The Green Movement, popular with the Hippies in the early 60s was the precursor for the present interest in building Green homes. Thereafter, the Green movement evolved differently in the United States and Europe. In the 1970s, the Green Movement gained political credibility with the establishment of the Green Party in Germany. Many more Green political parties came into being notably in Europe and thus an institutional approach to the green movement was in place in Europe. These Green parties often formed alliances in Europe giving the impetus to the green agenda. A prime example is the green legislation tax passed in the late 1990s by the German government.
No such legislative activity took place in the States. In this country, the Green movement has continued its march without any federal support. During the early years, building green homes was significantly more expensive than normal homes. American construction companies, sans the governmental pressures faced by their European counterparts, sought only to augment their profits rather than build green. Building Biology is a well recognized 30 year old movement in Europe, and the main argument forwarded by its proponents is that indigenously available materials are healthier than concrete, steel and plastic foam construction material.
The advocates of this philosophy suggest using loam for building walls. Contributing to the conservation efforts is also possible by using recycled paper as insulation. Till very recently, Americans considered used bathing water as waste water; instead this is an invaluable resource to be used for landscaping.
The LEED norms in vogue in the United States are not legal regulations yet. The European proposal to unify all green norms under the French green building norms is a pertinent move that the government would do well to seriously consider. Houses in the US are usually constructed of wood which is both abundant and economical.
\ The swift expansion of the US construction industry raised import of wood and consequently the loss of substantial tropical rainforest areas. The US building industry continued to look for profits and overlooked any environmental concerns. In contrast, forest conservation has been a priority with the European nations and this has resulted in them shifting to using quick rowing wood such as bamboo for construction purposes. Wonder why Europe has maintained an ample lead over the United States in building green.
Info on green home plans, see http://www.GreenHomeGuide.org
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