There is every reason for a homeowner to use environmentally conscious materials. It is so important to take care of the environment, and there are so many different options for environmentally friendly materials. Some options are even cheaper than conventional options. Whatever your reason, here are a few materials to consider!
Steel is a strong material which means that it will last a long time. This is important in being environmentally conscious because it means this material won’t need replacing like other materials. Steel is a material that is non-toxic, both to humans and the environment. It doesn’t require a lot of energy to make steel and the waste from production is reusable. Steel can be recycled endless times, which means it needs to be recycled to be fully environmentally friendly. There are two sources: pre-consumer scrap, and post-consumer scrap. Pre-consumer scrap is the excess from producing steel, while the post-consumer scrap is at the end of a product’s life and needs to be collected and prepared.
Bamboo is a hollow grass native to Asia, Australia, North and South America and Africa. This plant thrives in a tropical environment and can grow in places that would otherwise be difficult for other plant life such as ravines and mountainsides. To be used in a home, bamboo needs to be harvested, dried, and treated against pests. Bamboo is a lightweight, strong material, sometimes even having the same strength ratio as steel. Bamboo grows very quickly and can regenerate quickly once harvested. It is fully grown by three years and can grow many inches per day. Bamboo plants produce oxygen, help control soil erosion and produce nitrogen. This material is fully recyclable as well which makes it a great material for the environment.
Sheep wool is an environmentally friendly option for insulation. It’s a great insulator from cold weather and makes a great option for a home. Wool insulation can also help keep waste out of landfills and decrease energy used to create other insulation like fiberglass. The processing of wool takes less energy than fiberglass and it is safer to install. Plus, wool has many amazing properties. It is breathable and is not damaged by moisture, but releases it. Wool will not burn if it catches fire. It is a non-toxic material and can even help improve air quality in your home. As with many materials that are environmentally friendly, wool is recyclable and biodegradable.
Asphalt does not degrade, which makes it the perfect material to recycle and reuse. Throwing asphalt in a landfill would be a poor option because it does not decay, instead asphalt dug up from many projects is taken to a recycle plant to repurpose for a new use. Asphalt, especially recycled asphalt, is great to use because it spares the use of non-renewable resources. Recycled asphalt is affordable because it takes less processing than virgin asphalt and it has good bonding properties. It is a great material to use in places where there is a lot of rain or snow because it holds up well. Still, asphalt paving should be sealcoated or it will sustain damage from temperature changes.
Reclaimed wood is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t require new wood to be harvested. This wood is of very high quality and from different sources. It can come from factories, barns, and warehouses among many other places. When old structures are demolished, there is wood left behind which becomes air dried. This is recycled to be used in many ways. Reclaimed wood is unique and beautiful because of its aged look. This can give your home a very original look and can give wood a new life. You can also have more exotic woods to incorporate into your home. Reclaimed wood is useful for a variety of projects, such as hardwood flooring, furniture, walls, and beams.
Plant-Based Polyurethane Rigid Foam
Rigid foam is a typical material used in homes, usually for insulation, but plant-based polyurethane rigid foam is a great alternative. The typical rigid foam has a compound called chlorofluorocarbons, which is linked to ozone depletion. Plant-based polyurethane rigid foam is made from bamboo, hemp, and kelp, however, to make an environmentally friendly material. This material is a great insulator, which means that people will save energy on heating and cooling. Plus, it has a long lifespan because it protects against mold and pests.
Straw was used for building homes in the 19th century and can be just as useful today. Utilizing straw in a home is done by compressed cube bales and it is put between the studs in the home as the insulator. Clay plaster is applied to these bales, which helps it to be more flame resistant. Straw is very environmentally friendly because the plants grow quickly, don’t produce pollutants, and can be easily disposed of. Using straw in a home insulates it well and ensures uniform humidity and good air quality. Straw is very affordable and can be locally sourced at lower prices than other materials.
Rammed earth is a durable technique that has been used for a long time in history. This technique uses soil and a binder which is layered and compressed. This technique creates a hard surface that is very durable. Rammed earth can be used to make walls and floors and creates a thermal effect that will allow rooms to be warmed in the sun and slowly cool off in the evenings. This is an environmentally friendly option because it utilizes local materials and doesn’t produce much waste. You need to consider the climate you live in, however, as this can make a difference in using rammed earth. In colder climates you may need to use additional insulation and in rainy environments it may need extra protection from moisture.
Every homeowner can make a difference by being environmentally friendly with and in their home. And there are so many environmentally friendly materials that homeowners can use! These will not only be kind on the environment but can even be kind on your wallet.
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