The choices for environmentally-friendly construction materials when building a new home are greater than ever before. Custom home builders in NJ and beyond are able to offer their customers a wide range of construction materials that are both attractive and eco-friendly.
These green building materials are popular right now, giving homeowners plenty to choose from.
Straw Bale Construction Materials are Biodegradable Insulation
Straw Bale has been used in home construction for hundreds of years, but more recently, builders have figured out how to use this natural building material made from the waste product even more efficiently and effectively as insulation.
Walls that contain straw bales as insulation are at least 18 inches thick, creating a thick layer between the inside of a home and the outside of a home keeping warmth or cold in the home. And because the walls are so thick, builders are able to add aesthetically pleasing window seats and shelves into walls.
The life of a straw bale insulation is at least 100 years, and when it’s time for a wall to come down that contains this eco-friendly insulation, the biodegradable material is simply plowed into the ground.
Fast-Growing Bamboo is an Environmentally-Friendly Building Material
Bamboo grows very quickly with little water. It’s an eco-friendly crop that can be used for many things including building materials. Once cut down it can be made into sheets and planks and used in durable, sustainable construction.
Bamboo can be as strong as wood, concrete, and steel, yet it weighs much less than those other materials making even the transportation of bamboo more environmentally friendly. It’s naturally water-resistant so it doesn’t warp like wood. It does, however, need to be treated to make it fire retardant as well as free from fungus and insects.
Hempcrete is a Lightweight Alternative to Concrete in Building Construction
Now that the United States has allowed hemp to be a legal crop, hempcrete is one of the products being made from this wonder crop. Hempcrete is made from the inner woody core of the hemp plant that’s mixed with a lime-based binder. When molded into blocks, it creates a lightweight material used for insulating.
Hempcrete is considered a “carbon-negative” building material. Hemp absorbs more carbon when it’s growing than is emitted by the production of hempcrete blocks. Also, the woody core that’s used from the hemp plant used to be a waste by-product from hemp used to create oil, seeds and cloth fiber. Since the creation of hempcrete, now more of the hemp plant is used, adding to the building material’s eco-friendliness.
Timbercrete Combines Timber and Concrete for an Eco-Friendly Building Product
Timbercrete is made from combining sawdust – a waste product – together with concrete. The result is material that is about two and a half times lighter than pure concrete with emissions that are less than that of concrete. The production of timbercrete also ensures that sawdust from the production of timber does not go to waste, making the production of timber for construction even more environmentally-friendly.
Timbercrete can be molded into any of the traditional shapes that regular concrete can be made into including blocks, bricks, and pavers and is an eco-friendly residential home building product. It can also be used in the production of landscaping materials, adding a green element to the curb appeal of a new home.
Ferrock is an Emerging Building Material Made from Steel and Glass Waste
Created from steel dust that’s waste from the production of steel and silica from ground-up glass, ferrock is a newer building material that’s made from about 95 percent recycled material. It can be used as cement and is considered both stronger and more flexible than other types of cement.
It’s also considered a carbon-neutral material because it absorbs more carbon dioxide when it’s hardening that it emits during its creation. Because ferrock is such a new material, it’s used in eco-friendly home building are still being discovered, but it’s an eco-friendly construction material to be aware of when planning a new home.
For Environmentally-Friendly Flooring in a New Home, Consider Cork
Cork can be used for much more than a wine bottle closure. Cork is a renewable source of building material since cork trees are not cut down in the production of anything made with cork. Only the park of the cork tree is used, and that bark regrows so one cork tree can produce cork for its entire life.
Cork makes for a beautiful, sustainable flooring option in new homes, but it also has other uses in eco-friendly home building. Cork can be used on exterior finishes, the underlayment of floors, insulation, countertops, and even acoustic wall coverings.
When choosing the materials for eco-friendly new home construction, it’s good to know all of the eco-friendly construction materials available. These are just a few of the smart, creative, sustainable choices that are trending in 2020 – choices that make use of quick growing crops, come from waste products from other building materials and contribute fewer carbon emissions, making them important considerations.
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey
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