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Top 10 Sustainable Construction Materials You Can Use In 2022

Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Franck Boston
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Sustainability is the keyword of modern life. We are all trying to shift towards living and working more sustainably and the construction industry is up there with us.

While there is still a long way to go for everyone, there are sustainable materials you can use in construction. Investing in eco-friendly materials is arguably as important as using solar energy in construction. Once thought to be an incredibly wasteful industry, construction has made great strides in becoming greener.

There may still be a way to go, but progress is definitely being made! The demand for sustainable construction is surging and the green construction market will be worth over $770 billion by 2030.

Choose the Right Materials for Eco-Friendly Construction Projects

If you’re planning to build your own house, commissioning a commercial or industrial building and want to make less of an impact, you could try any of these 10 sustainable construction materials.

Reclaimed wood

Reclaimed wood is a very sustainable material. It can be kept in its original form, like furniture, worktops, kitchen cupboards, floorboards or roof beams, or turned into something else completely.

Reclaimed wood can be anything from recycling furniture all the way to reclaiming doors or using old wood in new homes. As it’s natural and replaceable, it’s a very sustainable material.

Wood has a unique character that’s too good to turn into firewood so reclaiming it adds character as well as sustainability.

Recycled steel

Recycled steel is another excellent sustainable construction material. It can also gain character as it ages and can be reused in its original form or turned into something new.

What’s more, steel can be infinitely recycled. Even galvanised steel and other types of steel can be reused or recycled as many times as we need.

It’s one of the few materials we know of that can be recycled without losing its efficiency. While energy-intensive to produce, once created, it can be used anywhere, for almost anything.

Reclaimed brick

Not all types of brick can be reclaimed, but some can. You’ll often see this in refurbishment, where a wall is taken down brick by brick rather than with a sledgehammer.

The brick can be tidied up and reused within feature walls or other areas. Unusable bricks can be broken down and used as filler or hardcore, so aren’t wasted either.

There are companies that specialise in nothing more than recycling bricks and can provide them in sufficient volumes for most projects.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a sustainable construction material because it’s natural and grows quickly. It’s also completely biodegradable and looks amazing, so is an excellent choice in many applications.

Bamboo is a niche construction material for sure, but it’s a very sustainable one.

It is used across Asia in everything from roofs, walls, scaffold, mats, carpet, doors and many other things. As it grows so fast, you could replace an entire bamboo forest in 3-5 years, which is why it’s so sustainable.

Recycled plastic

Recycled plastic can be used in wall and floor insulation, garden products and some more innovative new building materials. There are a range of kitchen and bathroom products around, as well as more innovative products on the way.

Anything we can use to reduce the amount of plastic out there is a good thing. While plastic itself isn’t evil, single use plastic is. Many new materials recycle single use plastics.

Given that it can take thousands of years for plastic to naturally biodegrade, anything we do to recycle plastic is a good thing!

Hay or straw

Hay and straw have been used as construction materials since time immemorial. It’s natural, fast growing and has decent insulation qualities, which is why it’s still used today.

The material can be used as insulation, thatched roof material, mixed with plaster, compressed into ceiling and wall panels, turned into garden mulch and a whole lot more.

Then you have cob, which is an ancient building material made of mud and straw. It’s experiencing something of a resurgence right now too!

Wool insulation

Wool is another natural material that grows quickly, can be infinitely harvested and has excellent insulation qualities. That makes it the perfect sustainable construction material.

It is used across construction, from wall and roof insulation to creating carpets, mats, curtains, soft furnishings and other materials.

At a time when insulation is more important than ever, demand is strong for wool and wool insulation.

Hempcrete

Hempcrete is made from lime and the hemp plant. Like bamboo, hemp is natural, fast growing and sustainable. We have used it in rope for hundreds of years, as well as many other applications.

Hempcrete can be used in place of concrete in many areas of construction. Mainly building walls in new homes or within refurbishments.

We aren’t seeing hempcrete so much in commercial projects yet, except in gardens or outside, but it is becoming steadily more popular.

Recycled rubber

Recycled rubber can be reused in a number of applications, primarily in surfaces. Both natural and synthetic rubber can be recycled, but natural rubber is more sustainable.

You’ll see recycled rubber used in playground surfaces, those soft touch surfaces in sports grounds and some floor tiles.

Recycled rubber, like plastic, is an area that’s seeing a lot of development. Hopefully soon, we’ll have many more sustainable construction materials made of recycled rubber.

Timbercrete

Timbercrete is a relatively new sustainable construction material composed of sawdust and concrete. The sawdust replaces some of the less sustainable elements of concrete, lowering the environmental impact.

The end result can be used as bricks, blocks and paving slabs that offer very similar properties to standard blocks.

Like hempcrete, you’ll see timbercrete mainly in small construction projects right now. But with increasing popularity and production, it could soon be used in commercial projects.

Green Building Materials Can Be Very Beneficial in Construction

So, there you go, 10 sustainable construction materials you can use for almost any building project.

It’s good to see so many sustainable building materials being made available with similar or better qualities than what we’re used to. We can’t wait to see what’s in store over the coming years!

Have some inspiration about going green in all aspect of life. Views are my own.

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