A major part of our green series has been sharing the little things we can all do to make this a better world. Of course there's one sector of our economy that's embracing green in a big way. Architects and builders are thinking green in everything from homes to skyscrapers.
From the floors, to the insulation, there are many ways you can go green.
Homeworks made this mini-model home and everything inside it is green. "We almost built this whole building out of recaptured and recycled materials," says Patrick Colville, the owner of Homeworks.
"You don't have to be off the grid to be able to go green and do good things for the environment, as well as feel good about yourself and the home that you have for your family", says Homeworks Sr. Project Manager Tony Hill.
The walls in their model home, showcase different options for insulation. There is blue jean cotton that is, recycled pants. There is also soy based insulation foam. Those options are currently more expensive than the usual pink fiberglass, but the price of green materials will likely come down as demand rises. "It's the thing and it will be the thing and should be the thing and it will come down in price should be in the average build," says Colville.
Even if you are just doing a remodel, keep in mind the materials you use. Quartz is a natural material and often times comes with a life-long guarantee.
Donna Ballard of Innovative Designs Kitchen and Bath uses a lot of new types of "green" countertops. "The first one is concrete with recycled glass and abalone shell. The second one is a resin concrete base. Paperstone is actually bonded paper recycled."
For flooring, think about using bamboo. It only takes three years to mature, when most trees take 50-100 years.
Also look for earth friendly paint and as always, try to use the new fluorescent lights.
The outside of the home also serves as another example. Low-E housewrap can keep heat from escaping your home. On one side it's recycled aluminum, on the other, it's recycled milk cartons.
"It's a product that makes sense in reducing your carbon footprint but it also makes dollars and cents," says Hill.
Another thing to keep in mind, salvaged materials are cheaper and keep the materials from winding up in a landfill.
Just to give you an idea of how quickly this trend is catching on, greenbuildingblocks.com estimates that green construction will increase 400 percent by the year 2010.