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Which is more important in green construction: materials or tech?

Green Technology

Drawing the line between green materials and green technology can be difficult -- after all, those construction goods are all the product of technological development. Nevertheless, we can use the term "green technology" to refer to advanced implementations of eco-friendly design that are more complex than recycled materials. Active solar power is the perfect example. Active solar uses panels to harvest the sun's rays and convert them into energy that can be used to power an HVAC system.

Cutting-edge green technologies don't have the same widespread support as green materials. Some simply aren't on the market yet, while others present prohibitively expensive up-front costs. Nevertheless, new technologies are constantly being developed. Electrochromic smart glass is a green technology we may see in buildings within a few years. The glass uses a tiny jolt of electricity to trigger a tinting response, darkening a window on command to reflect the majority of light that would normally pass through it. These windows are expected to save as much as 25 percent on annual HVAC energy costs [source: Tested].

Of course not all of the green technology advancements are in construction. Some of today's most amazing green technology is already driving around on the road: Hybrid and electric cars like the Prius and the Tesla Roadster lessen the environmental impact of transportation. The Tesla Model S can drive 300 miles (482.8 kilometers) on a charge and emits zero waste because it's completely electric powered [source: Tesla]. Gas cars still own the roads, but it's only a matter of time until green technologies like electric power make a dent in the market, and who knows, these hybrid cars may perhaps influence what happens in the construction industry, as well.