Sustainability: Required in Europe, Voluntary in America

Unlike European countries, the U.S. has no government standards for green building. Sustainable design is now commonplace in Europe, while American architects may comply with voluntary "green" standards.

"By the mid-90s, all new construction in Europe had to meet basic requirements in energy consumption, and many European architects began to make sustainability a central theme in their work."

"Despite the media attention showered on 'green' issues, the federal government has yet to establish universal efficiency standards for buildings. Yet, according to some estimates, buildings consume nearly as much energy as industry and transportation combined. And the average building in the U.S. uses roughly a third more energy than its German counterpart.

Americans did not always lag so far behind; much of our most celebrated architecture has had a green strain. Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra all sought to create a more fluid relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces, man and nature." (Includes multimedia slideshow)

Full Story: Why Are They Greener Than We Are?

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