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Americans have always been influenced by trends that appear on the European continent. Now there's a philosophy in European housing that is gaining acceptance from American architects and design engineers: designing sustainable structures.

There are some very strong indications that sustainability consciousness is about to become a prime influence in America. One sign of this change can be found in the approach of home builders. To its foes, the home-building industry traditionally has been labeled as opportunistic. It follows that the industry's primary marketing focus is on affordability, even if that means urging buyers to accept less-durable materials because they reduce the initial cost of a home.

One of the highest-profile projects demonstrating the sustainability concept is the Melrose Commons II project currently underway in an old neighborhood in New York City.The article includes an explanation of the LEED sustainable design program and "green" building resources.