6 Eco-Friendly Building Material Options
The global tendency towards environmental consciousness is rightfully growing, and the construction industry isn’t an exception here. Although there are ways to compensate for carbon emissions and the resources that you might use, using green construction materials is perhaps the best way to ensure a truly eco-friendly home. Here are six eco-friendly building materials to suit your construction needs.
This incredibly eco-friendly material and the fast-growing plant has a variety of applications when it comes to building jobs. The gorgeous-looking, readily-available, eco-friendly bamboo is being widely used and shipped all across the globe. Bamboo’s growth potential means that it can be replanted and reforested incredibly quickly, making it the ultimate natural green building material.
Much like bamboo, sheep’s wool is completely eco-friendly and natural, but it also has awesome insulating properties, often much better than many manmade alternatives. Sheep’s wool is generally thicker than glass wool, mineral wool, and cellulose insulation, plus it clearly guzzles much, much less energy during the manufacturing process.
The unique thing about cork lies in the fact that it is harvested from the bark of the tree, meaning that the tree in question isn’t actually cut down for cork-obtaining purposes. Bark regrows in around seven years, which definitely means that it’s environmentally friendly, even though it doesn’t even begin to compare to the regrowth possibilities of bamboo. However, cork is a popular flooring option for a reason – the facts that it offers acoustic insulation, thermal insulation and shock absorption, which isn’t a property shared by many similar building materials.
Structural insulated panels
Structural insulated panels, or SIPs, are made from a layer of foam insulation, sandwiched between plywood pieces, cement panels, or strand board. Essentially, SIPs adhere to an Oreo cookie principle but make no mistake, they are very efficient. It is estimated that the homes that feature structural insulated panels save up to 50% in energy costs when compared to houses built from more conventional materials. Despite the fact that some people consider this construction material aesthetically unseemly and although architects in general aren’t too experienced when it comes to using it, the environmental benefits that SIPs bring to the table, along with the fact that they are fire resistant and usable for floors, basements, foundations and load-bearing walls compensate for those minor drawbacks.
Walls, floors and the ceiling aren’t the only house parts that require proper insulation. Typically, appliances such as fireplaces are pretty demanding in terms of insulation. The solution for this (and other brick-related construction projects) lies in lightweight bricks that surpass any other brick type by a longshot. Alex International for Mining and Refractories (AIMR) has lightweight bricks in their offer that are awesome for insulation (they have a low capacity for shrinkage) but are great in terms of structural strength.
Vacuum insulation panel
This incredibly promising technology provides insulating protection that is manifold better than your traditional insulation product. Although it’s currently only available for specialized container systems and for commercial industrial refrigeration, experts are working on surpassing the VIP’s largest problem – namely, the panel’s surface is so fragile that it has to be encased in a protective covering, at the very least.
According to the NAHB Research Center, the vacuum insulation panel provides seven-fold better insulating protection in a 1-inch panel than the more traditional products.
These six eco-friendly building materials feature insulation panels, special bricks and naturally-renewable building materials that represent the future of green construction. Despite popular belief, they aren’t mind-bogglingly expensive but are very effective and efficient in terms of installation (with the current exception of vacuum insulation panels) and insulation.