Eco-friendly construction is the process of building a structure or designing something to be built using materials that are not harmful to the environment while making sure that you’re being resource-efficient with your supplies, not only when building it but throughout the structures life-cycle. This type of construction is efficient in its use of local and renewable materials, in the energy required to build it, and the energy generated while being within it.
Goals that are set to be achieved with eco-friendly construction:
People prefer environmentally friendly construction methods for a whole lot of reasons. Firstly, they allow home and business owners to save money, own an overall healthier space, and make their own contribution to helping our planet grow and stay healthy. This is why many contractors have started using green building materials and eco-friendly construction.
Sure, if it’s good for your customers, it’s good for you. But using eco-friendly building materials helps you directly as well. Construction workers and contractors spend all day working closely with these materials. Natural products are better for any worker’s health in the long run and will help attract and retain talented young employees who care both about their health and their environmental impact. Sometimes, these health benefits can even lower the cost of your construction insurance and workers comp. In some cases, eco-friendly methods and materials can even be cheaper to work with than their traditional counterparts.
Here are a few ideas:
surprisingly- steel is the world’s most recycled material. With 42% of crude steel made from recycled material, chances are recycled steel was in the plan anyways but you can source steel that is 100% recycled to maximize your eco-friendliness.
We’ve been using it since the beginning of recorded history. There isn’t too much work to be done in terms of processing to become a building material and it is a readily renewable resource. There’s even an option to use reclaimed lumber which comes from demolished buildings.
Bamboo is lightweight and strong enough to build an entire house. While that probably isn’t the right choice for most people, it is becoming more and more popular to use bamboo in small parts of construction projects. Bamboo grows fast, so it’s easy to reforest, and it’s available in a variety of climates so you may not have to ship it far.
Now let’s look at the bigger picture– simple things like maximizing natural light, and investing in good insulation all help lower energy usage, which in the long-term, reduces your client’s footprint, and their bills.
An example of an interesting project is BedZED, in Sutton, which is the UK’s first large scale, sustainable eco-village that uses solar heating and human thermal energy, combined with a small power plant using wood, to heat and power each house, and it achieves zero carbon emissions. The village was even built with materials sourced from within 35 miles!
In addition to BedZed, there are now many examples of sustainable and environmentally friendly structures and designs. They can be a challenge to actually conceive and execute, but by doing so, we benefit from being in them, and mother earth appreciates it too!