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Community Rebuilds and the Living Building Challenge: Engaging Students in Housing Projects to Reduce Carbon Emissions

Authors: Bryan Dorsey*, Weber State University
Topics: Planning Geography, Land Use, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: community, planning, environmental design, green building, carbon emissions
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Developments in green building programs show a blending of old and new technologies aimed at reducing overall carbon emissions. One such program that has garnered tremendous success is the Community Rebuilds (CR) program in Moab, Utah. Subsidized by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, CR has been assisting qualifying individuals and families to construct affordable housing focused primarily on straw bale building methods. While some municipal and county planning agencies are still unfamiliar with straw bale building and its many benefits, much progress has been made to assist those seeking to utilize this green building method with the passage of International Residential Code. Exceeding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the current CR project involves construction of the first Zero Energy certified homes in the state as part of the international Living Building Challenge program. CR has an internship and volunteer program that encourages engaged learning for students in geography and cognate disciplines to learn about the many aspects of building a net-zero, straw bale home as a means of reducing carbon emissions.

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