The levels of pollution reached in recent decades may affect the quality of life of future generations, and have led to measures to reduce environmental impact in all areas. In the case of buildings, it is estimated that between 40 and 50% of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere come from the construction and use of buildings. This is perhaps the reason why awareness of sustainability and environmental friendliness has increased in recent years.
There are many measures that can be implemented to construct an environmentally friendly building, and one of them is the use of sustainable building materials. These elements are those that, both in their manufacture and in their placement and maintenance, have been made with a low impact on the environment. But what are those sustainable building materials you might ask. In this article, we are going to introduce you some of them for your own general knowledge or help you make a positive impact when building a property. Keep reading!
Sounds simple? Yes maybe! But while wood is no new material, this does not make it less sustainable. Wood has been used throughout history, but its properties are sometimes misunderstood. It is considered the material with the lowest environmental impact in its production, since during its life cycle it is able to eliminate a large amount of CO2.
It is necessary to highlight its insulating capacity, which is estimated to save between 50 and 60% in heating and cooling. In addition, wooden constructions tend to be built more quickly and can be up to 30% cheaper than brick or concrete options.
There are wood-based products used for insulation, such as fiberboard, made from waste generated by sawmills, or Oriented Strand Board (OSB) formed by layers of chips or wafers oriented in the same direction. In all cases, it will be necessary to certify that the wood used comes from a responsible forestry operation, which implies that the responsible company plants new trees for each tree felled.
2. Cellulose Fibers from Recycled Paper
Another material that can be used as insulation is cellulose fiber from recycled paper. It is made from reused newspaper sheets that have been treated with borax salts to give them fire retardant, insecticidal and antifungal properties.
Its properties are very similar to that of wood, which allows it to balance temperatures in winter and summer. It also has a low thermal conductivity coefficient and the energy required for its manufacture is very low, not exceeding 5 Kwh/m3.
3. Agglomerated Cork
Agglomerated cork is a natural product with very good thermal and acoustic insulation properties. It is a material with very low conductivity, fireproof, does not accumulate static electricity and does not absorb moisture. For this reason, it is mainly used for thermal insulation of homes.
In addition, cork comes from the bark of cork oaks and can be extracted without cutting down the tree, recreating itself over time, making it a highly durable material.
4. Fired Clay
This is a clay that has been heated to a temperature below 950ºC and to which certain natural treatments have been applied. These actions allow to preserve the low radioactivity and the good thermal inertia.
Another of the properties that make terracotta sustainable is its recyclability, as it is an inert and very stable material. Thus, the waste generated by its production can be reincorporated into the manufacturing circuit. It has a wide variety of uses in the construction sector, but it is mainly used for walls, facades and tiles.
You now know more about sustainable materials that can be used for construction and have a better idea of how they can help in making a positive impact on our planet. Have you ever used any of those materials, apart from wood which is very common? If yes how? Let us know more in the comment section below.