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.
- Recycled Building Materials: Look for building materials with more than half of their content recycled.
- Materials That Are Reusable: Building materials that can be reused or recycled after they have served their purpose are more sustainable.
- 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.
- 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.
- Raw Materials That are Locally-Sourced: Buying materials from local manufacturers saves fuel and supports your community.
What Kinds of Building Materials Are Sustainable?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.