What are the most Sustainable Building Materials?

The need for energy conservation as well as the rise of huge gap in demand and supply of building materials has created opportunities for renewable resources to emerge in the construction industry. Being the largest consumers of natural resources, the construction sector cannot be denied, supporting the living aspirations of a growing population but definitely not at the expense of draining nature.

Manufacturing of building materials like Brick, Steel, Cement, etc. harvests huge amount of Carbon Dioxide and greenhouse gases that are perilous in nature. Over the last decade, the environment is experiencing a negative impact including climate change, pollution and health-related problems in living beings. So, achieving sustainable construction practices and using energy-efficient building materials have become the need of the hour. This blog helps you learn on sustainable building materials that are locally available, and environment-friendly.

What are Sustainable Building Materials?

Sustainable building materials are materials that pose general superior performance in terms of four criteria –

  1. Cost
  2. Quality of living environment they offer
  3. Have a minimum impact on the environment rather than pollute
  4. Durability and quality

Consider the following aspects when choosing sustainable building materials for construction.

  1. Building materials that are locally available or manufactured.
  2. Cost of Transportation and Impact on the environment
  3. Thermal efficiency
  4. Needs of the resident and health factors
  5. Financial feasibility
  6. Recyclability of materials if demolished
  7. Waste generated and pollution caused during the manufacturing process
  8. Energy consumption in the manufacturing process
  9. Use of renewable resources
  10. Caron and other gas emissions by the material
  11. Cost of maintenance of the building

Most Sustainable Building Materials

The selection of materials greatly influences several properties related to sustainability. These properties include durability, recyclability, living comfort, weight, embodied energies, chemical emissions, use of wastes generated, lifetime energies and properties of wastes generated. Here is the list of most sustainable building materials that can be used to build an energy-efficient home

Bamboo

Bamboo has been used in ancient times as a building material and is a great alternative to wood. It is a natural cellulose fiber and causes no negative impact on the environment.

  • Due to its durability and versatility, it can be used to houses in earthquake-prone regions.
  • Bamboo is manufactured to produce bamboo products like Bamboo mat corrugated sheet which is a suitable alternative to galvanized steel sheets and asbestos for roofing purposes. Their sheets are fire-resistant, environment-friendly and energy-efficient. The Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute (IPIRTI) has introduced this technique, and have proven beneficial to homes in states.
  • Bamboo is steamed, firmed and attached together to produce flooring panels for household flooring.  

Fly Ash Bricks

Fly ash is a natural by-product of coal combustion and can be converted to sustainable building material. Fly ash bricks require only less energy to manufacture and come in different types.

  • Gypsum Bricks/ Fly ash lime
  • Red Mud Fly ash bricks
  • Sand Fly Ash Bricks
  • Clay Fly Ash Bricks

Due to its lightweight, resistance to sound, better thermal insulation, good strength, and low water absorption, Fly ash bricks is considered one of the sustainable building materials for construction. The environmental benefits of using Fly ash bricks include less or no carbon emissions, avoids throwing of fly ash into the environment and saves topsoil

Lime

Lime is an ideal substitute for cement in construction. Lime is less costly and adds more lifespan to the building when compared to cement.  

Lime is considered a green building material since it absorbs carbon and discharges oxygen into the atmosphere, thereby ensuring good air quality. Based on the mix of aggregate and hydration, lime is produced to mortar, lime concrete, and plaster.

Ferro Cement

Due to its high tensile strength to weight ratio and high cracking behavior, Ferro cement is a great substitute for reinforced concrete.  Ferrocement plated RCC structures pose high ductility and resist earthquakes with the ability to bend up to considerable swing of few centimeters. After this swing, it retains its original position with no damage to the structure when the earthquake is over.

Ferro cement contributes to great savings of material and power since the requirement of cement and steel is low for construction.  Advantages of Ferro cement include High-quality control, easily trained manpower, pre-fabricated products, speedy construction, low maintenance, cost-effective, easy production and installation, and improved structural performance

Eco-friendly tiles

Eco-friendly tiles are good alternatives to conventional flooring systems and are less costly than conventional tiles. These use only less energy for manufacturing and is considered one of the most sustainable building materials for construction.

Eco-friendly tiles can be produced easily in the construction site itself, thereby reducing the transportation cost. They can be installed easily and enhances the performance of the quality of the indoor environment

Using green or sustainable building materials will considerably decrease the use of concrete, wood and similar resources which in turn saves natural resource exploitation, energy, and efficiency of the building. More sustainable materials for construction would be discussed in the next blog

 

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