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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Green tomorrows
A penny of prevention is worth a dollar of cure.
Green tomorrows
Building green can save greenbacks

Thanks to greater eco-awareness, rebates for environmentally friendly homes and homeowners' desires to slash their skyrocketing energy costs, building green is looking more golden than ever to architects and developers.

If you're thinking of starting from scratch on a home of your own, you can go green for cheaper than you think, says Paul Novak, environmental products specialist at Green Depot. "Depending on how green you want to get, it will cost about 5 (percent) to 10 percent more than a traditional house," he says. "But you'll definitely get a payback on that investment -- not just on cost, but in your health, too."

Paper makes up roughly 39 pounds of every 100 pounds of trash in the U.S.

Matt Golden, CEO of San Francisco-based Sustainable Spaces, adds that not only is it cheaper than people realize to make homes eco-friendly, building new offers many options unavailable to remodeled homes.

"When you're talking about new construction, it's a great opportunity to have an impact early on -- rather than trying to fix a broken system." He adds that for those who can't upgrade on every green item, addressing the low-hanging fruit will make a difference. "You can have a dramatic impact on most houses for $5,000 to $8,000," he says.

Going green can mean many things. Common considerations include reducing energy use, avoiding toxic chemicals, using products that have a long life cycle and ensuring that products are produced with environmental concerns in mind. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as your own home takes shape.

-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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