Buildings are a major contributor to climate change, through both their use and construction.  While design techniques can certainly help lower the impact of new buildings, there needs to be consideration of both the materials used for construction and also the way in which currently existing buildings might also be retrofitted towards lowering environmental impact.

These include ideas which seek to blend into the local environment such as earthships or straw bale houses which are made out of easily available natural or recycled materials.  Other uses of recycled or natural materials seeing use include bamboo or a fly ash and concrete mix, known as AshCrete.

In addition to such materials, retrofitting of buildings to energy positive standards is also being proven possible in recent years.  One such example would be the domestic project undertaken by an energy efficiency and architecture expert to convert his pre-existing home into an energy positive house on an affordable budget.  This project was partially assisted by a variety of tax credits.

Are there other green construction or retrofitting projects, materials or techniques that you know about?  Are there policies in your country, region or city to enable low impact buildings?  Do you know about or are you involved in projects in your community, school or business that are involved in green construction or retrofitting?  We are particularly interested in sustainable housing initiatives within industrialising countries, particularly in the tropics.

If you have examples to share, please do fill out our questionnaire.

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