What Does the Better Building Institute Do, and Why?

Everyone wants to live in a house that is safe, healthy and inexpensive to run. While the building materials and methods used in the last century were (almost) adequate for the normal weather conditions of that period, we are now experiencing a new normal: weather conditions are getting more severe and are causing more damage to our homes every year. Far too often, we hear about (or experience) weather-related damage or loss of homes, and sometimes even lives, due to a tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, extreme cold or heat, or even a massive oil spill or gas explosion. In some cases, even the availability of energy is threatened by those same weather conditions, leaving many people without heating or cooling when they need it the most. At the same time, the energy we need to heat or cool our homes is becoming more expensive and risky to our health and safety, because of spills, fires or explosions involving these dirty and highly combustible energy sources. 

But there are ways to prepare for the ‘New Normal’, by building better structures that are more sustainable and resilient to severe weather and other disasters. Over the last few decades many advances in construction have been made, resulting in homes that have stood up to Katrina, Sandy, the Midwest tornados, and even fire, water or insect damage.

And as we build them stronger, we can also make them more energy-efficient, using the same construction and weatherization practices. The result is huge savings in utility costs, and in the case of new construction, the total elimination of energy needed for heating or cooling during most - if not all - of the seasons.

This is why the Better Building Institute was founded in 2003, initially as RiverBend Home Inspections in Alton, Illinois, serving the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. In 2009 the name was changed in the process of becoming a non-profit corporation, while adding new services: teaching and consulting for homeowners to help them improve the performance of their home, or help them build a zero-energy new one. Of course, home inspections are still offered, as well as inexpensive energy assessments with a blower-door test. After more than forty years of study or experience in high-performance construction and energy-efficiency, if BBI doesn’t have a solution to your problem, we can help you find one.

Please check out the headings above and to the left, and learn more about BBI’s services. Feel free to call or email us if you have any questions. We are a publicly-funded non-profit group, and if you feel we have helped you, please help us with an appropriate donation, all of which will be used to cover our operating expenses.

The most important reason that we do this: We believe that helping you save energy will also help save the Earth from climate change, by cutting fossil fuel use and reducing everyone’s carbon footprint. If everyone were to follow our advice to eliminate their home's carbon emissions, we could reduce global warming by more than half!  For that reason, BBI also offers free seminars to anyone interested on Climate Change and its other solutions, in cooperation with the following environmental groups:

The Sierra Club –Piasa Palisades Group

The Climate Reality Project

Citizens Climate Lobby

Friends of the Earth


 We Offer Energy & Safety Audits for any Donation of $150 or More, So You Know How and Where Your House Needs Work!

Attend One Of Our Classes or Free Seminars to Learn More!

See Us in the HOME PERFORMANCE with ENERGY STAR Booth* at most St. Louis Area Home Shows  (*in partnership with MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDENS’ Earthways Center)