Ryan Connolly As buyers think about building again, many are considering earth-friendly options. Not only to save on energy costs, but for the health of their families.

Green building practices reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment through better design, construction, operation, and removal of materials. Ultimately, green building increases the efficiency in which materials are harvested and used.

According to the Metropolitan Builders Association, approximately 64% of home builders will be either heavily or moderately involved with green building projects. That follows a 20% increase in such builders over the past year. Such growth is moving green home building into the mainstream and brings home builders and homeowners to the brink of a new, environmentally and resource-conscious era.

One of the benefits of building green is that it reduces the building’s environmental footprint on the planet. U.S. homes account for 21% of carbon dioxide emissions, 22% of energy use and 74% of potable water consumption and therefore are a huge contributor of emissions that damage the earth. The LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gives points for building with non-toxic materials such as zero or low VOC paint and soy-based insulations. By building with these materials, the owners reduce the chance of having health issues as a result of living among toxic building materials. The LEED program awards points for other measures, too. Visit the US Green Building Council to learn more.

Another benefit to building green is that it can save you money. Compared to traditionally built homes, green homes use an average of: 40% less energy and 50% less water. They are also built with non-toxic building materials that lower exposure to mold and mildew which could lower health care costs. Another monetary factor to consider is your homes re-sale value. If a buyer can save money on water, energy and health bills by buying a green home versus a standard home, the buyer may be willing to pay more to purchase the green home.

Think about eco-friendly options next time you make a home renovation. Simple changes in plans can make a big difference when considering the environment and add value to your home that would cost considerable money to install otherwise. For example, when it comes to picking a floor for your home take advantage of the availability of recycled wood to replace any old flooring you may be tearing up. Try to utilize as much of the existing home as possible. You may not want to do away with old wood especially if you can reuse it in another location. After all it still has all the character and history in its features.