The focus of the world's attention on environmental issues in recent years has stimulated responses in many countries which have led to a closer examination of energy conservation strategies for conventional fossil fuels. Buildings are important consumers of energy and thus important contributors to emissions of greenhouse gases into the global atmosphere. The development and adoption of suitable renewable energy technologies has an important role; a review of options indicates benefits and some problems. There are two key-elements to the fulfilling of renewable energy technology potential within the field of building design; firstly the instilling of appropriate skills and attitudes in building design professionals, and secondly the provision of the opportunity for such people to demonstrate their skills. This second element may only be created when the population at large, and clients commissioning building design in particular, become more aware of what can be achieved and what resources are required.