One in two Israelis would like to live in a green building and 35 percent would be willing to pay more for a green apartment, a new survey has found. At the same time, familiarity with green building is very low - 84% of those polled had little to no knowledge of what it constituted. A green, or sustainable, building is one whose design focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use - energy, water and materials - while reducing impacts on health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, construction, operation, maintenance and disposal. The survey was commissioned by the Sami Shamoon College of Engineering ahead of a conference on the topic on Monday at the school's Beersheba campus. Conference panels will focus on architecture and green building, conservation of land and water, alternative energy and transportation. Once the idea was explained to them, 48% of respondents were interested in living in a green building. The major reasons cited were a healthier atmosphere for children and families (43%), savings in operating costs (15%) and sustainable living (12%). Younger and more educated people were more likely to have heard of green building, while immigrants were far less likely. About 25% of those polled said they would be willing to spend another $7,000 to live in a green building, while an additional 10% were willing to spend $5,000 more to live green. The survey was conducted in the first week of February among 500 respondents 18 or over. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. Dr. Rina Dagani, CEO of the Geocartography Group and an urban planner, predicted that green building would be the standard in Israel within five years. "Green building will become the popular standard within five years. Most of the developers won't build buildings without a green standard. Demand will arise both from the customer and from the planning authorities. and especially from the local authorities," she said. Dagani has worked out an evaluation formula that predicts that a developer who begins to implement green standards from the planning stage will be able to complete a green building for as little as 5% more than it would cost to build a regular structure.