5 materials to consider for your eco build
When trying to create an environmentally conscious home, there is so much information out there that it can be difficult to know where to start. While one building material might be sustainable, will it be durable within your particular climate? Another material might be affordable and aesthetic, but is it sustainable? Here, I'll guide you through five of the most exciting sustainable materials that are currently on the market.
1. Recycled composite
Recycled composite, a sustainable material often used for decking, is renowned for its durability and for being low-maintenance. Similar to hardwood, recycled composite is simple to install but retains a natural appearance. It's a wood-alternative that is created using recycled materials such as HDPE plastic, rice husks or, sometimes, waste timber fibres.
Bamboo has been labelled the world's number 1 renewable resource due to its fast growth and its ability to be used on an ongoing basis without any damage to the environment. Particularly in the Philippines, bamboo has been recognised as an award-winning house building material - due to its cost-efficiency, sustainability and the speed in which houses can be built from it (4 hours, according to The Guardian).
3. Shipping containers
Shipping containers are trending in the world of sustainable architecture - and here's why. Many people see converting repurposed shipping containers into homes as a sustainable way to reuse materials which would otherwise go to waste - which is great! However, many people who opt to create homes out of shipping container homes end up using new ones - as repurposed shipping containers generally require a significant amount of detoxification and panel beating. It's a lot of work, but it can be done and, when done right, results in an extremely durable home.
4. Rammed earth
The classic sustainable building material - rammed earth. Because it is made of natural materials, waste is not an issue. These types of homes are also considered extremely breathable and fire-resistant.
5. Recycled wood
Recycled/re-purposed wood can be used throughout a new home build, whether this be as stunning a feature (e.g. a natural kitchen island centrepiece) or as beams, built-in shelving or within the basic architecture of the home. By re-purposing wood, there is less need for existing trees to be cut down - particularly those which are harvested in an unsustainable manner.
Mina Phillips is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about ethical consumerism and social change. Her services include:
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