No one will tell you that building a new home rather than purchasing one that already exists is environmentally friendly — even if you use salvaged materials. So, if you're considering building a new home, find a lot that's previously been built on. Previously developed land (PDL) that is vacant or unused is a wasted resource. Building on PDL does not disturb wildlife, and keeps our natural assets intact. There may also be a cash incentive to leaving nature untouched. When asked about the value of New Jersey's natural assets, Bill Mates of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said they're worth a lot:
At least $26 billion a year worth of goods and services. And that $26 billion a year is worth about $850 billion in present value terms.
If you have no plans to build a home but have money to spare, consider purchasing undeveloped land and leaving it that way. It's the only property that can't be reproduced.