12 Sustainable Building Materials For Your Home

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Many people have become more conscious of the impact of their daily activities due to increased climate change awareness. As a result, they are making informed purchasing decisions. Whether building a new property or revamping an old one, selecting more environmentally friendly build materials can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Here are twelve sustainable build materials for your home.

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1. Reclaimed wood 

Reclaimed wood is the most often utilized form of building material. It is visually appealing, simple to use, and brings nature within. Reclaimed or repurposed wood has a far lower environmental effect than fresh timber harvesting. Yet, if you purchase fresh wood, you must acquire it from a sustainably farmed forest. Apart from being used in home construction, it is also a fantastic material for natural-looking flooring or exposed beams. Unsurprisingly, it’s become among the most popular materials in eco-friendly construction.

2. Rammed earth 

Rammed earth is a natural soil-based construction material. It is an excellent choice for sustainable building since it is manufactured from readily available local raw materials and can be erected with no or little waste. You can use this material as thermal storage, absorbing heat from the sun throughout the day and releasing it during chilly evenings. Moist clay and sand are mixed and placed in formwork to make rammed earth, after which hand or power instruments can push the mixture into a mold. Because power equipment requires a lot of electricity to operate, hand-pumping is generally preferred for sustainability. After the earth has been compressed by hand or machine in the mold, it can dry for a few months before being used as a construction material.

3. Precast concrete 

Concrete is frequently the preferred choice when a stronger material is required to construct the exterior walls of a structure. Although prefabrication has recently grown more popular to decrease the energy necessary to make it, a recent study showed that it had been around for almost two centuries. The slab is manufactured at a factory and delivered to the building site rather than poured on-site. This prefabrication is mainly found in large-scale public construction such as sewers, highways, bridges, industrial structures, hotels, and large-scale apartment projects.

Alternatively, the concrete formwork system is also a sustainable material when building a home. It is highly customizable and can be tailored to fit the project’s needs, making it highly cost-effective and efficient.

4. Bamboo

Trees like pine, oak, and maple take years, if not decades, to grow back to the stage where they can be cut for wood again. However, bamboo is stronger and more flexible and grows far quicker. The Guinness Book of World Records mentioned it is the fastest-growing plant in the world. Likewise, bamboo is extremely renewable since the plant regenerates spontaneously and may give up to 20 times more lumber than other trees grown under the same conditions. The weed also requires little water and fertilizer and may flourish in low-nutrient soil. Given the continuous interest in bamboo, it is expected to be a key sustainable material in the construction industry soon. 

5. Cob 

Suppose you’ve ever wondered what organic-looking homes are composed of. In that case, they are made of cob, a mixture of soil, water, fibrous vegetative matter (usually longer straw), and, in certain circumstances, lime. According to research, the oldest documented cob construction dates back over 10,000 years. The housing crisis, along with climate change, means that cob is one of the materials that is progressively making a comeback. Aside from being ecologically beneficial, cob is an all-natural substance that is easy to work with, and its roughness allows you to make any design you can think of. It acts like organic insulation and is extremely energy efficient. 

6. Paperstone countertops 

Paperstone countertops are one of the most environmentally friendly building materials available. Paperstone is produced from reused paper and cement, making it a good choice for anyone trying to lessen their carbon impact. It has been widely used in buildings for years, but architects only lately recognized its value as a construction material. Although the first contemporary paper stone structure was erected in France in 1866, it was not before the end of the 1960s that the material gained popularity among builders and architects across Europe and North America.

7. Soy-based spray foam insulation

Insulation made from spray foam is considered one of the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly construction materials. It’s also considered one of the most adaptable, as you can put them in nearly any portion of the house, from the basement to external walls and attics. Spray foam insulation has the advantage of adhering closely to almost any material. Polyurethane is the most prevalent form of spray foam insulation. However, some manufacturers use a tiny amount of soy-based filler, around 10%, to reduce CO2 emissions and the foam’s environmental “footprint.”

8. Recycled steel 

Recycled steel is a great sustainable building material. It’s constructed from recycled vehicle components, which are a sustainable resource. This building material is also durable. Another advantage of reused steel is that it is lightweight, making it easier to assemble your building components. You will not be concerned with cutting or shaping the metal because it’s already shaped to work well for building tasks. While recycled steel is inexpensive, aluminum can be a good alternative since it is more durable and highly weather-resistant than composite and wood. You can check out brands like Clear Amber Shop for aluminum decking if you are on a tight budget and need a decent option.

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9. Cork 

The outer layer of the bark of cork oaks is used to make cork tiles. Hand-harvested bark is compacted into sheets that may be cut to size. The material is sturdy and waterproof, making it ideal for wet-area flooring in kitchens and bathrooms. Cork tiles are also available in various colors, allowing you to get what you want in your house. Cork is not only a sustainable building material but is also good for the environment, as cork trees flourish, are easy to gather, and require little fertilizer or moisture to thrive. Trees can be transplanted or used as fuel after producing cork.

10.Straw bales 

Straw bales offer excellent insulating characteristics. Straw bales, like wool, are commonly used to maintain temperature stability in walls, attics, and ceilings. Straw may be gathered and replanted as a renewable material with little environmental impact. It is usually obtained from farmers who torch off their straw post-harvest. Rather than releasing the straw’s embedded carbon back into the environment when it is destroyed, contributing to increased greenhouse gas emissions, reusing this waste product into the condensed ceiling and wall panels guarantees that it preserves its carbon content in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

11.Ashcrete 

Ashcrete is a green concrete alternative that employs fly ash instead of standard cement and comprises about 97% recycled resources. Then there’s fly ash, made up of borate, an element from the chlorine family, and bottom ash. Aside from the fly ash being inexpensive, Ashcrete often has fewer pores, resulting in greater strength, nearly double that of Portland cement. Ashcrete can be the perfect alternative to traditional concrete and those non-green materials. It’s popularly known as a revolution in construction.

12. Hemp 

Hemp is another great material for creating environmentally friendly homes since it is low on resources and gives strength and durability. Water, lime, and the woody center of hemp stalks make hempcrete. The lime works as a binder, and the woody core gives insulating properties akin to straw bale structure but with less weight. It’s additionally fireproof, mold-resistant, and boasts an R-value of 2-3, which means it maintains its temperature effectively and prevents heat from escaping through walls or roofs.

Sustainability has been a major focus for builders and architects alike as environmental awareness has grown over the previous few decades. Those planning on building a new house, dwelling, or business structure are searching for materials that will lessen the negative effects of construction on the world’s ecosystems now more than ever.

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