"Make It Right" Takes Wrong Step in Selection of Sustainable Materials

In the search for cutting edge, sustainable construction techniques, Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation may have taken a wrong step in its selection of materials. The nonprofit is spending $150,000 to replace rotting stairs and decks.

"Actor Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation, which has built 100 energy-efficient new homes in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Lower 9th Ward, is considering legal action against the manufacturer of an innovative glass-infused wood that was used in some of the homes’ outdoor steps and front porches," reports Richard Thompson. "The wood has begun rotting, despite being guaranteed for 40 years, a Make It Right spokeswoman said."

"The situation is a cautionary tale for nonprofit home builders and others interested in using cutting-edge, sustainable construction techniques, several home building and environmental experts said. The risks inherent in using innovative products must be balanced against considerations such as energy costs, the experts said."

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that they will run into some blind alleys like this, where they have to go in and regroup,” said Robert Thomas, director of Loyola University's Center for Environmental Communication. “It’s to be expected, but I applaud them for looking at products that don’t have chemicals that may be dangerous.”

Full Story: Wood product said to be rotting in 'green'-built homes

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