Environmentalism, which is commonly known as the Green Movement, has been around for nearly a century and encompasses everything from efficiency to recycling. With the current energy crisis, sustainability is becoming a priority for many home owners. In today’s blog post we wanted to highlight five sustainable building materials that are available as part of the many exciting innovations in the construction industry.
Here are five sustainable building materials you should consider for your next construction project:
1. Wool Bricks: Developed by Spanish and Scottish researchers these sustainable, non-toxic bricks combine wool along with a natural polymer found in seaweed to the clay of the brick to produce a product that is 37% stronger than ordinary bricks. They are more resistant to the cold, wet climates and also dry hard, reducing the need to be fired like traditional bricks.
2. Solar Tiles: Traditional roofing tiles are typically mined from the ground or set from concrete or clay using energy-intensive methods. Once installed, they exist to simply protect a building from the elements despite the fact that they spend a large portion of the day absorbing energy from the sun. With this in mind, many companies are now developing solar tiles. Unlike most solar panel units, which are usually fixed on top of existing roofing, solar tiles are fully integrated into the building’s decor, protecting it from the weather while generating power for its inhabitants.
3. Sustainable Concrete: According to WorldChanging.com, concrete is responsible for nearly 10% of global CO2 emissions. But that being, more sustainable forms of concrete exist that use recycled materials in the mix. Crushed glass can be added, as can wood chips or slag – a byproduct of steel manufacturing. Although these changes aren’t radically transforming concrete, by simply using a material that would have otherwise gone to waste, the CO2 emissions associated with concrete are reduced.
4. Paper Insulation: Made from recycled newspapers, cardboard and other waste paper, paper-based insulation is a superior alternative to chemical foams or fiberglass insulation. Both insect resistant and fire-retardant due to the inclusion of borax, boric acid, and calcium carbonate – all completely natural materials that have no associations with health problems – paper insulation can be blown directly into walls, filling every crack and crevice to create a nearly draft-free environment.
5. Triple-Glazed Windows: These super-efficient windows, which feature three layers of glass and fully insulated window frames, do a better job of stopping heat from escaping. In most double-glazed windows, argon gas is injected between each layer of glass to aid with insulation, but in these triple-glazed windows, krypton – a better, but more expensive insulator – is substituted for argon. In addition to this, low-emissivity coatings are applied to the glass, further preventing heat from escaping.
If you are considering a remodel in the near future and sustainability is something that’s important to you, any and all of these materials will help to create a more eco-friendly, sustainable building. Contact us today to set up a free estimate. During this initial appointment we can discuss all the options available to you and determine the best fit for you for next project!