As the world population grows, so does the demand for sustainable development and eco-friendly solutions.
In the construction industry, eco-friendly building materials are becoming increasingly popular as they offer numerous benefits, such as reduced environmental impact, improved indoor air quality, and increased energy efficiency.
These materials are made from natural and renewable resources and are designed to minimize the negative impact on the environment, while also promoting human health and well-being.
Eco-friendly building materials are not only environmentally sustainable, but they also provide economic benefits by reducing operating costs, increasing property values, and improving the overall aesthetic appeal of buildings.
These materials can be used in a wide range of applications, from small residential projects to large-scale commercial buildings, and they offer a range of advantages over traditional building materials.
Some of the most common eco-friendly building materials include bamboo, recycled steel, hempcrete, and low-emitting insulation. Each material has unique properties and benefits that can be customized to fit specific building needs.
By incorporating eco-friendly building materials into construction projects, we can help to create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.
In this article, we will explore some of the most popular eco-friendly building materials and their benefits, as well as provide some tips on how to incorporate these materials into your next building project.
What Is Eco Friendly Building Materials?
Eco-friendly building materials involve using construction materials that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.
Now a day, Eco-friendly building materials is the practice of designing, operating, and constructing a building to,
- Minimize resource use.
- Reduce waste and negative environmental impacts.
- Maximize occupant health and productivity.
- Increase the life cycle of the building.
Today many people are building or constructing their houses by choosing eco-friendly building materials. Eco-friendly building material is one that increases the efficiency of energy used and reduces the impact on human beings and the environment.
In the past, these materials were dismissed for being costly. In modern days, they have become very popular because of their numerous benefits. These benefits range from economic to environmental and social.
Eco-friendly building materials offer specific purposes to the building owner and building occupants which are,
- Reduce maintenance/replacement costs over the life of the building.
- Energy conservation.
- Improved occupant health and productivity.
- Lower costs associated with changing space configurations.
- Greater design flexibility.
This Eco-friendly building material promotes a sustainable environment and will reduce the amount of waste that is generated on land and in water bodies.
Eco-Friendly Building Materials Used in Building Construction
The followings are Eco-friendly building materials used in the construction of Green buildings:
Green concrete was invented to promote sustainability within the environment. Green concrete is made up of recycled and waste materials such as mining wastes, glass waste, mud, sawdust, burnt clay, etc.
This eco-friendly material is low-maintenance and long-lasting. It was designed while keeping in mind the entire construction life cycle including the structural design, parameters, production, and maintenance.
There are no harmful emissions released while using green concrete and it reduces the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is thermal and fire-resistant and has a long-lasting life.
The current market rate of green concrete is at Rs.6500/cubic meter.
2. Plastic Bricks
To tackle the problem of disposal of plastic waste, an innovative concept has been developed where plastic is being reused.
To make plastic bricks, it is mixed with cement aggregates made into the shape of bricks. This has proven to be a spectacular solution for eradicating plastic waste. Plastic material has a higher ratio of tensile strength and weight.
Plastic bricks are also lighter than traditional bricks and have superb noise and heat-insulating properties that are more than 5 times that of normal bricks.
Due to the above numerous properties, it has been used for highways and railway infrastructure and can be used for buildings.
Plastic bricks are available in the market at a rate of Rs.240/1 plastic brick pallet.
Bamboo has been used as a building material for centuries now. It is comparable material to wood and, in recent times, has also been preferred more often due to the scarcity of wood.
Due to its hard-wearing nature and low cost, it is used in the construction industry. Bamboo has rapid regenerative properties.
Bamboo mat corrugated sheets are often used as a substitute for plastic, asbestos, and corrugated metal that is used for roofing purposes.
The bamboo used in roofing sheets are eco-friendly building material and have a high tolerance to extreme weathering conditions.
Now a day, the price of bamboo in India is at Rs.4000/ton (for sun-dried 15% moisture bamboo).
4. Rice Husk Ash Concrete
It is resistant to corrosion and chemicals. Rice husk ash concrete is one of its kind Eco-Friendly building material.
It can be used for both small and large-scale applications as an insulator, on industrial floorings, in bathrooms and swimming pools, etc.
The current market rate of rice husk ash concrete is Rs.2800/cubic meter (minimum) to Rs.3050/cubic meter (maximum).
5. AAC Blocks
AAC blocks also called Autoclaved Aerated Concrete blocks are prepared out from industrial waste materials. They can be made into any size or shape. This material is a perfect example of converting waste materials into usable construction materials.
They are energy efficient, resistant to earthquakes, mold-resistant, fire-resistant, cost-cutting, and have a longer life. They are generally used in the construction of wall partitions, roofing panels, floor panels, etc.
The market price of the AAC block is Rs.2250/cubic meter (minimum) to Rs.3000/cubic meter (maximum).
Timbercrete is an interesting building material made up of sawdust and concrete mixed. Since it is lighter than concrete.
It reduces transportation emissions, and the sawdust both reuses a waste product and replaces some of the energy-intensive components of traditional concrete. Timbercrete can be formed into traditional shapes such as blocks, bricks, and pavers.
The market price of Timbercrete in India is at Rs.14.25/piece of size 23x11x7.5cm. The density of Timbercrete is 694 kg/m3. The compressive strength of Timbercrete is 3.5 N/m2.
7. Straw Bales
Straw bales also have fantastic insulating properties. Straw bales are placed in walls, & ceilings to contribute to cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter.
Straw can be harvested and re-planted easily with minimal environmental impact. The making of straw into bales does not influence the environment.
Straw-bale construction is a sustainable method for building, from the standpoint of both materials and energy needed for heating and cooling.
The market price of straw bales of dry wheat is Rs.4500/ton in India.
Cork is a fast-growing resource. It is harvested from a living tree that will continue to grow and reproduce cork, which is tree bark.
Cork is flexible and resilient, reverting to its original shape after sustaining pressure. Its resilience and resistance to wear make it a common element in floor tiles.
Its noise absorption abilities also make it perfect for insulation sheets, and its shock absorption quality makes it well-suited for sub-flooring.
If left uncoated, cork is naturally fire-resistant and it doesn’t release toxic gases when it does burn. This also makes cork a good thermal insulator.
As per the market rate, the price of the wooden cork sheet is Rs. 650-700 for size 12x12x0.5 inch. The tensile strength of the cork sheet is 15-20 kg/cm2.
9. Sheep’s Wool Insulation
Unlike the commonly used fiberglass insulation or polyurethane spray foam, sheep’s wool is all-natural. This material doesn’t degrade nearly as quickly as other insulation materials & compared with some other insulators like cotton, sheep’s wool is more prevalent, regenerates faster, and can be harvested more easily.
Currently, the market rate of sheep’s wool is Rs.450/kg in India. The rate may be varying depends on the wool, either it may be natural or washed.
10. Reclaimed or Recycled Metal
Aluminum and steel are highly energy-consumed materials due to the energy required to produce them in mining, heating, shaping products, and transporting relatively heavy materials.
But the metal can be properly and efficiently reused or recycled into new products, its embodied energy lowers and makes the material more sustainable and eco-friendly building materials.
Recycled metal is a long-lasting material that does not need frequent replacement. It tends not to burn or warp, making it a viable option for roofing and structural support.
Recycled metals, such as plumbing components, sometimes can be used in their existing forms instead of having to be recycled and manufactured into a new product.
Eco-friendly building materials are also water and pest resistant.
Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Building Materials
By keeping in mind the following benefits and importance, the use of Eco-friendly building materials has become vast in the construction industry:
1) Low Operation and Maintenance Costs
The process of constructing green buildings is known for incorporating unique construction features that ensure the efficient utilization of resources such as energy and water.
These buildings help reduce their energy and water bills. Their cheap operation and maintenance costs have made them cheaper as compared to the other types of buildings.
2) Enhanced Indoor Environment Quality
The health of the building’s occupants can be protected by having improved indoor environmental quality. This is also helpful in improving the quality of life and reducing stress levels. This is mainly done by installing operable windows. Materials that emit dangerous elements should also be avoided.
3) Energy Efficiency
Green buildings are well-designed to reduce over-dependence on non-renewable sources of energy such as coal. For that solar panels are installed to produce energy. The use of artificial lighting is done by designing windows that allow natural light to enter.
4) Better Health
Buildings that are constructed by using eco-friendly building materials are safe as they do not release toxic materials that would ruin your health. The release of toxic materials can lead to breathing difficulties.
5) Water Efficiency
Water resources should be used in a manner that helps save water. This will ensure that there is enough water even for future generations. Some of the alternative water sources used in green buildings include rainwater and recycled water.
6) Better Environment
This is achieved by reducing the sources of energy that pollute your environment. You can keep the environment clean by constructing the building using eco-friendly building materials. Also, the impact on climate can be minimized by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Why Use Eco-Friendly Building Materials?
The followings are the criteria for eco-friendly building materials that promote it to become more popular than conventional materials:
1) Resource Efficiency
- Recycled content
- Natural, plentiful or renewable
- Resource-efficient manufacturing process
- Locally available
- Salvaged or remanufactured
2) Indoor Air Quality
- Low or non-toxic
- Minimum chemical emissions
- Moisture resistant
- Healthfully maintained
- Improve IAQ (Indoor Air Quality)
3) Energy Efficiency
- Materials, components, and systems that help to reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities.
- Affordability can be considered when building product life-cycle costs are comparable to conventional materials or as a whole, are within a project-defined percentage of the overall budget.
What are eco-friendly building materials?
Eco-friendly building materials are sustainable alternatives that have a reduced impact on the environment throughout their lifecycle. They are typically made from renewable resources, recycled materials, or have low carbon emissions.
What are some examples of eco-friendly building materials?
Examples of eco-friendly building materials include bamboo, reclaimed wood, recycled metal, recycled plastic, cork, natural clay, rammed earth, straw bales, and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints.
Are eco-friendly building materials more expensive?
While some eco-friendly building materials may initially have a higher upfront cost, they can lead to long-term cost savings through improved energy efficiency, reduced maintenance, and potential incentives or certifications promoting sustainable construction practices.
Are there certifications for eco-friendly building materials?
Yes, several certifications and labels exist to identify and verify the sustainability of building materials. Examples include LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Green Globes, Cradle to Cradle, and Energy Star.
You May Also Like:
- Types of Building Materials and Their Applications
- Construction and Building Material Market Price
- Fire Resistant Materials Used in Construction
- Best Types Of Roof Insulation Materials to Keep Your Home Energy Efficient
- Shipping Container Homes: Affordable, Durable, and Eco-Friendly
- Roof Top Rainwater Harvesting: An Eco-Friendly Solution for Water Scarcity