If there’s anything climate change has taught us, it’s that it’s high time for us to start paying closer attention to the way we treat our planet. Any foray into a shopping centre reveals hundreds of eco friendly products designed to help us make the important changes that could save the environment. It seems like every industry is getting on board, and the construction industry is no exception.
Environmentally friendly building materials are all the rage for new homes and commercial buildings, representing an important shift in the mindsets of many Canadians. Though eco building materials tend to be more expensive up front, the savings they can spur in future energy costs are more than worth the higher payment. Here, we’ll look at five innovative building materials that are leading the charge in the green home building products movement.
Five Environmentally Friendly Building Materials That Make a Difference
- Recycled steel is replacing wood for the construction of support beams. The Steel Recycling Institute estimates that a 186-square-meter house requires 40 or 50 trees to build, while a frame from recycled steel would require no more than the material that comes from six scrapped cars.
- Insulating concrete forms are cast-in-place concrete walls sandwiched between two layers of insulation. Reports have indicated that buildings made from insulated concrete forms resulted in energy savings 20% higher than the energy consumed by wood-frame buildings in cold climates.
- Plant-based polyurethane rigid foam can be made from bamboo, hemp, and kelp, and is already being used for insulation, wind turbine blades, furniture, and surfboards. When used as insulation, it offers high resistance to moisture and heat, protection against mold and pests, and excellent acoustics, as well as a higher R-value than fiberglass or polystyrene.
- Straw bales may not sound very sturdy, but they’ve actually proven themselves as excellent building materials. These byproducts of the grain industry are often burnt otherwise, but they can last for thousands of years if they are kept dry. A 186-square-meter house can be built with 300 of them.
- Cool roofing is designed to reflect heat from the sun, keeping homes cooler. Though they cost about $80 per square foot more than standard roofs, they can help families save on cooling costs in the warmer months.
The products on this green building materials list might not be mainstream yet, but they do mark an important step toward greener building practices both in Canada and throughout the world. Read this website for more information.