Open-sourced green building sounds like an oxymoron. However, FreeGreen.com provides open-sourced green building designs. Started in April 2008, the year-old company opened up its website for architects to upload their designs and set the price for them.
A New York Times blog post characterized FreeGreen as a “service that offers what most developers won’t: green home plans to home-buyers.” The blog post also called it a "bottom up approach to innovation."
Every design on FreeGreen is created to reduce energy usage 30 to 50 percent of local building codes. “We made a ubiquitous decision in the way we handle the company,” said David Wax, co-founder and CEO. “We were not going to be the arbiters of green design. We don’t want a FreeGreen standard. That's not what we are. We are an information provider.”
The website is blunt about FreeGreen revenue source, “FreeGreen would not exist without paid placement from product manufacturers, and all product or service provider placements should be considered advertising.” Most of company’s revenues come from paid product placements in the free building designs.
The company is selective about the products they choose. The open sourced building designs that architects upload are also a revenue source. FreeGreen receives 20 percent of the sales revenue. Information is provided about every product listed in a plan, including its point ratings in the LEED-H, and NABH Green Building standards.