The Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Traditional Building Materials

In the recent years, green building has risen into popularity with new homeowners looking for new ways to potentially lower energy costs and thus, limit impact on the environment. To meet this increasing demand, home builders and interior designers have found a better option in employing the use of alternative building materials in construction.

Today, the use of sustainable building materials is on the rise. Some of these are made out of natural materials while others are designed to use resources in the most efficient manner. Regardless of the objective, there are many reasons why contractors and homeowners should switch to green building.

 

Why Invest in Sustainable Building Materials?

Energy conservation has significantly become a top priority amongst the world population. In fact, a 2016 World Green Building Trends report by Dodge Data and Analytics, green building is officially a global trend – a shift that is driven by consumer demands. It is even expected to significantly increase in the coming years.

Although green building is more than the materials you use, your decision on which ones to use still matters. In this article, we list some of the green options that make a better alternative to the traditional materials.

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is a highly sustainable building material that is distinguished by its unrivalled tensile strength, durability and lightweight properties. Its aesthetic resemblance to wood makes it a cost-effective alternative to traditional hardwood and a green material for tiles, ceilings, privacy screens and more.

2. Wood

Wood retains its title as a historic and classic sustainable material that adds a timeless flair to buildings. Building with wood offers significant benefits as processing them into lumbers require less intensive methods in comparison with other industrial building products such as concrete, glass and steel.

3. Reclaimed Wood

Building with reclaimed wood is a responsible way to lower the amount of materials being dumped to landfills and prevent the need to cut down more trees in the process. But, probably what home builders and interior designers are after most is the depth and exquisite character only old wood can provide.

4. Cork

The renewability, versatility, near-impenetrability and fire resistant qualities of cork make it a suitable material for flooring, insulation, acoustic wall covering and more. Harvesting it doesn’t require cutting the tree. In fact, each cork tree can be stripped off of its bark up to 20 times in its entire life.

5. Mycelium

Mycelium is a mushroom-based material that is tested to be stronger than concrete, lighter than bricks and more insulated than fiberglass. What’s more, being made of fungi, it has the ability to self-heal meaning it can reduce the need for costly repairs. It’s also entirely organic and compostable.

Did You Know? Mycelium thrives underground and without light, meaning it doesn’t require external energy resource to grow.

6. Ferrock

Ferrock is another cement alternative that is made of recycled steel dust or ferrous rocks from the steel industry. It offers a greener alternative to the traditional cement manufacturing process as it absorbs carbon dioxide while it hardens and dries. Further, any structure made with Ferrock is proven to last longer, barely requiring repair and replacement.

7. Timbercrete®

Timbercrete® is an eco-friendly product made up of timber waste from several sources and concrete. The result is a material that is lighter than a solid concrete but with higher thermal insulating properties and unmatched strength. It is also user-friendly as it can be easily nailed, screwed or sawn like a regular timber and can be made to appear like sandstone, mud brick or cobblestone.

8. Wool Bricks

Wool brick is a zero-carbon product that is developed by researchers in Spain and Scotland who have added wool fibers and alginate (a natural polymer from seaweeds) to the clay of the brick. The result is a sustainable, non-toxic brick that is 37% stronger than a traditional brick.

9. Recycled Plastic

Instead of producing new materials, researches are creating lightweight concrete, tiles, insulation, lumber and more out of recycled plastics and trash. Building with recycled plastics helps lower the construction costs and provides a new use for plastic wastes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

10. Shipping Containers

Building houses out of shipping containers is probably the epitome of the sustainable and modern building. It makes use of the reclaimed materials that otherwise would be left to rust at the point they are retired. They can be modified into sustainable and durable houses and into endless design possibilities.

The Best Sustainable Material for You

Like anything you would decide on, you should do a careful research on which sustainable materials to use for your home. Learning more about these alternatives will lead you to the options that will be most suitable for your lifestyle and preferences as well.

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