Young urban professionals hip to green-building scene

The trend now has a name. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Guppys: Green urban professionals who are young. (Yeah, we didn’t say it was a clever name.) Portland, Ore., has become the epicenter of a movement by the storied “creative class” to find, build, or remodel eco-friendly houses. Guppys are seeking out solar panels, passive heating and cooling systems, green roofs, and recycled materials, and are even — gasp! — sacrificing square footage in the quest for greener dwellings. This kind of construction costs more on the front end, which at least for now restricts it to higher-end hipsters, but the long-term energy savings can, in some cases, more than compensate. But money is not the only consideration. “Building green is both a very practical, self-interested activity, in terms of lower operating costs, and it also has a deeper spiritual value to many people taking responsibility for the impacts they have,” says Portland architect Alan Scott.