It's all about ugly solar panels and cold houses, right? Turn down the heat! Put a sweater on! God, those solar panels are an eye-sore! Not any more. Green building has evolved into much more than simply slapping some solar panels on the roof of your house and calling it a day. It can include such basic concepts as: the proper orientation of your house, sealed air ducts, high efficiency windows, improved insulation, high efficiency HVAC, and tight construction.

Check out The US Green Building Council for more information. A comprehensive rating system called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has been developed which goal to provide a road map for delivering economically profitable, environmentally responsible, healthy, productive places to live and work. ”

Too late, I've already got a house

Not really, LEED provides a document called “16 Ways to Green your Home” which advises that you:

  • Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Program your thermostat
  • Plug air leaks
  • Tune up your HVAC system
  • Choose Energy Star appliances
  • Reduce water use
  • Switch to green power (could be as simple as calling your energy company and asking for wind power)
  • Buy local
  • Use low VOC products
  • Use wood-alternative or FSC-certified wood products
  • Use rapidly renewable flooring materials
  • Plant trees to provide shade and wind protection
  • Use native plants
  • Use non-toxic garden techniques
  • Carpool
  • Buy a high-efficiency car
  • While it's true that certain areas of the country are more open to the green building revolution than others, you can certainly see from this information that taking a step in the “green” direction is not overwhelming.

    So go ahead, give it a try.