Green Building on a Tight Budget

January/February 2006
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 01, 2006
An innovative program in Austin, Texas, uses common sense ideas to build affordable green houses while providing job skills for disadvantaged youth.
        Many builders and homeowners have considered the benefits of going green, but they think green building is out of their budget range.While the benefits of green building—higher energy efficiency, better health for residents, lower impact on natural resources—are obvious, it’s sometimes hard to keep the long-range benefits in mind when faced with the sticker shock of showboat green McMansions. However, if you’re willing to think innovatively about your building process, and compromise on a smaller building envelope, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Take a look, for instance, at some of the homes that have recently been built in East Austin,Texas. This low-income area of the music city capital of the world is dotted with affordable, attractive, and green homes that have been built over the past ten-odd years by a unique program called Casa Verde Builders. Program grants determined that the East Austin area would be the focus for home construction projects at Casa Verde.         A program of American YouthWorks (formerly the American Institute for Learning), Casa Verde Builders addresses several problems at once.This ...

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