Sustainable construction and building materials

What does sustainable mean?

There is no universally accepted definition of sustainability. In fact, there are many different views on this concept and how it can be achieved.

Etymologically, the word sustainability comes from durable + ity. And durable is, for example, a composition of durable + capable. So if we start at the beginning, means “to give support to”, “to support”, “to bear” or “to maintain”.

What is sustainability then? Sustainable is an adjective for something that can be sustained, meaning something that is “endurable” and “capable of continuing at some level”. Ultimately, sustainability can perhaps be viewed as the process or processes by which something is maintained at a certain level.

Nevertheless, nowadays, due to the environmental and social issues facing society, sustainability is commonly used in a specific way.

Therefore, sustainability can be defined as the processes and actions by which humanity avoids the depletion of natural resources (which is influenced by the way societies are organized) to maintain an ecological balance so that the quality of life of society does not decrease.

In this way, we can say that the exploitation of resources, manufacturing operations, direction of investments, technological developments, distribution of wealth, institutional changes, among others, are sustainable if they do not harm services. ecosystems and if they allow society’s quality of life not to decline.

What does this have to do with building materials?

In construction, environmentally friendly materials (also called green building materials) are those in which, for their production, installation and maintenance, actions with low environmental impact have been carried out. … These materials must also be natural (earth, adobe, wood, cork, bamboo, straw, sawdust, etc.)

Nine sustainable building materials:

1. Green heat insulation

2. Structural insulated panels

3. Recycled metal

4. Reclaimed Wood

5. Engineered wood for cross-laminated timber buildings

6. Precast concrete slabs

7. Bamboo

8. Cork

9. Cement made from recycled plastic

Current trends

Modular construction techniques to eliminate waste
Modular construction is a sustainable technique that builders use to design structures faster, more cost competitively and with maximum resource efficiency. Modular structures can be built in a controlled environment where wastage of resources is minimized and pollution is controlled.

Flexible space design to improve functionality
Flexible and dynamic construction is another sustainable design technique, which involves making a space functional for multiple purposes.
This dynamic design trend first started with reception areas that were designed to double as guest and employee lounges. The technique also extends to hallways, classrooms, stairways and dining rooms. Builders tend to design offices to also become livable apartments, hotels to become condos, and commercial spaces to become community centers.

Hidden and smart technology
As smart homes get even smarter and our lives become more tech-driven, the seamless integration of durable and technological aids will become more prevalent.
Home automation continues to grow rapidly in popularity, with smart home technology expected to reach nearly 42% household penetration by 2023. Not only does home automation make our lives easier, it makes it easier to improve energy efficiency .
Roofing materials that act like solar panels, countertops that charge your devices, new battery storage technology that reduces your need for permanent electricity will all help reduce your home’s energy consumption. Coupled with advances in automated systems that synchronize your environment to its optimal levels and maintain a balance, these additions will become mainstream in 2020 and beyond.

Any definition of sustainability must necessarily consider economics. Not just broader economic issues of productivity and economic growth, but the true cost of making and building things, and the cost of maintaining them over their useful life. Consideration should also be given to the length of this lifespan. A wooden house can be relatively cheap to build, but ongoing costs such as painting must be taken into account, and the total lifespan of wooden buildings is considerably less than that of brick or concrete construction, even though of course the material itself is renewable within the life of the building. The question of what a more functional building is is another consideration, which relates to the last factor to consider.

A key factor in designing sustainable spaces is specifying materials that last, add to the durability of the structure, and minimize the energy requirements of the project. To that end, weather barriers and a range of other protectors are an essential part of any sustainable building.

Top 3 sustainable building materials

1. straw bales

Cost: The cost of materials, including bales – these vary depending on where you are, but usually between $5 and $7 per bale (delivered)

Straw bale construction is a nod to the days when we built our homes from natural, local materials. Instead of relying on technology and manufactured materials, we use what the earth gives us. Straw bales are used to replace concrete, plaster, gypsum and other building materials in walls. When properly sealed, they have a high insulating capacity. As a renewable resource, straw is both sustainable and affordable.

2. Bamboo

Cost: Container-grown bamboo sells for an average of $30 each, but can go up to $90 depending on the type.

The recent popularity of bamboo equipment such as furniture and utensils may make it look trendy, but it has been used in construction for millennia. Its combination of light weight, tensile strength and renewability makes it an ideal replacement for expensive imported materials and an alternative to rebar and concrete construction, especially in areas with easy access to the locally sourced bamboo.

3. recycled plastic

Cost: $0.50-1.50 per kg for virgin PET, $0.20-0.30 per kg for recycled PET, 0.06-0.08 per kg for mixed plastics.

Plastic is becoming one of the most sustainable building materials. Instead of finding, extracting and grinding new compounds, researchers are producing concrete from shredded waste and recycled plastics. This practice reduces greenhouse gas emissions and offers a positive new use for plastic waste that would otherwise clog landfills.

Where to buy sustainable building materials?

green building supply

1. ArchiBlox designs the world’s first carbon positive prefab house

Australian company ArchiBlox has released its design for the world’s first carbon-positive prefab home. Representing a new movement in ArchiBlox houses, the carbon footprint house offers the possibility of more environmentally friendly design, both by reducing the embodied energy that accompanies the construction of new houses and by maintaining energy production. positive energy. The groundbreaking product line began its first installation on February 8 in Melbourne’s City Square.

2. House of colors

3. House S

Vietnamese architects Vo Trong Nghia have taken on the issue of providing homes that are practical, durable and, above all, inexpensive. The result is the S House, a US$4,000 dwelling partially constructed using readily available local materials, including palm fronds and bamboo.

The interior of House S is very basic and is only 30 m² (322 sq ft), with ample interior space. The building is prefabricated and can be disassembled into several small pieces for easy transport by local builders. Vo Trong Nghia Architects is still working on the design of the S house, but the final plan is to mass market it.