• Credit: Courtesy Durfeld Constructors

Green design is becoming a matter of course, mentioned in passing, rather than shouted about. It’s also more a matter of individual circumstances and less a question of black or white. As eco-wise homes take on all shapes and sizes, there’s less focus on beefy solar arrays and gee-whiz technology. Instead, we’re seeing more attention paid to Passive House standards. There’s also less emphasis on chasing certification and more time spent on reducing a home’s energy load. One builder in Chicago told us this year that clients send him copies of their energy bills—like baby pictures. (How can you not love that?)

Amy Albert is a senior editor at Builder.