Even cheaper than recycling is reusing materials on-site. You can reinstall those old kitchen cabinets in your basement workshop, for example, or use discarded insulation to beef up what's already in the attic. Untreated wood, drywall, and cabinetry can all be used again, cutting down on waste while saving on materials fees.

"There are a lot of cost benefits in maintaining green job sites, but most people don't recognize them," says Brian Yeoman, a green building expert with the Houston Advanced Research Center. In his area, for example, it costs a contractor about $14 a cubic yard to dump construction waste into a landfill. But for about $125 an hour, he can rent a mobile grinder that will chew up and spit out discarded building materials on-site. The difference in cost can be offset by using ground-up wood instead of commerci0al silt fences to control run-off, pulverized drywall for a pH-balancing soil amendment, and ground brick as a driveway base or gravel garden.

Sooner or later, green job sites might become the norm for all builders, as concern for the environment increases, says Ray Tonjes, a builder in Austin, Texas, and chairman of the National Association of Home Builders' Green Building Subcommittee. Tonjes applauds the practices of eco-builders like Moody, but he's aiming his efforts squarely at the mainstream. "After all," he says, "if you can get 100,000 builders to start thinking about [green practices], you can start to achieve market transformation. And that's a real benefit with real effects."

Soon we may be forced to build green. In 1978, there were about 20,000 landfills accepting construction waste in the U.S. Today it's down to 3,091.
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