Can you suggest a green architect in central Ohio or offer ideas of how to locate one in my area?
There are many resources to help you find an architect. First, try your local or regional American Institute of Architects (AIA) office. Most AIA chapters have lists of members, and many chapters are now including sustainability as an area of specialization. There are also a number of organizations that focus on sustainable design and building, and they also have lists. Try contacting a local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council—you can search by category and state on their website.
So, once you have a list to choose from, how do you select an architect? I believe there are three main things to look for: first, an approach to aesthetics and design that is compatible with what you want; second, good references from the architect's current and previous clients; and third, a good working rapport. Most projects last 6 to 18 months, and a good relationship is key to getting the results you want despite inevitable moments of tension.
The architect should have experience on projects of a similar size and type. Many clients think local experience is important, but most architects would probably say that it isn't necessary. In many locations, being a licensed architect is not required for residential work, but I feel strongly that a well-trained, licensed architect will usually deliver better results.
For more information:
For advice on transitioning from the design phase to construction, read Connie McCullah's "How can I keep costs down during the permit and construction phases of my green home?"