Good news for the eco-warriors of the world! If you don’t already know, green building has already become a global trend, according to World Green Building Trends in 2018.
This means that consumer demand for green architecture and the use of sustainable materials have reached the point where it is now fast becoming a major consideration for designers and contractors.
What’s even better news is that this trend is expected to get even bigger in the next few years. This means that along with the typical building materials such as concrete and high-quality metal roofing, you can now easily incorporate green architecture with them when building a home. This fusion between conventional building materials and sustainable ones will surely change the home construction scene.
Here are some eco-friendly materials designers and builders can consider:
- Straw Bale
While concrete and wood are great and strong building materials, straw bales can be incorporated in modern-day home-building by placing them inside frames to create a house’s walls. If properly sealed, straw bale walls provide outstanding insulation for both hot and cold weather.
Bamboo may seem like just a trendy home building material depending on your location but it has been used in different parts of the world especially where it can be sourced locally. It is lightweight, strong, and highly renewable due to its fast-growing nature. It can be used to frame buildings as a highly-effective alternative to rebars and concrete.
- Rammed Earth
Rammed earth is one of the oldest architectural methods used by man. It has been used for thousands of years and can last years and years and years. The technology can now be reinforced with rebars or bamboo to make it a lot safer for occupants.
Hempcrete is exactly what you think it is. It is an innovative building material made from the hemp plant’s inner woody fibers and bound with lime to create a concrete-like effect that is strong yet lightweight. One of the best things about it is, just like bamboo, the plant replenishes fast making it a readily-available renewable resource.
- Wool Insulation
Just like fiberglass insulation, sheep wool insulation can be bought in rolls and batts. But its advantage over fiberglass insulation is it has a greater insulating factor (at least by 10%) and can absorb, release, or retain moisture without losing its thermal qualities. Simply put, it keeps you cooler during summertime and warmer in wintertime.
Grasscretes aren’t exactly a new concept. It has been around for quite some time now and has been mostly laid out for outdoor use in gardens, patios, and walkways. This doesn’t just keep the amount of concrete used at a minimum but the grass that grows inside its open patterns makes for an effective stormwater absorber.
- Solar Tiles
Although not exactly biological in nature, solar tiles are a great green building material that builders and designers use. They allow homes to harvest solar power from the sun and convert them into renewable energy that can be used around the house. It brings down a household’s energy consumption and utility costs and is long-lasting.
- Recycled Plastic
One of the most brilliant innovations that man has ever come up with is the reuse of landfill-clogging plastic materials into a highly sustainable building material. Recycled plastic that is reused as concrete is lightweight and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Shipping Containers
Another non-natural material, recycling shipping containers into livable spaces helps lessen metal waste disposal as most shipping containers can only be used for about 20 years. With millions of inexpensive yet high-quality containers lying around in shipyards and dumpsters, designers have found an environmentally-friendly way to reuse them and provide inexpensive means for people to own homes.
Wood remains one of the most reliable and renewable building materials. Its production requires less energy which means fewer greenhouse emissions. If proper forest management is implemented worldwide, it ensures a higher rate of the material’s renewability and gives us cleaner air as trees absorb CO2 as they grow bigger.
- Smart Glass
One of the wonders of modern technology, smart glass allows a structure to easily change light transmission properties. For instance, the glass becomes translucent during warmer months to keep out excessive heat caused by the summer sun. During winter, it lets as much natural daylight and heat in by becoming completely transparent. This saves property and homeowners hundreds — some even thousands — of dollars in savings annually as it reduces heating and cooling consumption.
Responsible homeowners, designers, and builders will always take the environment into consideration when building a home. Hopefully, as the green building trend continues to make waves across the world, we will also clearly see major improvements in our environment.