2003 those are still speculation. We suggest joining both, or at least reading the archives (and files, etc) of both.

For the SB-R-Us list, see for archives, sign up instructions, files, and photos.

A separate European strawbale list is available at:

Cob. This list is intended for the discussion of Cob construction and related alternative building technologies. Cob is a technique which uses earth (clay and sand) mixed with straw and water to build walls, floors, and a wide variety of other items including book shelves and fireplaces.

To subscribe, send email to with the words:

subscribe coblist

in the BODY of your email message.

Solar A/C. That’s Solar Air Conditioning, not alternating current. That’s right, a discussion list about cooling your home/office/store/whatever using the power of the sun. Begun in July 2001, it had grown to aprox. 140 subscribers in just 6 months. See the archives at

To subscribe, send email to .

Indoor Air Quality.

The [iaq] discussion group has merged with the iequality discussion group. The new website is:

Cohousing. The CoHousing list has over 500 participants from over 60 different Cohousing groups and typically 100 messages per month.

The easiest way to subscribe, unsubscribe or change mail mode (normal, digest or nomail) is via a web page. Visit the Cohousing-L Info Page at Archives and search facilities are accessable from this page as well. For more information about cohousing see

Natural Building Colloquium. To subscribe send an email to with the following line in the body (NOT SUBJECT) of the message:

subscribe nbcolloq

Regional Discussions

Design~Build~Live (formerly Austin Sustainable Building Coalition). Design~Build~Live’s monthly newsletter usually includes some excellent resource material such as listings of articles or books relevant to that month’s topic. to sign up and for post- May2008 archives.

Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES). Announcements and discussions related to solar energy in the great state of Texas. Sign up at, and check out the rest of their great website while you’re at it!

Green Building Alliance Northeast. Announcements and discussions for a built environment that is clean, green, and sustainable related to the Northeast United States. Archives available at

To subscribe, send email to

Some other lists which may be of interest Update Periodic updates from the wildly popular website.

To subscribe, send a blank email to or register online planeta/







Note: All of the above newsgroups exist (at last check). If your internet service provider does not carry them, you will get an error. Ask your ISP to carry the newsgroup in question.