We are a non-profit membership organization based in Ithaca, NY, whose mission is advancing environmental and community sustainability through building design, development, and construction.

Members of the Ithaca Green Building Alliance include people from the building/design and related trades who are interested in learning about, sharing, and practicing or using greener building techniques and products.

IGBA's Green Building Principles

These principles are the standard by which we measure our greenness. We intend to use them as guidelines as we do our work. We recognize that it is very difficult to meet all of these principles at once; time and budget constraints and pressures from the mainstream building culture can interfere with good intentions and make compromises inevitable. Nonetheless, as members of the Ithaca Green Building Alliance we commit ourselves to upholding these values as closely as possible, and working together to create a local building culture where compromise need not exist.

Natural Systems

From planted roofs to water treatment systems, from solar energy collectors to radiant heating, green design is inspired by nature. Where technologies have been misapplied, like big un-shaded South windows on an office building, they are usually examples of forgetting the lessons to be found all around us. In order to return to a path of true sustainability, our communities, our buildings, and our construction processes need to learn from natural systems.


When selecting materials, we look for those that are safe to touch, breathe, and even taste, for we understand that workers, homeowners, and particularly children will be coming into intimate contact with them. Likewise, when creating a design, we acknowledge the non-physical aspects of life, and consider that non-toxic design is not enough: we also want it to be beautiful. We also recognize that those who log, mine, and manufacture our building materials, along with those who construct our buildings, deserve safe working conditions and livable wages. Consider the question, “How would I like it if I were at the other end of this exchange?”


Should a house that works well in Florida be built in central New York? Should the same house be built facing North or South? Green building assumes that building layout and structure will vary according to the requirements of region and site. Likewise, it calls on us to connect buildings to place by using local materials such as wood and clay; using local energy like wind, geothermal energy, and sunshine; and supporting the local economy, from sawmills to independent hardware stores. Finally, we are committed to disturbing the landscape as little as possible with our building activities.

Life Cycles

What will our buildings turn into when they are no longer of use? As green builders, we choose materials that are safe to recycle or compost whenever possible. We can also be careful to avoid combinations that make them difficult to recycle or toxic to compost; for example, by treating wood only with natural oils and paints that can easily biodegrade. We also match the life spans of different parts of a building that depend on each other, like not putting 30-year sheathing under 50-year roofing. Finally, we are mindful of possible future uses of our buildings, and try to allow for them to be easily adapted.

Energy and Natural Resources

We recognize that our natural resources are not only limited, but that they also have intrinsic value to the world in their original forms as dirt, rock, water, and forests. We have a responsibility to use as little of any resource as possible for any given job. We can do this through designs that are energy efficient and appropriately sized, specifying appliances that conserve water and energy, using passive and renewable energy systems, and choosing materials with low embodied energy.


It is not possible to build for a sustainable future using the same design and construction processes that have created environmental burdens in the first place. We therefore commit ourselves to holistic thinking; challenging convention where appropriate; continued learning and improvement; and collaboration between designers, builders, owners, and communities.

Become a Member

Member Benefits

  • listing in IGBA directories (print and web)
  • weblink or webpage on IGBA website – www.ithacagreenbuilding.org
  • reduced fees and/or priority spots at IGBA sponsored events
  • participation in member-only IGBA events/services
  • networking and collaboration opportunities with other local green building professionals (including IGBA listserve)

All members/representatives are required to:

  • reside/operate within a 50 mile radius of Ithaca, New York
  • attend at least 5 meetings/year
  • actively participate in an IGBA sponsored event, or serve on one committee per year

Become a Member




Jim Holahan Taitem Engineering, jholahan@taitem.com, 607-277-1118


Brent Katzmann  Balance Studio LLC, brent@balance-studio.net, 607-277-0242


Jeremy Crytzer Jeremy Crytzer Woodworking jeremy@jcrytzerwoodworking.com (607) 532-4037


Cheryl Thompson cherylthompsonarchitect@gmail.com, 607-387-4123 


Matt Cooper www.mcfdesign.com; matt@mcfdesign.com, 607-330-5700