Building materials are about twice as expensive in Haiti as in the U.S., so the post-earthquake reconstruction effort is proving unaffordable for the poverty-stricken nation. Now U.S. researchers are trying to reduce the cost and the carbon footprint of the construction work by encouraging the use of local sustainable materials such as bamboo, straw, clay and rubble. Other green-building technologies, such as rainwater-capture systems, are also well-suited to the Haitian context, experts say.

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