Green building is a hugely important issue that has to be solved if we hope to have any chance of sustainably lifting the developing world to the level of comfort enjoyed by first world citizens. Our goal as a people should be that everyone can have a comfortable and protected living space equipped with clean water, a sewer system, a kitchen (and enough good food to eat), lights, electricity. In short, a nice place to live. It's a hugely complicated problem that is perhaps best considered categorically. One of the important components of the path to green building is the transition to truly sustainable building materials. We have to get away from using wood soaked in poisons and trees logged from ecologically sensitive lands. Windows need get more efficient and energy intensive materials like concrete need to be replaced by materials that can be sustainably produced.


Materials like the Building Blox by Mason Greenstar, a new design for a cinder block replacement that's made from compressed paper slurry. It's basically paper mache on steroids and is not only twice as strong and two thirds lighter than traditional concrete blocks but are more energy efficient and fireproof to boot. Engineering students at Texas Tech are working with the material and researching its real world application. Here's a great video via Grist that describes the project in more detail:




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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Smart greener design: paper mache blocks
The path to a sustainable future has to include greener building materials like the Building Blox, a concrete block replacement that's made from shredded paper.