>Eco-Friendly Construction in PA

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(By Priyanka Kotadia)

There is a large movement towards purchasing and investing in eco-friendly household items, but people tend forget that the constructions of houses/buildings is not entirely green. Josh Willis, a construction consultant from Philly, was interviewed for the Sustainable 1000 project.  He discusses the setbacks and progress in the construction business.  Concrete serves as the foundation for construction; stones and cement serve as the foundation of concrete. The problem is cement is not a renewable material and few innovations have taken place to replace it. American construction businesses have attempted to use recycled concrete, but the percentage of such companies is smaller than 25%. Willis disappointedly admitted that in an ideal construction world companies would use 100% recycled material, but they do not because people fear that the quality of such material is incomparable to newer ones. Is this a reflection of our society’s century old mentality that old cannot be renewed or reused for better purpose? Or is this just another capitalist justification used to make people feel less bad about being eco-enemies?
In either case, every progressive part of our society has to move towards making green decisions. European government accepted this fact almost a decade ago; they have implemented laws that require companies to reuse EVERYTHING from the waste of demolished buildings.[1] In fact these laws have generated many think tanks whose sole purpose is to innovate different ways to use recycled material in construction. People always quote the European laws when it comes mandating recycling or innovating recycled materials; the fact is European government is less fearful of its giant corporations compare to the States. Thus, the EU government makes policies that serve to brighten the future of its people and not its corporations. 
Maybe today we will stop giving excuses for being so reckless with our environment and take some responsibilities for the damages we have caused. As for the construction businesses – one can always recycle and reuse with the right percentage of creativity.


[1] To read a detailed version of what the EU government has done read: www.iscowa.org/members/reccon03.pdf
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