The U.S. Green Building Council held its annual Greenbuild Expo in Boston last week, exposing close to 30,000 people to the latest green-building technologies and materials.
People who attended the conference were impressed at the high number of attendees, a sign that what was once a fringe movement is becoming mainstream.
On the show floor, there were a number of products designed with the environment in mind, such as sustainably harvested wood, drywall made from recycled material, and kitchen counters made of recycled paper.
During the week, the U.S. Green Building Council passed a draft for an updated LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) green-building certification for commercial buildings. Meanwhile, new LEED certifications for retail stores and neighborhood development are now available for public comment.
There are certainly more options for energy-efficient appliances and products made with recycled materials than just a few years ago. But green-building practices are still far from commonplace. Typically, someone constructing a new building or retrofitting an existing one will need to make an extra effort to go "green."
Clean-tech investing firm Good Energies weighed in on the green-building debate by publishing a study last week concluding that the premium people pay for a green building is smaller than commonly perceived.
The study (click here for PDF) found that people pay on average 2 percent more for green buildings and that there are a range of benefits, including an average of 33 percent energy savings and health benefits to people.
CBS Interactive recently opened a new Boston office and is applying for LEED certification. According to the general contractor, one of the hidden costs is simply delays that occur when contractors haven't already bought from green-building suppliers.