Eco-Friendly Building Materials

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Building Materials & Applications

Eco-Friendly Building Materials as its name indicates the building materials are friendly or do not harm the environment or ecosystem. The buildings constructed by using conventional and ordinary materials have a substantial impact on the health of people and the planet.

During construction, they use resources, generate waste, and emit toxic & greenhouse gases throughout their life cycle. This is an effect causing serious damage to the environment. To minimize damage to our clean environment we must practice Eco-friendly Building Materials for construction that reduce the bad effects on it.

What Is Eco-Friendly Building Materials?

Eco-friendly building materials involves 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.

Read More: Types of Building Materials and Their Applications

Eco-Friendly Building Materials used in Building Construction

The followings are Eco-friendly building materials used in the construction of Green building:

1. Green Concrete

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Green Concrete
  • 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 materials 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 along-lasting life.
  • The current market rate of green concrete is at Rs.6500/cubic meter.

2. Plastic Bricks

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
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.

3. Bamboo

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Bamboo as Steel Replacement
  • 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 the 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 materials 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).

Read More: Construction and Building Material Market Price

4. Rice Husk Ash Concrete

  • Rice husk ash is a product of burning rice husk. The burned remains are then mixed with concrete to increase the workability of the concrete.
  • Rice husk ash concrete shows better bond strength when compared to Portland cement. The compressive strength, split strength, and flexural strength of the material are greater than ordinary concrete.
  • It is resistant to corrosion and chemicals. Rice husk ash concrete is one of its kind Eco-Friendly building materials.
  • 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

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
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).

6. Timbercrete

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Timbercrete Brick Made House
  • 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.

Read More: Fire Resistant Materials Used in Construction

7. Straw Bales

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
Straw Bales used to Construction A House
  • 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 bales are used to create a home’s wall inside of a frame, replacing other building materials such as concrete, wood, gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, or stone.
  • 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 at Rs.4500/ton in India.

 8. Cork

  • Cork is a fast-growing resource. It is harvested from a living tree that will continue to grow and reproduced 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 of size 12x12x0.5 inch. The tensile strength of the cork sheet is 15-20 kg/cm2.

9. Sheep’s Wool Insulation

Eco-Friendly Building Materials
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 high energy consumed materials due to the energy required to produce them in mining, heating, shaping products, and transporting relatively heavy material.
  • 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 Cost:

  • 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 an 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 by using eco-friendly building materials. Also, the impact on climate can be minimized by reducing the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Why Use Eco-Friendly Building Materials?

The followings are criteria of 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
  • Durable

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.

4) Affordability:

  • 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.

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