1) Recycled Materials- The construction industry is putting recyclable materials to good use by using them in place of traditional materials. Bottles, cans, tires, and recycled wood among others are used creatively and efficiently to create eco-friendly buildings.
2) Efficient Heating and Cooling- Heating and cooling can use a large amount of energy, and can account up to 2/3 of your energy bills depending on where you live. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home can produce up to 6,600 pounds of CO2 with heating and cooling alone. The construction industry is striving to find new ways to decrease the amount of energy waste by incorporating sunlight and more efficient windows and furnace systems into buildings.
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4) Smaller Size- Although green buildings are growing in number, they tend to be shrinking in size, as smaller buildings use less materials and tend to waste less energy than larger buildings.
5) Solar Energy- Many buildings now have solar panels installed onto their roofs. This alternative energy source tends to be cleaner, more efficient, and less costly in the long run. Net-zero energy buildings tend to incorporate solar panels into their construction.
6) LEED Certification- Becoming LEED Certified is now a goal for many companies as the rating system can give firms a competitive advantage. LEED Certified. For example, Kaiser Permanente has made LEED Certification a new goal for all of its buildings. LEED is becoming a global trend, as countries around the world are striving to meet new green building standards, and LEED Earth is offering free certification for countries that do not have any LEED buildings yet.
7) Water Conservation- Architects and construction companies have become more concerned with water conservation and minimizing water loss. Many homes and commercial buildings now feature rainwater collection systems to minimize external water use.