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Building With Green Materials

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For many, building their own home from scratch is a lifelong dream, though most don't rush to use natural building materials. Yet when we take a close look at the more than 1.7 million houses made of wood, steel and concrete foundations each year, a troubling picture emerges. The same materials used to construct those houses could also be used to heat about 10 million existing homes. Traditional home-building processes place a heavy burden on the natural environment and perpetuate the use of non-clean burning fuels, non-recyclable materials and intense contributions to pollution. Now, as green energy sources like wind, water and sun, the world is seeing an influx in utilizing green materials in construction. Rock slabs keep homes tightly insulated by generating thermal mass and absorbing cold, straw bales are energy efficient and sturdy blocks for foundations, and bamboo is fashionable and unrelentingly strong. Take for example villagers' homes from "Lord Of The Rings"—the grass roofs, known as Earth-covered homes, are naturally insulated, sound-proof and fire-resistant.

These materials are becoming more available, affordable and prevalent. Not only do these natural substances help eliminate unnecessary waste, they help boost the economy seeing as these materials are often locally sourced. Check out this playlist to get the basics on the small material changes we can make to leave a lasting impact on the world.

01:55
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For More Planet 100, Visit http://planetgreen.discovery.com/feature/planet-100/ Today, on Planet 100, the world celebrates its green buildings, supermarkets in France introduce fuel pump-style wine vending machines, and Sean Penn gets honored for his humanitarian efforts.
01:38
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James T. Caldwell, Ph.D., a Director of UCGEC, Chair of its Green Building Task Force outlines the upfront savings from constructing green buildings and the accrued costs annually. Complete video available for free at http://fora.tv/2012/08/09/How_the_Internet_Will_Lead_to_a_Green_Energy_Future
05:53
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Kimber Reed and Tracen Gardner of Reclaimed Space complete construction on a sustainable house before sending it on the road from Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles, California. Check out the innovative uses of reclaimed materials, including old barn wood, sheet-metal roofs and century-old accents.
01:59
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According to environmental justice advocate Majora Carter, getting serious about job creation in NYC will mean funneling money toward green manufacturing and clean tech industries, not professional sports. Topic: Majora Carter on City Governments and the Environment. Majora Carter: Macro, really encourage, through funding and incentives, the development of green manufacturing and clean tech industries. We can talk the talk without walking the walk. That's what a lot of people do. That's called greenwashing. But I find that when in New York City, for example, the kind of subsidies that are going to the Yankees from Major League to create stadiums or big box stores, stuff like that, when we know that they're not really going to do anything to seriously impact the bottom line of our communities. They're not going to create great jobs. They're not going to mitigate the environment. We have to really put our money where our mouth is and support the kind of industries that are going to have the kind of environmental and economic impact. Because they're going to create green jobs. And that's really important for us to recognize. So just on a macro level, creating the kind of environment so that green businesses can actually flourish. That's one. Another one is making sure that we can train people in those green collar jobs. And making sure that there is funding and support to do that as well. Because we've got huge pools in major cities of unemployed people who want to be a part of something. That's all anybody really wants when you think about it. To be loved, to contribute to society, and really feel like they're making a difference. And you often do that through your own economic bottom line. If you don't have the funds to do that and if you have a job that automatically makes you feel like you're a part of something bigger. So making sure that we are training the folks that have been, traditionally, deprived of a lot of resources in their own communities. That's really important to look at, as well. Recorded on: April 28, 2008 Topic: Majora Carter on City Governments and the Environment. Majora Carter: Macro, really encourage, through funding and incentives, the development of green manufacturing and clean tech industries. We can talk the talk without walking the walk. That's what a lot of people do. That's called greenwashing. But I find that when in New York City, for example, the kind of subsidies that are going to the Yankees from Major League to create stadiums or big box stores, stuff like that, when we know that they're not really going to do anything to seriously impact the bottom line of our communities. They're not going to create great jobs. They're not going to mitigate the environment. We have to really put our money where our mouth is and support the kind of industries that are going to have the kind of environmental and economic impact. Because they're going to create green jobs. And that's really important for us to recognize. So just on a macro level, creating the kind of environment so that green businesses can actually flourish. That's one. Another one is making sure that we can train people in those green collar jobs. And making sure that there is funding and support to do that as well. Because we've got huge pools in major cities of unemployed people who want to be a part of something. That's all anybody really wants when you think about it. To be loved, to contribute to society, and really feel like they're making a difference. And you often do that through your own economic bottom line. If you don't have the funds to do that and if you have a job that automatically makes you feel like you're a part of something bigger. So making sure that we are training the folks that have been, traditionally, deprived of a lot of resources in their own communities. That's really important to look at, as well. Recorded on: April 28, 2008
15:03
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Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School Amy Edmondson Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society. Edmondson joined the Harvard faculty in 1996 following completion of her PhD in Organizational Behavior. She teaches leadership and organizational learning in the MBA and Executive Education programs. Her book, Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy was published in May, 2012, by Jossey-Bass.
05:53
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Kimber Reed and Tracen Gardner of Reclaimed Space complete construction on a sustainable house before sending it on the road from Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles, California. Check out the innovative uses of reclaimed materials, including old barn wood, sheet-metal roofs and century-old accents.
04:16
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"Green" architecture is a kind of "soup du jour" at many firms, but the push to create sustainable buildings is an important movement.
04:09
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Architype won an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy in 2009. The company designs buildings that require minimal heating, cooling and lighting through insulation, passive solar gain, natural ventilation and well placed windows.
05:11
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Radian won the UK Gold Award at the 2011 Ashden Awards. Nearly 44,000 people are living in more energy efficient homes as a result, and reaping the benefits every day in lower fuel bills and a better quality of life.