After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on the planet (say what?). Here’s another crazy fact: concrete is responsible for up to 8 percent of global carbon emissions. That means that if it were a country, it would be the world’s worst culprit after the US and China. The good news is that more and more sustainable alternatives are emerging on the horizon. One such example is the growing trend of using timber as a primary material for construction. At first, wood might seem like a bad idea for a primary construction material because it absorbs moisture from the air and is susceptible to rot and pests, not to mention fire. Treating timber and combining it with other materials, however, can improve its properties and even make it more versatile and faster to work with than concrete or steel. Other solutions include making concrete less of a carbon-intensive material by using less cement, which is the most carbon polluting ingredient in concrete. Some innovative ways of achieving this include adding vegetable particles which can strengthen concrete while reducing the volume of cement required.