The emerging field of “green building,” with its emphasis on resource-efficient methods of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and even demolition will be the focus of a three-part Lawrence University environmental studies lecture series.

Nathan Engstrom, program director of Madison-based Green Built Home, opens the series Thursday, Jan. 19 with the address “Better Building..Better Living…Better World!” The presentation, at 7:30 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 102 on the Lawrence campus, is free and open to the public.

Engstrom will discuss the concept of green building and why it is becoming increasingly important. He also will provide an overview of Green Built Home and Green Built Remodeled Home programs and discuss ways individuals and developers can incorporate green building into their future projects.

Green Built Home is a partnership program with the Madison Area Builders Association. It promotes green building practices by certifying new homes and remodeling projects that meet sustainable building and energy standards. It encourages sustainable community development by promoting building practices and products that reduce the ecological footprint of new home construction.

While it is estimated a green building typically costs 2% to 3% more initially than one built with conventional construction methods, those costs are eventually recovered because green buildings are less expensive to operate, saving money on energy and water consumption. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, since then President Clinton announced plans in 1993 to make the White House a model of efficiency and waste reduction, the “greening of the White House” has created $300,000 in annual savings and led to similar efforts in other government buildings.

Engstrom has directed the Green Built Home program since 2003. He previously served as an energy services advisor fot he Wisconsin Energy Initiative 2 program and was is the co-author of a chapter in the book “Sustainable Architectures.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and environmental studies from Northland College and a master’s degree in sustainable design from the University of Texas.

Other talks scheduled in the series include:

• Feb. 2 — John Weyenberg, director of the Fox Cities chapter of Habitat for Humanity, “The ReStore Recycled Building Materials Project.”

• March 2 — Judy Corbett, co-founder of Village Homes, Davis, Calif., “Beyond Green Buildings: Planning for Sustainable Neighborhoods and Regions.”

The environmental lecture series is sponsored by the Spoerl Lectureship in Science in Society. Established in 1999 by Milwaukee-Downer College graduate Barbara Gray Spoerl and her husband, Edward, the lectureship promotes interest and discussion on the role of science and technology in societies worldwide.