October 11, 2010

How to Use Sustainable Building Materials

Using sustainable building materials is an important step in creating an energy-efficient, eco-friendly building. It will lower your energy costs and save raw materials.

Sustainable building materials are renewable, used, refurbished, recycled, or recyclable. Some sustainable building materials incorporate energy efficiency into their structure and design.

Here are some of the types of sustainable building materials you can use, and how you can make use of these materials on your next building project.

What To Look For in Sustainable Building Materials

1. Recycled Materials

Look for materials with more than half of their content recycled.

2. Reusable

These are materials that can be reused or recycled after they have served their purpose.

3. Durable

Products and materials that last a long time are more sustainable, since they do not have to be replaced as often.

4. Second-Hand or Refurbished

Used materials are a great way to enhance the sustainability of your building project. It reduces waste, and finds a home – sometimes quite literally – for building materials that would otherwise be thrown away.

5. Locally Manufactured

Buying materials from local manufacturers saves fuel and supports your community.

Kinds of Sustainable Building Materials

1. Lumber

Used lumber is much less wasteful than the raw version. If you do go for raw lumber, look for sustainable woods like mango or bamboo.

2. Insulation

Insulation is important if you want to save energy. Sustainable options are available. Materials like denim, wool, cellulose, and even straw make energy-efficient choices.

3. Roofing

For sustainable roofing materials, look for something that will last a long time, such as metal roofing. Even better, use metal roofing made from recycled metal. Other options are recycled rubber (which can be molded into various shapes, including traditional shingles), cedar shingles, or lightweight concrete.

4. Windows and Doors

These can often be found used. Just make sure they are energy-efficient and properly sealed with weather stripping. If you are using new windows, double or triple-pane glass is a more eco-friendly option than single-pane.

5. Poured or Rammed Earth

This ancient building material – soil – is very sustainable. So are pressed earth blocks made from soil. These are building material options that take the place of the traditional lumber frame, drywall and siding.

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Disclosure: When I mention products, you must assume I will receive compensation for doing so. However, I only recommend products and services I myself use or believe in and would recommend to my own sisters and mother. Nevertheless, you should perform your own due diligence before purchasing a product or service mentioned in this website.
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Alexis Rodrigo