How to Use Sustainable Building Materials

using sustainable building materials

Use sustainable building materials to lower energy costs and save raw materials.

Using sustainable building materials is an important step in creating an energy-efficient, eco-friendly building. It will lower your energy costs and save raw materials. Sustainable building materials are renewable, used, refurbished, recycled, or recyclable.

Some sustainable building materials incorporate energy efficiency into their structure and design. Here are some of the types of sustainable building materials you can use, and how you can make use of these materials on your next building project.

Where to Find Sustainable Building Materials?

Here are some ideas for where to find sustainable building materials for your next home remodel.

  1. Recycled Building Materials: Look for building materials with more than half of their content recycled.
  2. Materials That Are Reusable: Building materials that can be reused or recycled after they have served their purpose are more sustainable.
  3. Materials that Are Made to Last: Products and materials that last a long time are more sustainable, since they do not have to be replaced as often.
  4. Antique, Second-Hand, or Refurbished: Used materials are a great way to enhance the sustainability of your building project. It reduces waste, and finds a home – sometimes quite literally – for building materials that would otherwise be thrown away.
  5. Raw Materials That are Locally-Sourced: Buying materials from local manufacturers saves fuel and supports your community.

What Kinds of Building Materials Are Sustainable?

  1. Lumber: Used lumber is much less wasteful than the raw version. If you do go for raw lumber, look for sustainable woods like mango or bamboo.
  2. Insulation: Insulation is important if you want to save energy. Sustainable options are available. Materials like denim, wool, cellulose, and even straw make energy-efficient choices.
  3. Roofing: For sustainable roofing materials, look for something that will last a long time, such as metal roofing. Even better, use metal roofing made from recycled metal. Other options are recycled rubber (which can be molded into various shapes, including traditional shingles), cedar shingles, or lightweight concrete.
  4. Windows and Doors: These can often be found used. Just make sure they are energy-efficient and properly sealed with weather stripping. If you are using new windows, double or triple-pane glass is a more eco-friendly option than single-pane.
  5. Poured or Rammed Earth: This ancient building material – soil – is very sustainable. So are pressed earth blocks made from soil. These are building material options that take the place of the traditional lumber frame, drywall and siding.


  1. I would really like to look into sustainable building materials for my home that I am hoping to have built. I think that it would be a great way to help with the environment, because then it would be saving the raw materials. It would be especially good to find those products that are not only recycled, but are also long lasting. That way, I won’t have to continually get them replaced, but can instead keep them for a long time. Thanks for the great post!

  2. David Collins says:

    This is wonderful.. If only sustainability can be incorporated in Nigeria, it would do a lot more of saving cost

  3. It was nice to learn that, “Sustainable building materials are renewable, used, refurbished, recycled, or recyclable.” Is it pretty easy to make sure that these kind of materials fit building certifications? I’ve been really interested lately in learning about how homes and buildings are built. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Using sustainable building materials sounds like a great idea. I had no idea that insulation, roofing, and windows and doors counted as sustainable materials, that is great. I think it’s important for anyone in construction to be conscious of this.

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