With the rise of sustainable architecture, human lives have come to a point where responsible and eco-friendly construction is not just a want but a need for the society. The world we live in is already being faced by a number of environmental and climate crises.
These problems need immediate attention and a change in lifestyle and choices. It has been made evident that a change today shal take a long time to reflect positively on the environment , making the matter all the more urgent. A leader in the revolutionary call for a sustainable lifestyle has been the AEC industry.
From techniques to materials, innovations have been pouring in the industry to keep up with the need for responsible construction overall. Be it the advent of technology or the remaining of the simplest materials around, the industry has made significant progress.
One of the most sought after initiatives has been the work to develop alternate building materials, precisely ones that work just the same yet leave little to no negative impact on the environment as opposed to conventional construction materials.
There have been, thus, a lot of new additions to the category of eco-friendly materials. Each of these materials has a quality to them making them a better and sustainable pick.
Here’s a look at some amazing eco-friendly materials set to revolutionize architecture.
Rammed earth is an eco-friendly building material that has been around for quite some time. It is believed that Rammed earth has been in use since the neolithic age. However, its venture into modern architecture is more recent with the need for eco-friendly alternatives increasing.
Rammed earth is basically made by combining sand, clay, some gravel and a binding agent, which is then set into frames or molds as needed to dry and be ready to use. It is regarded as an eco-friendly material due to its composition which uses natural local materials.
Further, the entire production process has very low greenhouse gas emissions and produces very little waste making it a valid option. Just as sustainable as it is, the material is also rather versatile and used to build anything from walls to bricks.
Rammed earth works especially well in moderate climates but can be made suitable to even colder climates with a bit of insulation making it a good pick for modern construction.
Timbercrete is a masonry building material that is a modern innovation for the industry and a well regarded product. Timbercrete essentially follows the best out of waste policy. It is made using sawdust and shavings that would otherwise go to waste when timber is used or modified.
It puts the sawdust to use by combining it into a formula with cement and sand to create a material that is rather strong. The biggest plus point of timbercrete is its sustainability factor. Apart from being less of a strain on the environment, timbercrete is a material that actually helps in betterment of the environment.
It is often referred to as a “carbon sink” since the material traps the carbon that would otherwise go into the atmosphere, worsening the greenhouse gas issues. Utilizing timbercrete, thus not only ensures a strong and durable structure, but also a rather impactful one. The material also has great insulative properties saving cost and energy needed to maintain a building’s internal climate. A
ll the above qualities combined with its aesthetic appeal makes timbercrete a star material.
Newspaper wood is a material that can truly be seen as a symbol of the circle of life. A newspaper, that begins as a tree which is then cut and processed to form the paper which is distributed, has been reverse engineered to form newspaper wood.
Globally, over 1.85 million tons of paper waste is generated each year, which also includes newspapers. The newspapers that are read and discarded the very next day are thus being put to effective use to reduce waste generated while forming a construction material that is better for the environment.
Newspaper wood is essentially formed by layering sheets of newspaper with glue which are then processed into logs and boards. These can then be used in construction. Newspaperwood is essentially lighter than traditional wood while having the similar textural appeal.
The lighter weight reduces travel energy and cost, while the material leaves a positive effect on the environment through upcycling.
FLY ASH BRICKS
Bricks are one of the most used materials in the construction industry. Despite their very toxic production process which emits a lot of toxic smoke into the air, they have continued to be of widespread use.
Fly ash bricks have thus been invented to be swapped with regular furnace fired bricks. Fly ash, the basic ingredient of the brick comes from coal combustion residue. It is then processed with the help of ingredients such as lime sludge, gypsum, cement and aluminum powder to form a sturdy product.
The finished bricks are then left to naturally cure for a while before they are ready to be used in construction. Fly ash bricks have a much more eco friendly production process as compared to conventional bricks while also being much more affordable.
Further, since these bricks have a self cementing attribute, they help significantly bring down energy usage and mercury pollution in the environment making them the ideal pick.
Tire veneer is one of the more recent additions to the eco friendly materials list. True to it’s name, tire veneers are basically made from discarded tires. It has been found that over a million tires are discarded each year globally, dominating the landfills as they do not decompose rather release toxic fumes due to being exposed to the sun.
A creative solution to putting these discarded tires to use has been the creation of tire veneers. It is essentially formed using buffings, which is a byproduct of tire recycling. Buffings combined with polyurethane form the veneer which are rolled out into sheets or molded into tiles. Tile veneers are mostly used as a flooring material. Its merit lies in its durability.
The veneers are very easy to maintain and largely resistant to stains, weather impacts, corrosion and scratching/scuffing damage. Aesthetically too, the material has merit with a very modern and attractive look which makes it a good pick for just about any space.
Enviroboards are yet another eco friendly material option for the construction industry. Envi Boards are a versatile product made from agricultural fibers. Agricultural waste fibers such as rice straw, wheat straw, grass, sugar cane and elephant grass are put through a milling process to form panels that can then be used in construction.
Since they are made from agricultural waste fibers which would otherwise be burnt and toxicate the air, enviroboards are a sustainable solution to the problem while providing a good alternative for the construction sector.
Further, the production process also is very environmentally sound with very little energy consumption. These boards can be used for multiple purposes from creating walls to lining the roofs making them suitable for use in any and every kind of structure.
Envi Boards are also very cost effective raking up at half of the cost of conventional construction which makes them an accessible product and a resourceful alternative.
The eco-friendly materials category is set to grow in the near future. As sustainable architecture turns from a movement to a way of life, more such innovations and alternatives are bound to enter and revolutionize the industry. The growth of these materials and the segment is one to watch out for!