Green building has started to become a household and industry word here in Orlando, Florida and elsewhere! People are accepting that it is not only here to stay. . . but it is the way of the future!

Yes, the same green movement that has spurred our schools to discourage brown paper lunch bags, and encourage motorists to trade in their gas guzzling SUV's for a hybrid has now crept into the housing market as a growing number of builders construct environmentally responsible homes. State and local governments are now offering incentives to help promote the use of eco-friendly materials and methods in green residential building.

A widely accepted definition for a green building is: A building that is sited, designed, constructed and operated to enhance and improve the well being and quality of life of occupants and to minimize negative impacts on the community and natural environment.

Here are just a few innovative ways to build gener homes:

* Install Energy Star efficient appliances

* Use low VOC house paint

* Use recycled content materials

* Use quickly renewable products such as bamboo flooring

* Install engineered wood

* Landscape with low water drought tolerant plants to minimizeize irrigation use

* Install energy and water efficient irrigation systems

* Install green seal certified windows and doors

* Foam insulation which can save up to 50% on energy bills

* Solar water heaters

* Compact fluorescent lighting

* Computer controlled vents that pull in fresh air

Although it can take a little more work and research on the part of the builder and homeowner because of all of the new products and technology that is now available, the pay off can be huge. A green building will:

* Provide a healthier and more comfortable environment

* Improve long term economic performance

* Reduce construction and demolition waste

* Bring a higher resale value

* Improve indoor air quality

* Reduce environmental impact

* Are easier to maintain and are built to last

The US Green Building Council is a nonprofit organization working very hard to promote environmentally responsible building practices. They are composed of more than 12,000 organizations from across the building industry. Members include building owners and end users, real estate developers, facility managers, architects, designers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, building product manufacturers, and government agencies. For more information about this organization you can go to: http://www.usgbc.org . This is just one of many nonprofit agencies that are committed to promoting green building practices for a healthier, more energy efficient environment.