Take the same two chandeliers. Make one in a developing country, where most foreign building materials are made, and the other anywhere in the US. Then send them both to Poughkeepsie. Which chandelier do you think will burn more fuel?

But the difference goes beyond shipping. Most factories in developing nations run on dirty power, and even those who have the technology to produce power more cleanly, like China, have not yet made it widespread.

Most coal-fired plants in the developing world convert only 27 to 36 percent of the energy in coal into electricity, and only a handful have the equipment to remove sulfur compounds that cause acid rain.

The US isn’t perfect in this regard, but we have much more stringent regulations and more diverse energy sources, which means that the simple act of producing building materials in the US has a significantly smaller impact on the environment.

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