California has adopted the most ecologically friendly -- and strict -- building code standards in the country. The new code, nicknamed Calgreen, takes effect in January 2011. Builders will be required to install plumbing that lowers water use, recycle 50% of construction waste and use low-pollutant paints, carpets and flooring. "This ... integrat[es] green construction practices into the very fabric of the construction code," said Tom Sheehy, chairman of the California Building Standards Commission.

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