green building materials for the sustainable houses of the future
Guest article by Bob Gorman
Image source: Jeremy Levine via Flickr
With green building materials, you have many distinct advantages outside the obvious benefit that green materials have a better impact on the environment. Eco-friendly products have become a crux for sustainable building practices, and they are more energy efficient than regular homes. The way that they make it more energy efficient is by installing solar panels, skylights and photovoltaic energy systems. In addition, a builder will also look at the place on the land to consider shape and maximize the natural lighting usage.
Other Advantages of Green Building Materials
The effective use of water has remained a solid reason to consider these materials. Most of these building use grey water systems, and they have low flow shower heads along with low flush toilets. The building materials involve the use of more sustainable wood. For example, reclaimed wood will sometimes be used, and other recycled construction materials will be used. Another popular sustainable material for the flooring in homes is bamboo. Considering some bamboo species can grow up to 91 centimetres in a single day, you have a highly sustainable building material.
THE VARIOUS TYPES OF GREEN BUILDING MATERIALS
More often than not, eco-friendly building materials will cost more than traditional types. Nevertheless, this often occurs because you have a more energy efficient product that makes up for that higher upfront cost through better energy savings. Not only that, you have a solution that is better for the environment. What are some examples of green wood building materials?
- Cork Flooring
- Reclaimed Wood
- Forest Stewardship Council Wood
Cork flooring gets harvested from the bark of trees, which means that you don’t have to cut down the tree. It takes around three years to regrow, but it definitely is better than having to plant new trees. Cork is also anti-microbial and hypoallergenic.
On average, bamboo flooring takes around three years before it matures, but maple and oak take around 50 to 100 years.
Reclaimed wood is essentially wood that has been salvaged from demolished buildings and reused.
Linoleum, on the other hand, is made from linseed oil, flax and jute. The benefit is that it does not release Volatile Organic Compounds into the air like vinyl tiles.
Forest Stewardship Council wood
Forest Stewardship Council wood means that the companies who abide by this must follow FSC or sustainable forestry practices. In addition, they cannot use hazardous pesticides, and they have to preserve natural habitats.
Along with eco-friendly wood practices, you also need energy efficient insulation. Without the right insulation, heating costs will skyrocket. What are the more energy efficient choices? First, you have Homeostat fibreboard, which is made from recycled newsprint. You also have cotton insulation, which is mater from recycled cotton materials that do not have formaldehyde. In addition, a hemp-based insulation product will be more resistant to moths, betters and other pests. That means that you do not have to add deadly chemicals from pesticides into your insulation panels. Blown insulation means that the product has been professionally blown, and it involves recycled newsprint. Whenever looking at insulation, always consider insulating the roof. This will protect you from inclement weather. If you need roofing tiles, consider tiles that have been EcoStar approved because they are made from 80 percent recycled plastic and rubber.
WATER HARVESTING AND SAVING WATER
Building your green dream house involves saving water wherever possible. As a result, your water bill will be much lower. Tankless hot water heaters are a greener choice because they do not waste anything. The water gets heated on an as-needed basis, and instead of keeping hot water around the clock, it only occurs when a tap gets turned on. As a result, you have a lower energy consumption. You can also harvest rainwater, which is some of the cleanest water, and you’re making use of water that could otherwise become a drain-off problem.
When looking to make your home more environmentally friendly, it is important to remember that even small efforts like planting trees or creating a compost pile can have a huge impact over a period of time. Never underestimate the small changes.