Use Sustainable Building Materials in Your Next Home Remodel! January 31 2014, 0 Comments

As we all know, as the world's population continues to develop and expand, our energy consumption will continue to rapidly increase. Due to this fact, there has been increasing awareness (especially here in the Bay Area!) about managing the use of our energy resources, especially the limited ones.

The good news is that in an effort to help manage our energy use, sustainable, energy efficient methods of getting things done are being developed every day. If you're starting a home re-design project, and want to make sure that you're building in an energy-efficient manner, it's important to know which building materials are sustainable and the most cost-effective over the long haul.  

Below are four sustainable building materials or renewable building materials that should be used prominently in energy efficient building projects, including yours. These materials will have the strongest positive impact on your bottom line and are definitely sustainable and eco-friendly. 

The Materials

Sustainable building material bamboo

Bamboo(-ya)! 

Wood, as we know, is a critical resource that is included in just about every construction endeavor. Although trees do grow back eventually, they do so at a pace too slow to keep up with our use.  

Luckily, this won't prevent you from accessing wood for your future building construction endeavors. Bamboo--which is actually a type of grass, not a tree--grows faster than any tree. A typical bamboo shoot will regrow in 5 years, as opposed to 20 to 100 years for trees. What's more, bamboo wood is stronger than that of trees, so you get added durability as a bonus. Who knew that grass could be stronger than trees?

Recycled steel - It's a steal!

Buildings are torn down every day; the production of new steel results in scrap metal; and scrap steel is sold to metal recyclers daily. All of this means that we could still continue constructing buildings using structural steel without producing anymore. This is great, because structural steel is one of the lightest, strongest and most fire resistant building materials currently in existence.

Also, because it is produced without having to process freshly mined iron at energy depleting foundries, investing in recycled steel is good for our environment and less expensive when compared its freshly smelted counterpart. 

Wool bricks - Huh?

This might be the strangest of the current generation of sustainable building materials, but they are still one of the best. As their name suggests, wool bricks are made of a composite material that includes wool. Bahhh!!! Also including seaweed and standard clay, these bricks are actually about one third stronger and more resistant to extreme climates than standard bricks. 

During the production process of standard bricks, the highest levels of energy consumption occur during the heating process. Wool bricks cut that part out, because they dry hard, meaning they do not need to be heated in ovens to add strength, which makes them...well...cool. 

Raise the roof (output)...with solar shingles!

Standard roof shingles are produced using costly (energy inefficient) production methods and cause the building owner to waste energy as their HVAC system combats the heat created by solar radiation the shingles absorb. Reflective roof shingles mitigate this problem somewhat, but they are not a true solution to this problem. The recent advent of solar roof shingles, however, is.

Unlike traditional shingles, solar roof shingles absorb solar energy to the benefit of the building owner by converting it into usable energy. This sustainable building material will contribute to the energy efficiency of the building that they cover for their entire lifetime. Also, they look amazing, unlike traditional solar panels.

These materials are key for energy efficient construction.

These four sustainable building materials will it much easier and more cost-effective for making your older home energy efficient. They should be an integral part of your efforts to construct buildings in a more energy efficient and sustainable way.