1. Recycled Steel When it comes to building an average house, the material calculation is 40 trees or steel from half a dozen scrap cars. The use of recycled steel has much lesser impact on the environment. Steel beams can be used to replace wooden beams and they can also be designed to specifications.
Besides, steel is much more durable and requires lesser maintenance. It is also a better choice in areas with high winds and risks of earthquakes. Steel is the most recycled material. It also requires lesser energy and has lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to other types of building materials.
2. Concrete as Insulating Layer Insulating concrete forms are making a comeback after several decades due to their energy saving benefits. In this case, concrete is poured into the gap between two insulating layers. It not only provides better insulation, but also strength to the structure. You can use this method for both building blocks and free-standing walls.
They provide high level of energy efficiency that also meet the current code requirements. This type of insulation is also resistant to rot, mold and mildew.
3. Bamboo-based Plywood Bamboo plywood is being increasingly used for interior design structures. It has zero VOC and is easily renewable. The material is ideal for the following structures:
- Wall coverings
4. Polyurethane Foam Plant-based polyurethane is considered even better than fiberglass. It is made of natural substances and is safe to use. The commonly used natural materials include:
5. Straw Bale Insulation Straw bales have been used traditionally in roofing and beds. It is now also being used as part of insulation layers. When their moisture content is controlled, straw bale insulation can last for more than a century. Another advantage of using this material is that it bonds effectively with plaster. This material is inexpensive and can also help you significantly reduce the cost of insulation materials.
If your goal is to build a more energy efficient home that leaves lesser impact on the environment, it is recommended to use environment friendly building materials. Today, a wide range of materials are available that can be used in different parts of your building to reduce the impact. Besides the above mentioned options, you can also consider the use of recycled glass and plastic, reclaimed lumber, linoleum and cork.