The future of the construction industry can look quite bleak if you think about how much damage the procurement of material causes to the environment. Sustainability has become a frequent topic during discussions regarding the possible direction of construction.
The construction industry is one of the largest contributors to the carbon footprint that destroys the balance of the Earth. On top of that, sourcing and manufacturing materials also significantly contribute to climate change.
Fortunately, industry experts are taking small but significant steps towards eco-friendly construction methods. One of these notable steps is exploring sustainable construction materials to replace ones that are considered a major source of harmful emissions.
Top Sustainable Materials for Construction
Here are some of the most notable sustainable materials that construction companies can invest in to transition into environmental-friendliness:
Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC)
ECC may sound fancy, but it is more commonly known as bendable concrete. As the name suggests, this type of concrete can withstand bending. Unlike its traditional counterpart, bendable concrete is not brittle and it does not easily crack. It is also known to be more effective at absorbing shock.
Bendable concrete contains small, polymer-derived fibers that increase its ductility.
What makes bendable concrete sustainable? ECC can be infused with carbon dioxide, which helps strengthen the concrete while using less cement and lowering carbon emissions.
Due to its ductility, bendable concrete can help decrease the financial and environmental costs of buildings. It is also cost-effective in the sense that it requires less repair and maintenance since it can withstand higher amounts of pressure.
Construction can save time and resources while reducing carbon output when using bendable concrete.
Aside from bendable concrete or ECC, precast concrete is another variation of the traditional construction material.
As the name suggests, this type of concrete is “precast” or prepared before being transported to the construction site. Since everything is planned and prepared beforehand, it requires less energy and material to create.
Since precast concrete is prepared in a controlled or factory setting, leftover materials from previous projects can be used to create new batches.
Timber is a common construction material. Obtaining this material involves cutting down trees which obviously affects the environment in a big way.
Mass timber and its products are mechanically created by bonding different types of softwood to form large prefabricated wood components.
Mass timber can come in many forms including the following:
- cross-laminated timber (CLT)
- laminated strand lumber (LSL)
- laminated veneer lumber (LVL)
- nail-laminated timber (NLT)
- glue-laminated timber (GLT).
This sustainable material has a lower carbon footprint compared to conventional construction materials and it is great for roofs, floors, beams, columns, etc.
Mass timber does not only serve as a substitute for traditional timber, but it also serves as a substitute for steel and concrete.
Recycling is not a new concept at all, you probably have been taught how to do it at a young age. However, recycling and reusing materials no longer just apply to everyday items. This concept has made its way to the construction industry.
Construction projects inevitably end up with scraps and unused materials. However, instead of letting them go to waste– some construction firms opt to collect these things and find a new purpose for them in future projects.
Bamboo is a highly flexible material that the construction industry can use for both structural and decorative purposes. It is easy to find, source, and grow which makes it a sustainable material for construction.
On top of that, every piece of bamboo can be used for something which means it produces little to no waste. The whole stem can be used for building projects while any leftover parts can be used for compost.
3D Printed Material
Thanks to technology, it is now possible to print construction materials. This brand-new concept creates a major impact on construction productivity and sustainability.
3D printing materials allow construction experts to digitally design any shape to help bring a project to completion.
Traditional construction requires a lot of energy and materials from sourcing to transporting the resources. 3D printing is much faster which helps save time, money, and energy.
The Earth has been a generous host to each and every one of its inhabitants. A lot of effort has been made in the past to help create sustainable resources and eco-friendly options.
Now, the construction industry is also making its way to environmental-friendly choices when it comes to materials. There are several ways to support sustainability in the industry. Exploring some of the sustainable materials on this list and supporting eco-friendly construction equipment companies, and builders are also great steps to take.