You might find it surprising that even building a house can potentially harm the environment – well that holds true if you’re wasting a lot of resources.
We’re not only talking about cutting down several trees for wood. A majority of construction wastes end up in landfill sites, and this causes environmental problems including waste of natural resources, air and water pollution, and reduction of soil quality. Additionally, commercial concrete production contributes to environmental pollution by releasing tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Fortunately, green manufacturers and new home builders are becoming more aware, offering solutions to these worldwide environmental crises.
Numerous eco-friendly, cutting-edge construction materials, which are alternative to concrete and raw materials, have emerged in the marketplace. You may opt for sustainable and waste-free construction materials, from fast-growing natural resource to recycled building materials from waste products.
If you want to create a sturdy home with aesthetic appeal while diminishing your impact on the environment, here are 8 most sustainable building materials you may consider.
Sustainability experts universally agree that bamboo is one of the best renewable building materials in the planet. They are fast-growing resources, with some species growing up to three feet in just 24 hours.
And in terms of home building, you can rely on bamboo’s high strength to weight ratio and impressive durability that’s comparable to steel. Bamboo is also twice the compression ratio of concrete. They may be hollow and lightweight, but they can withstand earthquakes and hurricanes.
Architects and new home builders love using this majestic material for walls, flooring, and cabinetry.
Cork is another fast-growing resource One plus point is you don’t need to kill a plant to produce them: They can be harvested from a living tree that will continue to reproduce cork.
Cork has a wide range of benefits. Firstly, they’re resilient and resistant to wear – a reason why many consumers turn to recycled cork flooring and paneling. Secondly, they have noise absorption properties, making them well-suited for insulation sheets. Thirdly, they have shock absorption abilities that make a good sub-flooring. Lastly, when uncoated, cork is fire resistant. If they do burn, they don’t release toxic gases.
Straw is a byproduct of manufacturing grain, which often would be burned otherwise. It can be easily harvested and replanted with minimal environmental impact. If kept dry, it can last for thousands of years.
Bundles of straw, known as “straw bales”, bond well with plaster and stucco walls. When sealed properly, they provide good insulating abilities. When placed in walls, attics, and ceilings, straw bales contribute to cooler temperatures in hotter months and warmer temperatures in the colder months.
Reclaimed or recycled metal
Aluminum and steel take a lot of energy to produce, from mining the ore, casting products, and transporting the heavy material. Instead of extracting raw products, go for recycled metals, which save 75% of the energy costs.
Reclaimed ones are green materials since they utilize steel that’s already in existence for construction use. They are extremely durable and long-lasting too, making them a viable option for roofing, beams and structural supports, and building façades.
Reclaimed or recycled wood
Nothing screams “in touch with nature” better than wood – but make sure you’re not cutting another tree from a non-sustainable forest or using a newly-harvested timber.
Use reclaimed wood instead. It can be utilized for various building purposes, including flooring, wall paneling, structural framing, exposed beams, siding and cabinetry, and furniture and décor. You can never go wrong with reclaimed and recycled wood if you’re thinking of a rustic design for your home.
Precast concrete slabs
Precast concrete is an eco-friendlier choice than concrete poured on site. The slabs take much less energy to produce and assemble. Additionally, precasting concrete gives the opportunity to cure the material properly in a controlled environment rather than potentially exposing it to hostile conditions while curing it at a construction site.
Rammed earth has been used by human civilization for centuries. It’s not only long-lasting – when pressed tightly in wooden forms, it can create walls with a similar feel to concrete. Rammed earth building projects today can be fortified by bamboo or rebar for increased safety.
The only downside is you might have a hard time finding new home builders or specialized craftsmen who know how to build with dirt.
Plastic waste is one of the leading threats to our environment. Thanks to innovative engineers and cutting-edge technologies, recycled plastic is now emerging as a top eco-friendly construction material.
Researchers are producing concrete or building blocks made from ground-up trash and recycled plastics. Not only does this provide a new use for plastic waste that would otherwise clog the oceans and landfills – but this practice also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve your home’s thermal and sound insulating capabilities.
Mother nature is begging us: Choose building materials that minimize environmental impact and promote sustainable energy. Sustainability isn’t just a trend – it’s a social responsibility.
Author Bio: Mina Corpuz is a resident writer for Wincrest Home Builders, one of NSW’s most experienced and well-renowned home builders aiming at building and designing modern family homes in Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast, and the Hunter. She loves writing articles focused on real estate and interior design.