Eco Friendly Building Materials for Sustainable LivingDownload Audio Version
Eco friendly building materials help minimize damage to the environment. They pose no risks for human health and allow residents to use non-renewable resources more efficiently.
Advantages for Homeowners
Among the many advantages for residents is that houses which incorporate eco materials require little maintenance and offer better efficiency. They promote sustainable living and reduce the negative impact of production, processing, transportation and storage, of non-renewable resources. Eco-friendly materials are recycled and recyclable and help reduce pollution. This is also true for materials (e.g. certified and recycled wood) that are locally harvested and recycled. Metals and glass can be re-processed and re-manufactured multiple times. Glass is endlessly recyclable, especially bottles and jars. Other materials such as plastics can be re-processed only once. Copper, aluminum, steel, and other metals, on the other hand, are endlessly recyclable.
There are other advantages for homeowners and the environment. One is that they are energy-efficient and help families to save on electricity for heating and cooling. Cooling roofs and solar panels, for example, are made from materials that allow for the optimal use of resources. Eco friendly materials are also durable and increase the useful life of appliances, residential units, and the community itself.
Types of Materials Used
The main difference between traditional and green products is that the former are inefficient and wasteful. The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives that are safe for the environment.
Certified Wood, Uses, and Types
Certified wood comes from a sustainable source, e.g. managed forests. It is used to make paper, furniture, and for building. There are different types of certified wood, including hardwood, red cedar, and others. Unlike them, controlled wood comes from natural forests, tropical forests, and areas that are protected. It is illegally harvested and should be avoided. The use of certified wood has many benefits, and one is environmental protection. Forest management helps stop illegal lodging and protects endangered species and ecosystems. It limits the use of harmful pesticides and helps local economies.
Recycled and Reclaimed Wood
Recycled wood is another option, both for your home and for cabinets and other pieces of furniture around the house. It comes from demolished houses, old barns, and other buildings. You can contact farmers and homeowners in your area and ask whether they have an old barn or another dilapidated building. They will happily give you their old barn if you clean the site. Alternatively, you can ask contractors, excavators, and builders in your area.
Bales of Straw and Energy Efficiency
Straw-bale houses are made from different plant species, including flax, rye, rice, and barley. Crops such as oats, wheat, and bamboo are also used. The main advantage is that walls made of bales of straw have good insulation properties. Straw has a better insulation value than other materials, including wood. The main advantages of straw-bale homes are that they are sustainable and energy-efficient. Experts claim that straw bales are fire-resistant, waterproof, and pest-resistant. On the downside, they are very expensive to build. Plaster and straw are used for the building, and they are inexpensive materials. However, the labor costs are high because specialist skills are required to build an energy-efficient straw-bale house.
Such houses are popular in Mexico, Arizona, and California. They are designed for dry areas and absorb daytime heat.
Earthen Building Materials
Some houses incorporate sand, dirt, and clay – materials that are fireproof and eco-friendly. Rammed earth, cob, ceramic clay are used in different regions. Cob is made into bricks and represents a mix of earth, water, bales of straw, sand, and clay. It is easy to make and is a great choice if you are on a tight budget. Cob can be used to build ovens and even homes and has become popular because it is eco-friendly and sustainable. The major advantages of cob homes are that they are fireproof, termite-proof, strong, and energy-efficient. Given that cob is a mixture of different materials, it is not attractive to animals and insects, including ants and termites. Cob is also strong because it contains bales of straw. While wood houses survive for several decades, cob buildings are strong, durable, and resistant to earthquakes. Many houses have lasted for two or three hundred years. Another advantage is that they are easy to maintain and are built from eco-friendly materials, without using plastic, synthetics, and other materials that contain toxic substances. They are a good choice for people with allergies.
In addition to cob, you can use other earthen materials such as rammed earth and ceramic earth. Rammed earth, for example, is a mix of cement and soil. A small amount of cement is added to soil, and the material is used to build walls. It is strong, durable, and has good thermal properties. Another advantage is that it is easy to make. Other materials used include gravel, lime, and chalk. The main disadvantage is that this is a labor-intensive building method.
Builders also use acrylic panels, ground cover fabrics, insect screens, solexx panels, insulation, and accessories. Insulation serves to protect and winter-proof the walls of the building and is used for structures such as barns, commercial facilities, and homes. It is best to opt for insulation with good thermal properties that is easy to install and prevents mildew and mold growth.
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