Our planet is precious, as it has been our home for centuries. Our ancestors have worked hard to create the present that we are living in. It’s our responsibility now to make smart choices to create a better future. It is not enough to just create beautiful buildings to design beautiful cities. We need to select sustainable materials. Always keep in mind that the little steps that we take towards the right direction make the biggest difference.
You can do your part by choosing sustainable building materials for your home, whether you are building a new house or remodelling. For a better world, there are new processes, as well as greener alternatives to traditional building materials, which you can utilise today when you are building. Having sustainable products in place for building purposes not only helps in conserving, but it also has the potential to significantly contribute to saving our environment.
There is a huge opportunity to make improvements in materials used in construction, introduce circular design principles to ensure these materials are repurposed appropriately, and more ambitiously build buildings that positively contribute to climate and biodiversity. In some cases, buying recycled materials also reduces costs and enhances the building’s aesthetics and function. Using recycled materials, for instance, will always have less impact on the environment than using new materials.
Mining, heating, and moulding products made of aluminium and steel require significant amounts of energy, but reusing them or recycling them properly and effectively in new products reduces the use of energy. It makes the materials more sustainable, and recycled metals are durable and require little frequent replacement. Using light gauge steel framing is one way to do it. As taller buildings need a solid structure, consider steel frame solutions that can meet your requirements efficiently.
On the sustainability front, mass wood serves as a viable alternative to conventional building materials that have a higher carbon footprint. Building with mass wood is more efficient and waste-free; it can cut down on-site waste and use timber that would otherwise have been discarded.
Compared with steel and concrete, the elements components that were created over time longer than human history, wood is a much more sustainable, easily available construction material. The sources of materials for steel and concrete are finite, while wood is infinitely renewable.
A home made from timber might be relatively inexpensive to construct. Still, you have to take into account the constant costs of things like paint, and a timber building’s overall life is significantly shorter than that of a brick or cement structure. Of course, the material itself is renewable over the life of a building.
Straw bales are used to build the walls of a house inside of the frame, replacing other construction materials like cement, wood, plaster, fibreglass, or stone. Straw-bale construction is a sustainable building method from the source material through energy efficiency.
Used to construct frames and shelters, straw bales can substitute for costly, heavy imported materials, providing an alternative to cement and steel-rebar structures. It is particularly beneficial for hard-to-reach areas after natural disasters and the low-income regions where natural, locally-sourced straw is available. Bamboo’s combination of low weight, strength, and renewable nature make it a perfect substitute for expensive imported materials and an alternative to rebar and concrete construction, especially in areas with easy access to locally-sourced bamboo.
Bamboo is also biodegradable and a sustainable material, as bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth. It is also extremely flexible, which allows builders to use it both for structural and decorative purposes. Used for everything from whole houses to smaller buildings, buildings with bamboo have made their way across North America.
A more well-known trend for sustainable building materials is that of bamboo, used mostly for flooring but also in wall coverings and countertops. Strand-woven bamboo is priced lower than other floor choices, a bonus during times of high inflation.
Sheepswool is also a sustainable alternative to conventional insulation materials. It is a relatively new material, which uses recycled materials like steel powders from the steel industry, or iron and rock scraps that are left over from industrial processes, typically sent to the landfill. Sheepswool is capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, making it a biodegradable, compostable alternative to household insulation, styrofoam, or even cement.
Another good option is concrete. It is a natural material which is recyclable, making it a suitable option for environmentally-friendly homes. Concrete is the most commonly used construction material in the world, but it is also an enormous source of carbon, accounting for as much as 8% of the global carbon emissions caused by humans.
In addition to its application to domestic construction, recycled or salvaged timber is an ideal material for natural-looking floors or exposed timber. Bamboo is a perfect building material as it can be used behind-the-scenes-under other kinds of flooring, for instance, and as a screen for walls and flooring.
In a nutshell, eco-friendly building materials minimise the impact on the environment, and they can improve insulation & energy efficiency and reduce dependence on non-sustainable resources such as oil and gas.