Green Home-Building Rising in Popularity

Eco-minded builders and environmental groups in the U.S. are pushing to simplify and popularize the notion of “green building,” which encompasses practices and materials that reduce waste and make homes more efficient. Green building — ranging from landscaping with native plants to using carpet made of recycled soda bottles to recycling cast-off construction materials — has been on the rise for several years: A total of 18,887 green homes were built in the U.S. between 1990 and 2001, while 13,224 were built in 2002 alone. While the added expense of non-standard materials and specialized builders currently limits the market largely to affluent, dual-income families, it’s likely that expanded production will lower costs and make the benefits of lower energy bills, cleaner indoor air, reduced maintenance costs, and a healthy conscience available to the rest of us before too long.