I recently took an ecological footprint quiz and learned that it would take 21 biologically productive acres to support my lifestyle. If everyone on Earth lived like me, we would need 4.7 planets, and I was 12 percent below average for an American! The only saving grace here is that so far most of the world has yet to achieve my middle-class American lifestyle. But, as the economies in India, China and other developing countries take off and large numbers of their citizens begin to consume at the same rate as we Americans, the competition for scarce resources will be intense. We will all have to learn to do more with less, and the whole world will be saying renew, reuse, recycle about everything, including houses. In the home-building arena in the United States, much progress has already been made in building houses that are more resource-efficient. Less energy is needed to heat and cool them. Many commonly used building materials are made with less waste, less water and more en...
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