GFDA leaders tell us about books they read or wrote that supports our greener, healthier future.


What inspiring book did you read (or write) that supports our collective goal for a greener, healthier world?

Eric Edelson, CEO, Fireclay Tile:

I loved Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson. I don’t think anyone has done more for a greener, healthier world in the last few decades than Elon, and reading this biography you see what type of effort and commitment is needed to create change for the betterment of humanity.

Temi Adamolekun, Principal, Pembroke PR:

My first children’s book, Your Special Voice, came out in December last year. It is a board book for early readers, and it has imagery of community-oriented park clean-ups, children engaging in recycling while the words encourage young readers to understand that their voice matters, their voice can make a difference and how important it is to find a way to use their voice. The characters in the book showcase a wide and diverse range of ethnicities, cultures and abilities which is also key for us all collectively working together for a more inclusive, healthier, sustainable world. ???????? ???????? ????????

Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP, Lori Dennis, LLC:

My book, Green Interior Design: A Guide to Sustainable High Style, is an inspiring GO TO for sustainable design solutions.  ???????? ???????? ????????

Jessica Ritz, Journalist,

Remodelista: The Low-Impact Home provides ample inspiration, practical advice, and resources for a range of needs related to the topic, whether you’re just constantly tweaking and maintaining your own home (ahem) or embarking on a substantial renovation. 

Greg Roth, Sr. Designer, CarbonShack and Home Front Build:

The most impactful book I read this year – which is a book that was originally published in 1962 – is Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. Carson, who started her professional life as an aquatic biologist for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, wrote Silent Spring as an urgent wake-up call to the world about the appalling detrimental effects of synthetic pesticides on the natural world. It was vilified by the chemical industry but was hugely influential; her insights lead directly to the federal ban on DDT, as well as to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Shockingly, the alarm that Carson sounded over 60 years ago about the profound damage we cause to the environment, even though it has had many lasting ramifications, continues to fall on some deaf ears…

Dan Brunn, FAIA, Principal DBA Architecture:

To me, a healthier world is not only green, but collectively how we design for mental and emotional health.  I think it’s often overlooked, but design has a critical reflection of our wellness.  So while, I can’t pinpoint a single book or a movie, I know that I respond to travel, and I collectively gather inspiration.  

Kathryn Soter, Executive Director, Good Future Design Alliance:

My pick is Beauty, Neuroscience & Architecture by Donald H. Ruggles, AIA and president of Ruggles Mabe Studio. The book is a journey to define beauty, but not merely the subjective sense of evaluating proportions, color, form, and ornamentation. Ruggles digs deeper and asks the Why and the What that makes us call things beautiful. Are there universal truths, or patterns? How and why does beauty move us to such powerful emotion?

“Neuroscience, biology and psychology have provided architects and artists with the means to improve our environment, and the health and well-being of society… the door is open to make a difference.”

Don H. Ruggles, AIA
President, Ruggles Mabe Studio

This led him to a fascinating study of the neuroscience behind what triggers that response and why we crave it. The book is equal parts a study of classical architecture—including why the early modern movement cast “beauty” aside—and a fascinating study of why design should work with an awareness of the brain’s autonomic nervous system. Not surprisingly, the book itself is beautiful to behold, filled with, yes, beautiful photography, illustration, inspirational quotes, and a luxurious cover. Don Ruggle’s closes his book fueled with great wisdom. We have the power to design our better future. Let our search for beauty lead the way.

Editor’s note: We acknowledge that we used Amazon and inks to help you learn more about these recommended books. But we are big advocates for ordering from your local independent bookstores. Give them a call first!

The GFDA is an alliance of design and build professionals committed to lowering construction waste for future generations. To find out how you can get more involved, Join the Movement.