Alternative building materials for green construction

While the world has come to rely on concrete as one of the main material for building construction, concrete could actually harm the environment more than it is helping. To illustrate, 16% of all fossil fuel consumed every year is used to turn those raw materials into construction products.

In regards to this, here are some several green alternatives for building material which can give a lower impact on the environment:

Straw Bale

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Unlike other recycled materials, straw bale can be used in its raw state -requiring no further processing and is quite affordable.

By utilizing straw bale, the building will naturally provide very high levels of insulation for climate change.

Straw bale is a low impact, low carbon building material that has gained more mainstream acceptance by the public. However, areas with extreme humidity and high rainfall may not be the appropriate choice for straw bale construction.

Grasscrete

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Also known as “Sustainable Urban Drainage”, Grasscrete is a green alternative to standard concrete surfaces for parking lots, driveway and other access roads giving drainage benefits and improving stormwater absorption. Grasscrete is beneficial for businesses and developers because it drains at about the same rate (90%) as would an ordinary lawn in the same location. With 47% concrete and 53% holes filled with grass, it will help to form a natural bio-filter to significantly remove pollutants.

HempCrete

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Made using the woody, balsa-like interior of the Cannabis sativa plant combined with lime and water, HempCrete material provides a natural airtight yet breathable and flexible insulation. HempCrete is also mold free and pest resistant as well as nearly fireproof. Considered as a sustainable building material, hemp can be grown and replenished relatively quick.

 

 

Bamboo

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Underutilized for many years, bamboo has long been used as a traditional building material and is gaining more spotlight due to its potential for eco-friendly purposes in green construction.

Bamboo produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide, which  is very ideal in combating global climate change. Apart from that, Bamboo is easily grown and harvested, making it one of the most cost-effective construction materials to date. Bamboo is also highly sustainable and give san aesthetic appeal in construction for housing.

Recycled Plastic

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Plastics are one of the most energy-efficient materials over their entire life-cycle. The fact being that the typical lifespan of plastic applications in building and construction is up to 30 to 50 years.

 

 

 

 

Wood

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Wood is a historic, classic and durable green building material that has a longevity, aesthetics and flair to buildings for thousands of years.

Using wood as a material in building construction can have significant environmental benefits. Manufacturing wood for construction is less energy intensive than other materials, including concrete, steel, cement or glass production with some percentage of recycled material. The finished product also has lower embodied energy.

 

Rammed Earth

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Because of the potentially low manufacturing impacts, rammed earth has recently become a highlight amongst eco-friendly and sustainable architect for a vernacular green building material for its “Eco Houses”.

Rammed earth provides several advantages such as superior thermal mass, temperature and noise control, strength and durability, low maintenance, fire proofing, load bearing and pest deterrence. In terms of aesthetics, Rammed earth offers a natural and eco-friendly environmental ambience because of its natural color made by aggregated earth substances.

Mycelium

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Mycelium, a concrete which is capable of organic self-healing, reduces the need for high price repairs. It’s an eco-friendly insulation material that outperforms traditional fiberglass. Mycelium will be a major step for biomass green building materials.

 

 

Ferrock

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Ferrock, a carbon-negative cement alternative which offers a stronger and greener alternative to standard cement manufacturing methods helps reduce a significant amount of carbon emission between fuel burning to running cement mixers and chemical processes.

Any structure that is made with Ferrock cement will inevitably be longer-lasting and does not need repairs and replacement. The eco-friendly benefits to this green cement list goes on.

Timbercrete

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A combination between timber waste from various sources and concrete results in what you would call a Timbercrate – a green material that is lighter that solid concrete with greater strength and insulating capabilities.

This green material provides unique thermal qualities that combine thermal mass and insulation usually turned constructed for eco-housing. Timbercrete is also bushfire proof, which allows minimal heat transfer and radiation. The other benefit is that this material is very user-friendly, which can be nailed, screwed and sawn easily by anyone.

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