An Environmentally Friendly Home Building Expo

Linda Darphin of Ocean Springs and her family are ready for a fresh start.

"Well Katrina happened to our house," says Darphin. "We had to demolish it a few months back, and we're starting from scratch."

She's considering a fresh approach in how to rebuild.

"We would like to build in a way that's environmentally friendly, and that's also cost effective," says Darphin.

A wide variety of materials and modular systems that stress energy efficiency and strength are showcased at the Green Building Expo.

One option you won't find here is wood, a material ecological designers and architects refer to as sticks.

"Would you want a stick built car," asks Michael Burk, a Mississippi State University Professor of Architecture and ecological design expert. "Would you want a stick built boat? I mean it sounds like a silly question I'm asking, but frankly, that's the reality. We can make a much better building."

Buildings these experts say are better suited to stand up to the next hurricane.

"Katrina, as much as a catastrophe as it was, has provided our state with the opportunity to change the equation of the future," says Judy Phillips with the John C. Stennis Institute of Government. Penny Pennell of Gulfport is rebuilding with American Non Flammable Homes, a company that promises incredible things.

"To last for 300 years, and to save 80 percent or more on our utilities," says Pennell.

James Rowe of Ocean Springs likes the promise of building green.

"I like the novel approaches. The combinations of the insulation and structural strength and quicker construction," says Rowe.

And speed of construction, these proponents say, may be the most important factor to consider.

"There is no way you are going to stick build this place in the next 5, 10, or 20 years," says Burk.

The Green Building Expo was sponsored by the Sierra Club, the Healthy Building Network, and the Mississippi Renewal Coalition and Gulf Restoration Network.