Top 5 Sustainable Building Materials for Construction

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As the world’s population continues to surge daily, the demand for shelter or accommodation to guarantee human survival has equally been on the increase.

Therefore, the need to build or construct a shelter for commercial activities and other purposes cannot be overemphasized in today’s world.

In the same vein, there is the need to construct buildings or shelters with quality building materials that are eco-friendly. This is coupled with having an adequate balance of aesthetics, accessibility, safety, and proper security.

These building materials must have all the necessary qualities needed to sustain a building and make it last for a long time.

Whether they’re used for traditional house plans or other plans, they must pass the universal standard and testing techniques that govern the use of building materials in terms of durability, strength, weight, fire resistance, density index, porosity, and frost resistance among other factors.

Best Sustainable Building Materials for Construction

Various eco-friendly building materials are often used by construction industries to have a standard and quality construction.

In this article, we have made a compilation of the top materials to opt for.

Whether you are a construction engineer who owns a construction company, real estate agent, architect, or homeowner, using any of these materials will enable you to have the best and sustainable construction result for your building projects.

1. Precast Concrete Slabs

Concrete has been a very popular, handy, and versatile building material for many years. It is one of the best sustainable and eco-friendly building materials ideal for any type of construction.

Unlike the conventional concrete poured on-site, a precast concrete slab is often ready-made from where it is manufactured and has been made to cure or harden in a very conducive environment. All that is required is for it to be transported to where it will be used for construction.

Precast concrete slabs come in different types and can be used for walls, roof decks, floors, and other forms of construction.

Pros

  • They are very easy to produce and assemble
  • They are the most durable building materials that are capable of withstanding any weather condition
  • By using precast concrete slabs, you’re sure of using one of the most affordable sustainable building materials out there

Cons

  • If they are not well cured, they will develop cracks. And this might eventually damage them and give room for a fresh production process
  • Transporting them to the construction site might be quite arduous as a result of their heavyweight

2. Bamboo

When it comes to the most sustainable and universally accepted materials for building construction, bamboo reigns supreme. It has become one of the most preferred and a cheaper alternative to wood due to some of its distinct features.

The features include higher compressive strength, very strong fiber, tensile strength, and light weightiness.

Bamboo is used to construct bridges, houses, flooring, scaffolding, cabinetry, and other building projects.

It is an olden self-generating perennial grass that has been used for construction works since antiquity. It has a rapid growth rate, and it grows in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. However, it is most prevalent in Africa, South Asia, Central America, and South America.

Pros

  • It has higher tensile strength when compared to wood, steel, and some other building materials due to the position of its fiber that runs axially
  • Unlike traditional wood that has a harvest cycle of 25 years, bamboo has a harvest cycle of just 3 years. This makes it a very economical material
  • It is toxic-free. That is, it is neither poisonous nor poses danger to human health
  • It is inexpensive and can easily be accessed in any part of the world, except in Antarctica and Europe
  • Bamboo is a renewable building material

Cons

  • Bamboo has a high tendency to shrink when compared to wood
  • When it absorbs excess water, it tends to swell and crack
  • It is prone to rot and attack by insects like termites and fungus. This can cause it to decay when it is not adequately treated with chemicals before use

3. Metal

This has been used for construction since the late 1800s. It, however, became a very popular sustainable building material in the early 20th century when it was used in the oil industries for oil storage and the construction of shelters.

Metal can be in the form of steel or aluminum. It has so many unique properties that make its usage more consistent to date. It is used to construct roofs, frames, roads, structural supports, bridges, and so on.

Metal is highly sustainable and has recyclable properties where it can be reused endlessly without depreciating.

Pros

  • It’s durable, water-resistant, and can’t be attacked by insects
  • It has strong properties like light weightiness, ductility, flexibility, and fire resistance

Cons

  • Metal is quite expensive compared with some of its counterparts

4. Sheep’s Wool

There is no natural insulating property that can be compared to that of a sheep’s wool. Wool insulation helps to make your indoor temperature and air quality better and more sustainable. It is sound and flame-resistant, non-toxic, and highly durable.

Pros

  • It is energy-efficient and can be used as insulators in attics, walls, and ceilings
  • Unlike other natural insulators like cotton, the sheep’s wool can be harvested rapidly

Cons

  • It is relatively expensive

5. Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)

Another eco-friendly building material that is ideal for your walls, ceilings, and floors is the structural insulated panels. This material is airtight and enables your home to consume minimal energy during the heating and cooling process. This saves you tons of cash in electricity bills.

SIP is made by using a piece of foam, which is covered with layers of strand board, plywood, and cement.

Pros

  • It is very easy to install and provides a good insulation system for your building
  • It conserves more energy than any other insulator
  • SIP is safe to use and doesn’t contain any toxic material
  • It is not labor-intensive
  • The installation doesn’t take up much time

Cons

  • It requires heavy equipment during installation due to its large size
  • It is quite expensive to install

Take-Home

The advent of global warming and other environmental factors has led to the quest for a more eco-friendly, sustainable, and affordable way to build a house.

Whether you are a homeowner or construction engineer, choosing the right sustainable building material for your building can go a long way in adding value, safety, and longevity to your construction.