As we become more aware of our impact on the environment, people are increasingly coming up with ways to reduce our carbon footprints. One thing construction and building companies are doing is incorporating green building materials into construction. Worldwide, more than three billion tons of raw materials are used each year for building and construction purposes. Green building materials offer many benefits such as energy conservation, lower operating costs, reduced maintenance, and improved health.
What Are Green Building Materials?
Green building materials are those that are made with renewable as opposed to nonrenewable resources. Materials made from renewable resources have less of an impact on the environment. There are certain criteria that materials must meet to be considered green. Building materials are considered green based on efficiency, air quality, conservation, and affordability.
Green Building Materials
Bamboo is increasingly being used for flooring. It only takes about three years to mature whereas trees commonly used for hardwood flooring can take fifty to one hundred years to mature. This makes bamboo a much more environmentally sustainable choice.
Cork is a commonly used green flooring material. Cork is actually harvested from tree bark, keeping trees from having to be cut down. Tree bark takes approximately three years to regrow. Cork is also a good building material because it is anti-microbial and hypoallergenic.
Cotton can be used as insulation. Cotton insulation is made from recycled materials such as denim. It is more environmentally friendly than traditional insulation options because it does not contain fiberglass.
Hemp can also be used for insulation and is naturally resistant to pests. Insulation is made from hemp fibers and is installed in panels.
Cellulose insulation is a natural material that is made from recycled paper products. Cellulose insulation is comprised of at least 75% recycled materials.
Fly Ash Concrete
Fly ash is a residue that is produced in power plants that use coal. Fly ash is being used for making cement as it creates a high quality product while decreasing costs.
Straw bales can be used in building as either soft insulation or a main structural component. They are made hard and packed closely in order to withstand impact and load. Interestingly, straw bale homes are more fire resistant than traditional style homes.
Earthen rocks have a high degree of thermal mass meaning they are good for insulation. The rocks are natural unlike other insulation materials that are often harmful. This type of insulation is best suited for desert climates.
Green building materials are becoming more widely available as people take a greater interest in sustainability. New eco-friendly materials are continually being created and are increasingly being used to construct green buildings. For more information on green building materials, see the pages listed below.
- Environmental Benefits of Green Building
- Sustainable Building - Green Building Materials
- Green Building Basic Information
- The Benefits of Green Buildings on the Environment
- US Green Building Council - Benefits of Green Building
- The Importance of Green Building
- Benefits of Green Buildings
- Green Building Design
- Green Buildings and Energy Star
- Green Home Remodel Guides