Whether it's recycling bottles or carpooling to work, millions of Americans take part in eco-friendly activities every day. Now you can carry that over when you are building or renovating your home.
Dave Brown and his wife Jane are loving retirement in their dream home, which was born a barn before being converted into a beautiful space using Leadership in Energy and Environment Design specifications. The internationally known LEED program recognizes sustainable building practices.
A move to be more environmentally friendly, Jane says, was something they'd wanted to do.
"We'd become, over the years, more concerned about climate change and about use of energy both from an economic point of view and an environmental point of view," she said.
They worked with Peter Taggart, who specializes in LEED-accredited home building. He says building green requires a long term perspective.
"We really encourage customers to look at, for instance, spending a little bit more on a window or more efficiency on a heating system then looking at a payback for that," Taggart said.
Angie Hicks, Founder of Angie's List says going green costs you green up front but will save you later.
"Building an energy efficient or environmentally friendly home is going to cost you more up front," she said. "But you need a long term perspective because it's going to save you money on your monthly energy bills throughout your time in the home."
The U.S. Green Building Council expects the residential green construction market to top $100 million by 2018. Jane says building green was all about the placement of things.
"We've got south-facing windows that help with passive solar energy, and it really does, in the winter, allow a lot of warmth to get in through those windows," she said.
Other green features of their home include dense-packed cellulose insulation, solar hot water, an on-demand water heater, radiant heat flooring and lots of recycled wood from the original construction.