In Austin, we’ve got a fantastic resource called the Green Building Program. You can get good answers from the site or call them. Even though we’re in Texas, Austin guidelines are appropriate for much of the U.S..

Two national program are coming up. You’ve heard of LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and the U.S. Green Building Council (which administers the LEED certification program for green buildings). They’re the newest ones on the block, but they’re the loudest, the ones you hear about most.

There’s also the National Association of Home Builders, which came out a little bit before LEED (with its green standards). I think it’s a bit smarter, because they didn’t reinvent the wheel. They took lessons from green programs in Denver, Portland and other cities, and made a comprehensive list of things to do. From a homeowner’s point of view, if you want to learn what makes the most sense anywhere in the country, consult the NAHB Green Building Guidelines. It tells you what to do and why it’s important.

The difficult thing about green building is there’s no single answer to everything. It’s what I said earlier. What makes you physically uncomfortable is the same thing that makes your house consume energy. That’s a clue to the things you should do to your home. It’s basic common sense.

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