Sustainable Building Materials: A Top 5
While we’re busy building even better structures, we might as well occupy ourselves with building a better world, too, right? And for many of us in the design, building, and construction industries, that means turning to ec0-friendly, sustainable materials to complete the projects we’re charged with. Often, a client will come to us having already made the use of such items a priority. All of us are concerned with reducing the environmental impact of our builds, striving to utilize local resources or to source in a way that doesn’t require a lot of energy to harvest and transport. It turns out there are some exceptional materials out there that are uniquely suited to the role. Here are our Top 5 performers.
ONE: Precast Concrete
Especially the way we make it here at Permacast. Unlike traditional poured concrete, our process, which involves molds, is a cleaner, more efficient system. We’re able to avoid many of the missteps regular concrete production makes, and we’re always able to re-use any extra concrete that doesn’t get used in a given product. Our molds too can be re-used again and again. Finally, concrete is durable and weather-resistant; you’re not likely to replace it anytime soon once it’s in place.
The world has embraced bamboo, and we can see why. It’s light, durable, and strong, and most importantly, it’s incredibly sustainable. It regenerates quickly and grows all over the world, making it easier to source (and reducing the carbon footprint it might take to bring it to a site otherwise).
THREE: Reclaimed & Recycled Wood
Wood in general is a great material, sustainability-wise (because trees absorb CO2, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make them ready for construction), but using old wood for a new project is of course even better. Doing so helps us mitigate waste and maintain our forests, all while re-purposing a material that gives us the design character we would otherwise use more energy to create.
FOUR: Recycled Plastic
Plastic is used in a few ways in construction. It has been added to concrete to strengthen structures and used as insulation. It has popped up in the form of PVC windows and cast as a fence. The possibilities are nearly endless with this strong-yet-forgiving material, and all of them help keep that plastic out of the landfill.
Cork is cool, not only to look at and touch (that distinctive texture!) but to use in home builds and other constructions products. It’s excellent for flooring because it absorbs sound and shocks. For the same reason, it’s excellent as insulation (it’s also fire resistant and non toxic). And the best part is, cork is harvested from tree bark that will, of course, regenerate quickly.