Home renovations or builds are an adventurous endeavor, to say the least. There’s a multitude of options to consider and decisions to make regarding everything from structure to design. Choosing your materials is one of the most important things to consider. You don’t just have to factor in the cost of the materials, but as the world continues to race against Climate Change it’s important to consider the environmental impact of your building materials. To help guide you through the fields of green building, here are the best natural, green building materials.
We’re putting our best foot forward and starting with an extremely sustainable, deceptively strong material that can be used from framing to design. This plant’s fibers are dense with a high tensile strength. What does that mean? It responds well to pressure, bamboo fibers can withstand a lot of tension and bear many a load before it will break, making it perfect for floors or walls, including click-lock flooring for a beautiful, sleek finish. Bamboo grows rapidly and doesn’t add much strain in its manufacturing either.
You read that correctly. Hemp stalks are shredded into fibers, bound together and cast into blocks that make a great building material to replace concrete. Hemp plants are sustainable to grow, maintain, and manufacture leaving a low pollution profile. They don’t require a ton of water for growth and it naturally detoxifies the soil. As a building material is an excellent insulator and helps control moisture, keeping it from seeping into wooden frames.
There are quite a few sub-categories of earth building materials that are sustainable and quality materials. Often a mix of materials like sand, limestone, or straw and water, earthen materials like Adobe or Clod are often natural insulators and work perfectly for a tiny house. You’ll certainly need to check your climate and city’s building codes to make sure this material will work for you, but it’s definitely worth the research.
It’s really only applicable for insulation, but as a natural fiber that lasts as long and works well, sheep’s wool does the trick. Sheep flocks are sheared every season and there’s nothing else to do to cultivate it except keep them happy and healthy.
There’s a reason we’ve continued to use materials like brick, concrete, wood, and steel. They’re durable, beautiful, and stand the test of time. The downside, however, is that harvesting the natural resource into its final form is a drain on the environment. When you’re re-using these materials after they’ve already been produced you get the best of both worlds. Precast concrete, recycled brick and steel or even wood all give you a solid structure that’s going to last for years to come. Recycled brick insulates well, provides a great sound barrier, and has a beauty beyond compare. Using recycled materials also cut down on costs, as the material isn’t being made brand new.
You’ll be making tons of decisions and weighing factors over the cost, aesthetic, and availability. If you’re taking a green initiative these are just some of the materials that can work for you and save the earth and your wallet.