Sustainable construction is also known as green building or sustainable design. Its fundamental goal is to discover sustainable solutions at every stage of a building’s life cycle, from design to construction, operation, maintenance, and renovation, and eventually demolition. Using green building techniques allow you to save energy and so lower your energy bill while also becoming more eco-friendly by lowering CO2 emissions.
As a result, the primary goals of green buildings are to save energy, ensure that the structure is safe for occupants, and decrease waste and pollution throughout the construction process as well as over time. Natural construction, which focuses on locally available natural materials, is a more specialised type of green building.
Here are our top 7 sustainable materials for the UK.
Steel that is already in use for structural purposes in a residence is used. Six garbage vehicles’ worth of recovered steel is enough to construct a 2000 square foot home. Recycling can save up to 75% on energy expenditures. Steel is the most recycled substance on the planet, and every new steel is made from recycled steel.
Sheep’s wool, on the other hand, can be easily regrown. Sheep naturally produce a new crop after shearing. Wool’s insulating characteristics have long been known by clothing designers, and it makes for incredibly warm sweaters and socks. Sheep’s wool can be used as an energy-efficient insulator in walls, ceilings, and attics because of the same insulating properties.
Bamboo is becoming more prominent as a construction material. Bamboo is extremely sustainable due to its abundance. While pine and cedar trees can be replanted, the process can take years. Bamboo can be reforested considerably faster and is found all over the planet. Bamboo, like real wood, is a natural composite material with a high strength-to-weight ratio that can be used in construction. Bamboo has a compressive strength greater than wood, brick, or concrete, as well as a tensile strength comparable to steel.
Straw bales also provide excellent insulation. Straw bales are used in walls, attics, and ceilings to help maintain cooler summer temperatures and warmer winter temperatures. Straw may be simply gathered and replanted with little influence on the environment. The process of turning straw into bales has a negligible impact. According to research, straw-bale construction is a sustainable building option in terms of both resources and energy required for heating and cooling.
Concrete is a natural material that can be recycled, making it an excellent alternative for environmentally conscious homes. Pre-cast concrete is more environmentally friendly than concrete that is poured on site. It’s put into pre-made molds and cured over rebar or wire. The concrete can be shipped and installed in a variety of constructions once it has set. As a result, precast concrete is able to attain economies of scale that on-site concrete cannot.
Reclaimed brick, perhaps the most widely available, long-lasting, and simple-to-use building material, adds character to your home’s façade or interior finish.
It is critical to use recycled bricks rather than new bricks because reclamation eliminates the processing emissions that come with new bricks. Bricks last hundreds of years, and there is little need to make more in a country with thousands of old unused brick buildings built to quality and strength criteria that today’s market does not reach.
Hempcrete is a lightweight insulating material made from hemp shiv fibers and lime. Hempcrete, as a plant-based material, can remove 110-160kg of CO2 from the atmosphere per cubic metre during its growth, making it a carbon positive building material. Hempcrete is produced in the UK with a major area of production in rural East Yorkshire.
Hempcrete is a fully breathable material, allowing water vapour to pass through its molecular structure, preventing moisture and condensation in the home. The material is also hygroscopic, allowing it to control the home’s internal humidity and maintain a comfortable indoor environment throughout the year.
Constructing with sustainable materials cannot only help save the client money, it is good for the planet, preserve our heritage, respond to planning policies and help get credits in BREEAM, LEED and other environmental assessment tools.
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