The Hakka people in the borderland of three Chinese provinces, Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi, have understood sustainability for centuries. They live in Tulou buildings made of rammed earth with virtually no carbon footprint, collecting energy from solar and hydropower and reusing human and animal waste. The Tulou is a masterpiece of Hakka ingenuity and creativity and has become a symbol of Hakka wisdom and culture. UNESCO named 46 representative Tulous as world heritage sites to recognize their architectural, artistic, cultural, social and historic significance. Dr. Liang as a principal investigator of both US NSF Hakka Tulou project and HUD Alaska Tulou residence project will share a story how lessons he learned from centuries old Hakka wisdom in Fujian Yongding can be applied to the construction of a green building in the Anchorage of Alaska. His engineering research in Hakka Tulou was featured by the History Channel - History Made for Tomorrow program (2010).
Dr. Ruifeng Liang is the managing director of a NSF-sponsored composites research center at West Virginia University. A graduate of Tsinghua University, he received his PhD degree in polymer physics from Chinese Academy of Sciences where he was a professor prior to moving to the United States. As a Royal Society visiting fellow, he has worked at the University of Cambridge for four years. Dr. Liang is a 25th generation Hakka descent and the founding president of Shanghang Hakka Association of North America (SHANA). He promotes Hakka heritage thru various programs including a wechat group named as Hakka Institute of North America. He served as guest editor for Sustainability journal special issue "Hakka Tulou and Sustainability: The Greenest Buildings in the World".